by Anita Miles
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
2 Peter 3:17
Over the past several years, I’ve taken the beginnings of each new year to establish a word that I would dwell and think on throughout the next 365 days. That was some attempt on my part to stay focused and disciplined in that particular area of my life. I have chosen my own word for this year that I will journal about, but I do not desire to write about it yet for a variety of reasons. However, over the past couple of years, in the conversations I’ve had, there has been a general theme that I’ve picked up on. People in many different phases of life are frustrated at how they feel like their lives aren’t very effective. We feel like we’re spinning our wheels - creating ruts that we survive in. If every thought like that were broken down and analyzed, I believe that we would conclude that it’s a lack of focus in every area of our lives that brings us to these feelings. It seems that it’s becoming easier than ever for our goals and thoughts to just spiral out of bounds just because of a lack of focus. I feel that choosing a theme for the year has helped me stay focused in previous years and so for that reason alone, I will choose yet another.
But back to the topic of focus…it is a component that is missing in many of our lives. Whether it be in our personal lives, spiritual lives, or professional lives. If we could figure out how to lasso our concentration in these given areas, our success would be unstoppable. I recently had a conversation with a coworker who was feeling overwhelmed with work and life in general. While we were talking, I recalled a conference I had attended several years ago where a high ranking founder of a Hospice company was speaking. Her speech was primarily an overview of her recently released book on having good life balance. She gave the audience the opportunity to filter all of the things they deemed important in their lives that they were attempting to balance. After that mental exercise was done, she told us to imagine that all of those “things” were little balls that we were attempting to juggle all at once. It became a little humorous as she began to go through her imaginary juggling act - all while naming the different things we were all probably attempting to juggle:
being a wife,
being a mother
being a caregiver,
worrying over sick family members,
never ending laundry piles,
toxic relationships that cause stress,
conflict with coworkers, etc…
If you want, you could make the list customizable to all the things that you have going on in your world.
While juggling all of those things, she began to explain that some of these juggling acts are made of rubber and some are made of glass. We had to decide which one could be dropped if necessary. Should the ones that are made of glass be dropped, they are irreparable. They should require our undivided focus.
As a Christian woman, I can’t allow the things that are of eternal value to be the things that get dropped - for my sake or for my children’s sake!
Timothy had something to say about focus… “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful me, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a good soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:1-4
Over the past couple years, it’s been easy to lose focus on just about everything. There’s so much noise and chaos in our lives - globally, nationally, and personally. It’s easy to get distracted and get our focus sidetracked in every direction except where it should be. Satan is working overtime to get us nervous about what’s next. We’re worried about our health, our economy, our livelihoods, and all for very valid reasons! But the minute we get sideways in our anxieties, we easily lose our focus and begin to drift in the river of least resistance. And only God knows where that will take us! This is the very reason that God called us as believers to have faith that is unmovable. Simply because we have willingly placed our hopes and our strength in the hands of an unchanging God!
So in the upcoming year, even if you don’t choose a word to enhance the discipline in an area of your life, I challenge us all to work on maintaining our focus on the things that really matter.
Let’s focus on pouring our hearts and souls out to God - repenting for the sins of our nation and for God to heal us! We’re more broken as a nation than we’ve ever been.
Let’s focus on being the best Christians we can possibly be - to become an asset - instead of a constant strain to the relationships we find ourselves in. Humanity in general needs just good, kind people.
Let’s take time to focus on training our children in the things of God - not relying on the world to be their strongest influence. Be the one that affirms them so that they don’t look for that in places and relationships that they have no business searching for it in. If there is any hope for our future - it will come through our children! We have to get this right!
Let’s focus on eternal values. We can’t take our stuff with us when our lives are over, so let’s stop killing ourselves trying to achieve the success of obtaining material things.
Let’s work a little harder to focus on getting our lives in order for the coming of the Lord. If things continue as they are, it’s just around the bend.
So what things are we juggling? Are they made of rubber? Will they just bounce away if they are dropped? Or are they made of glass - only to create more brokenness and damage if they are not juggled correctly. We have to focus well on the juggling act we’re doing!