Once! Only one time have I posted in this blog this year. Shame on me. Something I set out to be diligent about and here we are concluding 2016 and I have simply 1 post. I am looking back and this year and am truly confused on how it went so fast!
The end of any year is always a great time to take stock of things and begin to plan out the path for the upcoming year; and for me, this year is no different. It is hard for me to sum up 2016 in a word much less a sentence. Heck, I don’t think I could write a book explaining this year. From difficult closures of one season to the new beginnings of another 2016 has been scattered with so many different experiences. When you sum them all up together, this has been one crazy year.
One thing that has become more and more obvious to me, even as I logged on to my blog to post and noticed I have only 1 entire post this year, is how easily distracted we can become.
My life sometimes looks just like the silly dog in the movie “Up”. I can be so easily distracted by a squirrel. Ok, for all of you who have no idea what I am talking about:
But in all seriousness, there is a great quote from C.S. Lewis that really brings it home:
“We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”
If you were to be completely honest with yourself, I am certain you can think of a time or two in your life when you have used those infamous words “the time is just not right yet for me to do _________ (fill in the blank)”
Yet, just as the wise Mr. Lewis points out, favorable conditions never come. You simply have to decide and execute.
Take going to the gym for example. I don’t care who you are, there is never a “favorable time” to go there. If I have an open hour to spare in my day, I would much rather do something I would enjoy, like drink a nice cup of coffee and perhaps eat a donut – but that will never achieve the same results. In fact that would achieve the complete opposite result.
It has become an almost cliché saying but you have to be intentional in all areas of your life.
It starts with your focus. Be intentional about where you focus. Jesus sums it up pretty simply in Matthew 6:31-34
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles.”
That set of verses is probably one of the most encouraging and also the most discouraging verses in all of the Bible. In one sentence, Jesus is saying “hey guys, I got this covered – just focus on me” and then he ends it up with “today is going to have enough troubles of its own…”
Another way of saying it might be something like this: Today will have troubles. Tomorrow will have troubles. In fact, next week is filled with various troubles. BUT don’t focus on those, in fact don’t even focus on trying to solve them, just focus on God and He will take care of it all for you.
That to me is the hard part. Honestly, I feel like I am trying to not “bug” God with the little stuff. I know He is busy, so I figure I will take care of the little things and maybe He will appreciate that I freed up some time for Him.
Ridiculous, right? But so many of us our guilty of that. And the problem amplifies as we continue to focus on all the little things that turn into one big distraction which takes our eyes off of Him.
This world is full of distractions. Add on my 3-year-old and 1-year-old and the idea of quiet time seems about as likely as winning the lottery while never buying a ticket.
Yet, I strive to be intentional. Do I win that battle daily…no way! But, I wake up and try again.
It is easy to focus on Him at Christmas. It is easy to pause and realize that He is the reason for the season but in a matter of days, life picks right back up to its normal pace and it is in that moment that you need to stop and decide to be intentional about your focus, keeping it all on Him.
Here is my prayer for 2017: Lord, may I never cease to be intentional about priority number one – you. May my focus be first on the Kingdom of God and Your Righteousness. Lord, help me to discern quickly what a distraction is and know when to push it aside and recalibrate my focus.
That is my prayer for you as well; for anyone reading this, that God will be your center, your guiding light and your focus.
Together, let us make 2017 the year of Intentional Focus!
Question: What is your secret to being intentional with your time?