Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Life of Focus?

I struggle to live a life of focus. I allow anxiety and worry to penetrate my life and distract me from living a life of purpose. I become distracted and consumed with every day worries that I allow the little things of this world to distract me from walking the path the Lord has prepared for me. 

If you can relate to these then I pray this blog finds you and encourages you. It is my prayer that through my struggles I can encourage you to press on toward the goal and a life of freedom and focus. 

The picture above was taken by me in Italy. I thought it captured perfectly what it means to have a long term vision for your life. Notice that the focus of the picture is on a far away house. For me, it captures living life with an eternal perspective. Keeping my mind focused on eternal things. Things that will make an eternal difference.  

In Michael Youssef’s book, Discover the Power of One, He states that Worry comes from a German word that means to strangle. He goes on to say that worry is a form of fear. It is a fear that things are not going to turn out as you expect. It is a fear that you are going to be hurt or rejected in the future or that something shameful from your past is going to come to light. It is a fear that God is not going to come through for you to protect you, provide for you or nurture you as you desperately long for him to do. Discover the Power of One.

Dr. Youssef goes on to give us these statistics. 40% of what we worry about never happens, 30% is in the past and we can’t change it. 12% worry needlessly about their health, 10% petty anxieties and 8% light worries. Discover the Power of One

Simply put, Worry strangles our faith and yields us powerless to make any real eternal difference. We miss out on so many amazing blessings and opportunities when we spend all our energy worrying about the future.
Therefore, I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 7:25-27

Now let’s jump down to verse 32-34; For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We see Jesus telling us not to worry about what we will eat or the clothes we will wear. Not to worry about the simple provisions of life and yet in our western material culture that is not our worry is it? And yet we are stilled worried. We aren’t worried about getting our basic survival needs met. We are worried about other things. Things like, will my child make the traveling team? Will I get invited to that party or why didn’t I get invited to that party? Or what should I wear to that party? If I could only lose 10 pounds I would look amazing in that dress? What if my kids don’t get into that school? My head has hurt for a couple of days, do I have a brain tumor? These are the things that infiltrate our mind and distract us. Now let me say here that I am stating the worries that can enter into my mind. I know all too way what it means to be distracted. So I'm speaking for myself in this matter but if these thoughts penetrate my mind I think it is safe to assume that I'm not the only one who struggles with distraction.

What would our lives look like if we lived a life of focus? 

Jesus, tells us to live one day at a time. Focus on today! Do not worry about tomorrow. Do not worry about the things you have no control over. I believe when we live a focused life we will be able to live our life with an eternal perspective. We will not be bogged down with the worries of the world and distracted by earthly things. I believe he is challenging us to live life with an eternal perspective; our minds focused entirely on eternal things. 

You know what my greatest fear is? It is that I will miss out on what God has created me to do because I am so focus and distracted on temporal things, things that in light of eternity are insignificant. 

When I focus on heavenly things and live my life with an eternal perspective my life takes on a whole new level of excitement and adventure. The worries of the day no longer matter. A life of focus.

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