Many times we can control our attitudes by what we focus on. Where has your focus been?
From The Loft
Do you give more thought and attention to the things that you can’t change than you do with the things you can change?
The Newest and Greatest Thing
Have you noticed how, especially at the beginning of a year, we get inundated with the newest strategy for organizing ourselves, our prayer life, our study, how to live our best lives, the newest gadget to help with all of the above? Today, it hit me how all this gets pushed in front of our eyes and we can get so distracted with the newest thing, that we lose sight of what needs to be done first, as well as, WHO we should come to first.
If I am not willing to develop the habit of writing things down in an organized way or a list, what good is the newest and coolest datebook or calendar book for me? Oh sure, I could spend money on it, but if I’m not in the habit of writing things down in that way, I will probably not do it with the greatest organizer book either. I might look good and even a bit perfessional, but it will also probably be more empty than full because of lack of use.
If I’m not a reader of many books, or of the Bible, what good will buying another book or study book do me? My intentions are great. I’m going to study more or read more. But if I haven’t developed the habit of doing either of those things, buying the next thing isn’t such a wise choice. I just add another thing to my shelf. But then, I also add some guilt to the mix because I don’t read it anyway and feel guilty for spending the money.
Oh! I know! If I have that new iPhone or Tablet, then I will for sure be more organized and I can have it with me all the time to keep me organized. THAT will make me more “put together” this year!
We get inundated with what to buy and we are convinced that next great thing will do it. We want to be like that person we see advertising the journal that writes in it everyday and boy what an artist she is! We get the journal and we can’t even draw a good circle, let alone make beautiful lettering in it.
I know many who have gotten an iWatch to be on top of their exercise and movement. But you know what? They don’t get out and walk or move that much to utilize the iWatch to the full potential. The breathing icon pops up and you look at it, but say, “not now, I have to do such and so”. Or reminds you that you should get out and walk, but you don’t feel like it.
Even in the Christian community, we are inundated with the newest study that will change your life, or the newest Bible that is going to help you understand everything you read. Or how a journal Bible will write your thoughts down as you read. That may be true if you are doing it already as you study. If you aren’t, it may not do what you are expecting and you have another book that is sitting on your shelf. Now don’t get me wrong, I DO study with several Bibles because I like to read the translations to help clarify verses. But I have a habit of using them daily. So for me, the investment is qualified. Then, I am moved toward knowledge and my study is enhanced as well.
Are you getting the idea? We are pretty A.D.D. when it comes to being distracted by the glitter and glitz of the newest and greatest. However, we do very little about the habits we need to cultivate if we are to effectively use the tools available to us. Want a good example? Just look at your social media feeds at all the things that people want to sell you. What if we went back to the very beginning with ourselves and ask, “What do I really need to do more of in order to help me become a person of good habits, better organzied, or more skilled in my area of expertise?” This goes whether you are a stay at home parent, a professional out in the work place, or retired. We often let the glitz and glitter pull us into spending more than necessary before we have established habits that will be enhanced by some of those tools. It can distract us from doing what we should be doing at that moment, when what we need to do, is scroll on by.
For me, I want to ask God to help me establish good habits first, habits that I can say I have accomplished consistently for a long period of time, so that, I can benefit from choosing whether this newest and greatest thing will enhance my endeavors, or whether I am just spending money to “appear” a certain way, or maybe that I’m buying on impulse. I also know for me, I have always asked myself if I am willing to take on the learning curve of that new “thing”. I didn’t before and sometimes I find I spent the money and it hasn’t worked out as well for me in terms of money well spent. I love technology so it is hard for me not to want the newest and greatest. But I’m learning to be content with what I have.
So in these times where we can get distracted by the newest and greatest, when economically, we have to be wise, let the message of this post challenge you where you are. The next time you are tempted, ask yourself some of the questions here and see if it lines up with where you are. Do you need to establish some foundational habits in order to gain from that newest gadget or book or whatever it is? Will you use it consistently? Or will you start out with a bang and then it sits? Be honest with yourself, otherwise you will get hooked by pictures and words.
Does this challenge you? I was challenged by writing this post. I hope you take a few moments to consider the implications for distraction and good choices in your daily life. This very moment I am asking God to further help me make the very choices I need, just as I am challenging you to do today.
For the love of the moment…
Conversations With Myself
What inspires you each morning? When you wake up and you aren’t at your best even AFTER your first cup of coffee, what tickles your senses and inspires you to get a different attitude or a new way to go forward in your day? Or, do you find that if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, that it tends to be your feeling all day long?
This morning as I drove to my Bible Study, I was thinking over my last several weeks and I discovered how much better I feel today then say a month ago. Humm…interesting, self. I feel better able to cope with most things, and I find joy in the simplest of things. I have energy. Usually in my life, that is most of my days because I try to live that way, and if I wake up different I can usually pull myself around anyway. But of late, I have found that I tend to wake up and feel better from the beginning of my day. My outlook is better. Clearer and more directed. So, what has changed? Here’s my thought: As I get older, I am more in touch with myself and I have become more aware of what I am feeling. In becoming more aware, I realize that life throws us a curve ball sometimes and our mitt covered hand just isn’t up for it. There are times when our body and energy level just isn’t there. For women, it may be that our hormones are out of sync or something along those lines. In men, it make relate to their jobs. It DOES affect us. So I have learned that when I find out about something that helps me with those areas, there is wisdom in making the purchase! Now I could talk to myself and say something like, “Wow! That is $20 a month and then means $240 a year!” But what I have learned is, it is important to take care of our bodies, minds, emotions, hormones, and our brain fog. You can not put a price on good health and having the “want to” for life. So…will I complain about the things that bother me, or will I do something about it when I KNOW what I need to do? I have decided that there is no excuse if I know what will help me.
My car conversation with myself this morning was just that. I realized that I had started back on my TriVita Sublingual 12 after running out and not ordering it for about 5-6 weeks. Now after deciding THAT didn’t work very well for me, and saving the money wasn’t worth the fall out, I ordered it again and have been faithfully taking it now for about 3 weeks. ALL the difference in the world! Now I’m not here to sell you a product, but I am here to share an idea with you! Is there something you should do or take to help you in your daily thought life or in your physical life that will make a difference for YOU? Then by all means do it. It is called preventative care. When you are feeling at your best, you will also fight off other cold and flu symptoms because your body is operating more at optimum. You will handle your daily life differently too. So what about YOU? Do you need to take Vitamin C? Vitamin D? What about using essential oils like Lavender at night to help you sleep better? I know that I am at that age where sleep can happen for me or not… and then there are other factors that make sleeping more difficult too! Snore…snore…from the other side of the bed.
I hope you will let my revelation be a wake up call for you. What “something” do you need to consider that will help you get back your feeling of well-being? I followed that whisper I got to do what I needed to do and boy what a difference it made in all the areas of me! Ask yourself how you are once in a while. It’s scriptural; “Why are you downcast oh my soul?” Then, take care of what you need to do to make that happen in your life. Be aware. Be proactive. Take care of the temple God gave you. There ARE benefits to talking to yourself sometimes!
Walking the journey with you…
Zoom In – Focus for 2015
Fall…it brings wonderful feelings of cozy days and nights, fires burning, a candle or two of your favorite fragrance, and soup and bread. There are colors that touch us deeply as trees change, and their colorful beauty helps us transition into another season. Then, comes that first frost and the leaves are falling and blowing in the wind. The other day, I took a walk in the wind with all those leaves blowing around me. It felt wonderful! Fall ushers in changes in our lives as we begin to think about holidays and what the new year brings.
In my case, the Fall brings another area to pray over, and that is my word for the year. I usually don’t get my word until the middle or end of November each year. However, this year, I received my word very early. This last summer God gave me my word for 2015…wait for it….zoom in…and there it is…Focus. Go figure…God would give me a photographic reference as my word! In years past, I have had journey, light, celebrate, and last year it was watchful, to name a few. Let’s look at a definition of the word Focus:
- a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity:
a point at which rays of light, heat, or other radiation, meet after being refracted or reflected.
the focal point of a lens.
the clear and sharply defined condition of an image.
the position of a viewed object or the adjustment of an optical device necessary to produce a clear image:
in focus; out of focus.
to bring to a focus or into focus:
to focus the lens of a camera.
to become focused.
- center, heart, core, nucleus
So, what does this word Focus mean for me this year? I think God wants me to make Him my central point; that’s where my attention needs to be, and where I need to Focus. It is rather like my camera lens. I can set my settings so that my subject is all that is in focus. But, I can also set my settings so that the whole view is in focus. I think God wants me to zoom in on my life lens and Focus more on Him, my main subject, and what He would have to me to do. He wants me to have a clear and sharply defined view of his will for me. My concentration should be seeking Him at every turn, trusting Him with everything, and allowing Him to work in me. I may need some BIG time cropping! It may not be all that comfortable. However, if that is the case and my Focus is on Him, then I am going in the right direction. In terms of photographing a personal portrait, it is wise to Focus on the eyes and if you do, the portrait will be in good Focus. It is the same for us. If we are concentrating our Focus on Jesus eyes/face, we will have a life that is centered in Him as our core, plus, we will have a Focus like never before!
I also love the idea of Focus being a point at which rays of light, meet after being reflected. So, in my case, I think God is telling me that I need to be a light to those around me and to be so connected with Him that I reflect Him in all I do. Is that going to be easy? No, most certainly not. Satan will always cause things to happen in our lives where we are tested with our Focus and clarity. I have had that very thing to deal with in our family these last few months. It has been very difficult! I can already see that the reason for my early impartation of my word for the year, may be just because it is at this season in my life that I need it! Thus, he gave me the word Focus so I am viewing it with the right lens. It’s like when you take a picture of a person, for example, if the background it is all cluttered with any number of things in the house or room, you find yourself looking at all of that clutter instead of the person. What we need is to learn the skills that help us learn HOW to focus better on the main subject. It is kind of like that old saying about “keeping your head in the game”. We have to be aware of what is going on around us.
If we want to gain Focus in our lives, we need to:
- prepare ourselves – in prayer, study of the Word and asking God to give us the right focus
- learn better ways of focusing – study and meditate how to implement it in our life
- have the right equipment – our Bible out and reading it, a devotional, podcast, attend Bible Study, Sunday Service, friends who will give us insight
- keep our eyes peeled – always be watching for where God is working in us and our lives around us, and join Him in that work. Asking the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and teach us what we need to know
Isn’t it interesting that these words of center, heart and light would be used for the meaning of the word Focus? We think of it like Focusing in on something, getting direction, narrowing our view, or whatever it will invoke in us as we think about it. Where is our Focus? Is it on Twitter, Facebook, a blog, sports, or this or that activity? I am really re-thinking my life and purpose. I want it to be about the right things, and if I am always distracted by the things I think I HAVE to be a part of, maybe, just maybe, I am really the one missing out. THAT is something I don’t want to happen. I’m finding that Focus can require a lot from me, but I think I need to be a seeker of its meaning for me. When I am taking pictures, they don’t just come to me. I have to look for them, seek them out, walk or drive out to get the shot, have my head in the game, and I have to give of my time. I believe the same is true of sharpening our Focus on the right things in my daily life.
I can’t wait to see what God has to teach me in the next year in regard to the word Focus! I know from experience in years past, that my word for the year is life changing! He will change my center and heart. He has already started! Won’t you ask God how He wants to work in your life this next year? What word may He want to give you to Focus on? Please share if you have been given a word. I would love to pray that over your life this year and next.
Walking the journey with you…