Focus

So you’re going to tackle the world, huh? Make a difference and make an impact? 

But how often do we enter into the realm of possibility and opportunity with the mentality that we can do anything and everything, without really focusing on one specific task? It’s been said that if you try to do everything you will end up accomplishing nothing. 

While reading the book Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell I came across a story where Maxwell went to Argentina on a business trip and found out the city he was going to be in was renown for hunting. Being one that was willing to try new things, he decided to try hunting, even though he was beyond amateur status. He got to the site and was overwhelmed with the fact that there was a massive amount of doves in the sky, around 50,000! Yet after awhile he had not even shot a single dove. The guide, embarrassed,  came over finally and told him, “You know what your problem is? You are trying to hit every single dove. Just focus on one. Don’t even worry about the ones you miss.” After that Maxwell hit 3 doves, still not a lot, but better than none.

It’s so important to focus on something specific. As Maxwell pointed out, it’s so important that one knows the difference between motion and direction. Tony Robbins,  an American self-help author and motivational speaker, said, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

Romans 12:6-8 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” 

So perhaps the first step to success is figuring out who you are and where your talents lie. Combine those with where you want to make a difference, and then focus on doing what you can to fix that situation. 

Sometimes it’s easy to look at others and say “Hey, I think I’d like to be like them” and forget how unique God has made you. I’m in charge of an 8th grade leadership group at Youth for Christ where I volunteer, and I had them do this activity where I gave each kid a dirty penny and told them they have two minutes to clean it up the best they can and the winner gets some candy. So they all ran out into the kitchen to begin polishing them up. Except for one girl, who came back and sat back down saying, “We’re never going to be able to clean these pennies.” Most of the other kids came back with little luck in shinning the pennies up.  Two girls, though, had found some sort of polishing cleaner that they used to brighten the penny up just a bit. 

The point of this activity was to show that it’s so easy to take something like copper and try to shine it into gold. Which of course, is not possible. So if you’re going to change the world, pick out the gold and work with that instead of spreading yourself thin with an abundance of copper pennies. Now I’m not saying that you cannot take something bad and transform it, but merely that God has created you so wonderfully specifically that he wants you to develop the traits that He has installed in you. He wants you to focus on who He’s made you and called you to be. 

What if you thought about your potential like a piece of gold? Gold is the most malleable of all metals, meaning it can be deformed under stress. So perhaps God gives us each our own unique piece of gold, and it is then up to us to focus on unfolding the vision of where it’s potential is, and then begin molding. Little by little it is transformed into something unique, something only you can create. 

So if your life is like a crazy hunting adventure, with thousands of doves in the sky, and find that you aren’t hitting any at all, perhaps the problem is that you are simply trying to hit them all. Friends, narrow your focus and clarify your vision! Like the guide in the story earlier, God will bring us to the site, but we must choose how to exert our energy in the right place, at the right target. 

John 16:13 says, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” If the Spirit is speaking, are you listening? Without knowing where you are going, you will surely never reach the destination. 

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Wake Up

Here’s one of my poems! Sorry that the third line only applies to the ladies. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

Wake up, you, it’s time for today

Don’t let the world keep wasting away

Jump out of bed, slip on those heels

Smile at life, forget the ideals

Start to live, before it’s too late

Go after love and chase your fate

 

Wake up, you, it’s time for today

Don’t let your dreams get too far away

Run out that door, it’s never too late

Move on from regret, and forget the hate

Start to love, the time is now

Just jump in and you’ll figure out how

 

Wake up, you, it’s time for today

Don’t let temptation sweep you away

Step into life, you pave the way

Forget the mistakes, today’s a new day

Start to believe, the world’s at your grasp

Before you know it, you’ll be living at last.

 

Ephesians 5:14 says, “Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

In the literal sense, Christ wants to be the one that you wake up to. In the figurative sense, Christ wants to be the one that you wake up to when you are drowning in a sea of sin and suddenly decide to pull yourself to a higher standard. The standard in which you are reaching your God- given potential. Waking up can be voluntary or involuntary. After a Sunday afternoon snooze you might leisurely awaken and on a workday you might be yanked from sleep by the drone of an alarm. God might whisper in your ear that it’s time to make a change, to step out, to wake up. And it’s your choice what you do with that whisper. Or perhaps He might send some situation, opportunity, or relationship that is His way of saying it’s time to come with me, time to start living, time to wake up. But of course, it’s easy to take things the wrong way, and blame things on the inevitability of circumstance and chance. 

Yet perhaps circumstance and chance is simply an excuse we tell ourselves to believe when our eyes are fluttering with the calamity of luke- warm spirituality. What about the inevitability of Jesus speaking to us in unexpected ways? Our Lord cannot be limited. He can wake us up in so many ways.

Look for Him, listen for Him. Don’t blame Him, but seek Him. Seek to understand, but realize that we are not meant to have full understanding. For as Christians we are children of faith. I have faith that God will reveal Himself, do you? So friends, let us experience an awakening in which our pitfalls, fears, and addictions are left behind in a distant dreary dream. Let us not be a people that merely wake up to the light that the sun emits, but to the light that our Lord Jesus Christ expels. 

In John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Be who God has made you to be

Do you ever feel like God has called you to do something awesome with your life, but you can’t figure out just what it is? So many opportunities, yet so much confusion as to which as to which one to pursue whole heartedly? I know for me I often worry about the future and what God has called me to do, instead of focusing on who God has made me, who I am today. 

Hebrews 5:5-6 says, “in the same way Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my son; today I have become your Father.” And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

Jesus could have pursued a title that would have brought him credibility, from a worldly standard, but instead he listened to the calling His father gave him. And in fact, God did give him the title of a priest. A different sort of priest, though. Jesus simply lived out who God told him he was. You see, if we pursue an occupation to bring ourselves glory, we will not be fulfilled, but if we seek God’s guidance on where we can bring Him glory, then God will surely bless us. We must seek God fervently so that we are more and more able to distinguish His voice and His direction. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Now, I am not saying not to defy the current standards of your occupation and pursue something radically differrent. But merely that God can and will use us to become someone radically different than is expected from the world. The world puts limits on what we can do, but as Christians we should never put limits on who God says we are, or for that matter, what we can do through Him. Whatever God tells you to be, He will give you the talents to pursue that, and expect you to further what He has given you.

What people expect of you, you do not always need to strive to be. When you feel self- glorification creep in, turn away and turn to God. For he surely has great plans for us, ones that we cannot understand. Ones that are deeper and far more complex than you could ever imagine. Be who God has made you to be. Don’t know? Ask him! He’ll slowly reveal his plan, his beautiful intentions with you. Be patient, be diligent. And when you hear a whisper from Him who you are, pursue that with all your heart. Some may not understand, but then again, did you receive a calling from man or a calling from God? Friend, you have God given potential. Whoever you are, be sure to seek God influence people through love and obedience. Life sure does seem like a mystery sometimes, but thank goodness God has all the pieces, and one by one, day by day, God will help us put the puzzle together.

God sees people’s expectations, and uses his humble and willing servants to stir the waters, to tip tables, to make a difference. He collapses the walls of expectation and build up a uniquely unexpected calling that defines your very being and an unexpected reality that you were created for so much more than the world expects. Where do you come in? Be who God has made you to be. He will tell you what all that encompasses.