Focus. A daily battle for a lot of people – including me. I have a tendency to be easily distracted. My mind just bounces from one place to another. Whether it be listening to a long lecture or even just carrying a simple conversation, something else captures my attention and pulls me away from the topic at hand. Although this might not always seem like a big deal, it can sometimes be a very big deal.
Let me give you a true life, and somewhat embarrassing, example.
Very recently, I was walking home with my two sisters from our Bible study. Before we left, my parents gave me explicit instructions to make sure that my 9-year-old sister remembered to look both ways before crossing any streets. Just as we reached our first road to cross, it happened. I was distracted. I let my thoughts get away from me and I was the one who walked out into the middle of the road! Ironically, it was that same 9-year-old sister who had to pull me out of the road just before a minivan turned the corner! (And just as a side note, we still laugh about the irony of the whole situation. My little sister will never let me live that one down. She retells it every chance she gets!)
God tells us through His Word that we are to keep our thoughts fixed on Him. But let’s be honest. How often do we let ourselves get sidetracked from one thing to another? Losing our focus can be a dangerous thing in various situations, for many different reasons. But the point I’m trying to make is, it can be especially dangerous in our walk with Christ.
Christ tells us to be careful not to walk blindly into the ways of the world, and oh how easily we become distracted by culture. One thing or another grabs for our attention and then we do it – we get distracted and “walk out in the middle of the road” per se; a road where a truckload of sin and regrets is ready to knock us right off our feet. It even says in Luke 21:34,
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” (ESV)
But how can we stay focused? How can we keep our focus on what really matters? Let me tell you three simple steps that help me in everyday life.
Limit Your Distractions
It can be easy to lose focus when you’re constantly surrounding yourself with things that will distract you from what you’re meant to be doing. These distractions could look like anything, from television, to books, to obsessing over that boy/girl you like; literally anything.
Although this may seem daunting at first, try limiting the amount of distractions that are vying for your attention. A good way to measure what those distractions are is to figure out what you like to do in your free time. When you find yourself with nothing to do – what do you find yourself doing? Now, I’m not saying that you should completely cut out anything that you might find enjoyable. I’m simply saying to maybe dial them down a bit. (Do we really need to check our Instagram feed every 5 minutes? Do our phones need to be permanently attached to our hands?) Try to limit yourself on certain things that you know are taking away from your personal relationship with Christ. I can guarantee you that this will make focusing much easier for you.
Lots of Prayer, Lots of Scripture
Now that you’ve weeded through the distractions, what will you do with some of this free time? I know this sounds like a cliché answer, but spending more time with your Creator is a great place to start! God wants nothing more than for us to dig into His Word and talk to Him through prayer. He wants a relationship with you. Are you keeping that relationship alive? Do you set aside time with just Him? Do you talk to Him? Do you enjoy digging into His word to learn more about Him? If not, start today! Purpose to spend time alone with God; make it a habit. You will soon start to notice a growing, burning desire to love and follow Him that you may not have felt before. You might even notice how much easier it becomes to walk away from the sins and distractions of the world.
Keep Your Eyes Forward
So, let’s see where we are. We’ve rid ourselves of unnecessary distractions. We’ve been digging into God’s word and spending time with Him. We think we’re doing such a great job and then it hits us. Regret – remembering those past mistakes that we can’t change and so desperately wish that we could. Our past has an uncanny way of taking our focus off of our present and our future. This is a time when we need to remember one simple phrase: I. Am. Redeemed.
I just love how those three small words can make such a big impact!
I. Am. Redeemed.
You. Are. Redeemed.
You don’t need to focus on the past, because through the blood of Jesus Christ all those past regrets have been washed away. This is grace. Grace helps us to stay focused on the reality of the present. We have the ability to stay focused not because of what we’ve done, but because of what Christ has done. If you keep your focus on your past, then you’ve accomplished exactly what Satan wants: nothing.
You can’t reach your final destination if you keep looking back. God is always pushing us to look ahead. It even says in Proverbs 4:25,
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” (ESV)
Focus. It is easier said than done. It’s not always convenient. It’s not always easy. But at the end of the day, it’s totally worth it.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.When Christ who is yourlife appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” ~ Colossians 3:2-4 (ESV)