Tuesday, January 8, 2013

2013 OLW - Focus

God, you are GOOD!  Thank you, for once again showing me exactly what you want from me.  I kept praying for my One Little Word (OLW) for 2013.  Over and over again, "Focus" kept coming to mind.  I would see it more than once a day, but then again, I felt compelled to add new words daily too!  

Sometimes all it takes is reading blog posted on Facebook to find just the confirmation you were looking for! :)

While selecting a word isn't difficult, it isn't something I take lightly.  Last year, my OLW was “Love”.  When I pick a word, the enemy tries to attack it.  IMMEDIATELY.  It’s happened 2 out of 2 years!  Satan doesn't want me to grow; he wants me to stay complacent.  He must think that starting the year off in a battle will cause me to give in and give up.  No!  I must fight!  Last year, I had to ask God immediately for help and He didn't not disappoint!  I learned so much about how to love others, how to love myself, and most importantly, how to love God.

Here are some of the areas I want to gain “Focus”:

1) To start 2013, I asked God to infiltrate every aspect of my life. I asked Him to give me His goals and His desires. The cool thing was that I had 4 "big" goals in 2012 with lots of milestones to reach each one.  I finished a lot of milestones last year, so I made some progress.  I just didn't finish any of my big goals.  I realized that while I want to lose weight and be out of debt, the goal God has for me is to glorify Him with my body and money. It takes the "focus" off me and puts it on God. I haven't removed any of the goals from last year’s list. They were all just modified.  I'm not worried about losing a pound a week or maxing out my 401k contributions.  I'm just going to ask for guidance and wisdom to focus on what I eat and where I spend my money so I stop doing things mindlessly.
Romans 8:5-8 (MSG) Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self, ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored.
2) I let myself get distracted by the things of this world.  I need to focus on Jesus.  Period.  This affects every area of my life.  If I focus on Jesus and honoring Him with my body, losing weight won't be a struggle.  If I focus on Jesus and honoring Him with my money, getting out of debt and reducing my expenses won't be a struggle.  If I focus on Jesus, I will see the people I am speaking with as He sees them and I will realize how valuable our time is together.  I will realize that I need to be in the moment and they deserve my undivided attention. 
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (MSG) Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
3) I start too many things and never finish (Bible studies, countless books, getting out of debt, losing weight, cleaning the house, getting the certification). Sometimes, I get bored, overwhelmed or discouraged.  Then, I just give up.  Other times, I don't put my ALL into it.  This happens a lot at work.  Yes, I have a lot on my plate, but I know I could do better and do more if I just applied myself. 
Ephesians 6:5-8 (NLT) Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
·      4) I also get distracted in conversations or while praying. When someone else is talking, I find my mind wandering. Sometimes, I think of a question I want to ask the person that is talking, but to avoid forgetting my question, I stop listening to what they are actually saying. Other times, I want to tell them something that is completely unrelated to what they are saying.  I still tune them out so I don’t forget what I want to say.  Either way, I want to really hear what people are saying to me.  I want to be in the moment.  I want to learn to listen.  This principle applies to my prayers and being still long enough to hear God’s whisper.
James 1:19 (NLT) Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
Kings 19:11-13 (NLT) “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper
Ironically enough, the word “focus” isn't in many Bible translations.  The New International Version (NIV) doesn't have the word at all!  The New Living Translation (NLT) uses it 4 times. The Message uses it a whopping 28 times!  The verses below might not say the actual word “focus”, but it does describe the action quite effectively. 

For 2013, I already have many distractions trying to steal my Focus.  Here are my weapons to fight the battle:

The definition of “focus” is…
     1) To concentrate attention or effort, emphasis
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 
     2) A point at which rays (light, heat, or sound) converge toward another point
Romans 8:5 (ESV)For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on things according to the Spirit.
      3) Adjustment for distinct vision, a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding
Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
      4) A center of activity or attraction
Philippians 3:10-14 (NLT) I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!  I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Alternatively, a lesson in losing “focus”:
Matthew 14:24-31 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”  Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

This is exactly why I want focus

Stop worrying about my current circumstances, especially when the wind and waves are fierce.

Don’t fret over what may come. 

Forget about the past

Learn to be present in His Presence 
Ephesians 1:17-19 (MSG) I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

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