One single word has been creeping up in my mind beginning at the end of December and even now into the beginning of 2019. The word is FOCUS, and instead of shying away from it or dismissing it as a random word and nothing more, I’m choosing to embrace it.
Words, much like random ideas or even random acts we encounter every day should not be dismissed. Perhaps they’re sent as divine providence, maybe that random person you meet and have a conversation with is disguised as an opportunity, or perhaps the events of the day have unfolded exactly as they have in order to get your attention. Either way, I not only encourage you to recognize these occurrences, but act on them when appropriate.
The word that keeps coming up for me has been the single word, FOCUS. It first came to me during a worship service at the Agape Church where my wife and family attend. It wasn’t as if I actually heard the word spoken to me directly from a person, and it wasn’t my wife reminding to stop talking and focus on the message lol (I was focusing on some seriously great preaching btw) but instead, the word just sort of...popped in my mind. I didn’t dismiss it at first as I do work to hear the Lord’s calling on my life, and this, I felt, was no different. I held on to it for a few days and then as social media seems to literally read our thoughts, I had one of those “sponsored ads” pop up on Instagram. It was an advertisement for a bracelet from the website myintent.com. It was a website that allows you to personalize a bracelet with a “word” of your choosing. Another sign I suppose for affirming this word FOCUS was something I was to dive deeper into.
As God’s perfect timing always is, January is the time our church chooses to go through 21 days of fasting and prayer. Once again, over and over the word FOCUS continued to come up. Realizing there are no coincidences, I have decided to embrace my word for 2019. My word is FOCUS and while I am still reflecting on this single concept, I feel it’s only necessary for me to write out what I have so far.
Did I mention I’m a sucker for an acronym? Well I am, so deal with it.
F - Figure it out. Yes I know, it’s three words but I’m flying by the seat of my pants here. Figuring it out in terms of “Focus” centers on the concept of “figuring out what you are to FOCUS on.” For me, this is relatively easy, yet it’s also extremely difficult. For instance, the list of things this year I need to focus on include:
Focus on my walk/relationship with my Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Focus on the health of my marriage.
Focus on the health of my family.
Focus on my job.
Focus on brand and children’s book business.
Focus on finishing Graduate School this Spring Semester.
Focus on staying physically fit in order to do the things I want do.
Focus on eating the way I need to.
These were the quick things that popped in my head as I was going through my list of responsibilities and where I need to place them. Bottom line, I need to focus on all of them. But it certainly helps now that I've written them down. So grab a pen, start writing down what you need to Focus on...I’ll wait.
O – Opportunity. Now that an item of Focus has been established its time to create and recognize. Create the opportunity for you to be focused. For instance, if you are trying to dive deeper in God’s word, turn the TV off, Smart Phone off and get in a quiet place. Don’t set yourself up for failure with unnecessary distractions, at least give yourself a fighting chance here. Another example would be to avoid the donut shop if you are trying to lose some Holiday weight. Focus rather on the colorful and curious world of fruits and vegetables in the produce section. Trust me, there is more to life than a potato. Once you’ve created an environment to help yourself Focus and thrive, be prepared to recognize. Recognize an opportunity to share what you’re doing. To help someone around you who’s also fighting distraction, temptation or whatever it is that may be pulling them away from remaining focused on their own current objectives.
C – Clarity. Confused on what to do? Not sure what is about to happen, or what the next steps you should take in life are? Then start with (F) and figure out a subject, create and recognize opportunity to gain knowledge of the subject, and then, focus on clarity. While focus is defined as the center of interest or an activity, clarity is the quality of being coherent and intelligent of that interest or activity. Seeking clarity can come in many forms too. Simply talking with someone who has experienced what you are currently focusing on can provide instant clarity in a potentially foggy scenario. Additionally, your own research is crucial to diving deep into what you are working on to understand every aspect about it. You wouldn’t start a fire with a gallon of water, would you? No, you’d use the right tools. Clarity is a must.
U - Uncomfortable. Yes, focusing on a specific item to gain clarity may be a bit uncomfortable. Especially if it's something you feel is overwhelming and perhaps even burdensome. However, iron sharpens iron and you must go through the process of discovery, trial and error, uncovering hidden talents you didn’t know you had, encountering experts in the field you are focusing on etc. You do this to get better. Example; you want to get stronger, so you go to the gym. The gym isn’t exactly fun. You sweat, you push yourself, you go beyond your limitation to see results...you do not get results sitting on the couch Facebooking all day.
S - Sacrifice. With focus comes responsibility. Responsibility leads us to sacrifice. In my blog Here To There I explain in order to get from HERE to THERE requires a few things, and sacrifice was one of them. No matter what you do, if you want it, you will have to sacrifice something. For most of us it’s time. Sacrificing time though can be done and when handled correctly, can be easy. The trick with sacrifice in relation to FOCUS is being able to sacrifice the distractions that are bound to happen. This is when you isolate yourself in a room with no TV, or you go to the Library to study for an exam because your roommate is too loud. The key is recognizing the distractions and handling them appropriately.
So, whatever it is that you have had thoughts about pursuing, or maybe you have had a word given to you or one that keeps popping up. I challenge you to F.O.C.U.S. on it. Bring the elements of figuring it out, recognizing opportunities, gaining clarity, accepting the fact of it being uncomfortable and be willing to sacrifice in order to get the results you are looking for. Don’t know where to start? Focus on your life goals, your marriage, your side projects, the moment at hand, the future, the day set before us, family or simply saying “I love you” more. But whatever it is, F.O.C.U.S.