Focus, People, Focus!

The enemy knows how easily we are distracted. The only way to combat his strategy is to focus on what is important.

I confess I struggle to remain focused. Even as I sit in front of my laptop and attempt to write these thoughts, my mind wanders. It’s nearly impossible to focus on just one thing in today’s world. Social Media gurus and organisations who rely on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, emails, texts, and news outlets to get their message across are learning that the shorter the message, the larger the audience. The majority of news outlets repeat soundbites that are less than 20 seconds long, multiple times a day. They then fill the rest of their programming schedules with speculative pundits who pass the time with so-called impartial observations. Political parties and doctrinal camps vie for my allegiance. Read this, believe that, renounce this, beware that, speak against this person, blindly follow that person. What is a person to do?

For those of you who follow me regularly, it will come as no surprise that the Lord gave me a picture to illustrate my point. In my mind’s eye, I actually saw my physical eyes. For much of my life, I was severely near-sighted with astigmatism in both eyes. Although my vision significantly improved with thanks to implants after cataract surgery, I am left with many floaters, the result of decades of nearsightedness. Floaters are those dark shadows that flit across your field of vision. They are most noticeable when your eyes are exposed to bright lights or a camera flash. I have several floaters in both eyes, many of which I have had since childhood.

Every now and again, a new floater appears, and when it does, it is highly distracting. The floater saunters across my field of vision, making it hard to concentrate on what I am trying to view. Focussing on anything but the newest annoyance is difficult. It takes weeks of discipline before I am able to ignore the floaters and focus on what my eyes need to see. Right at this very moment, I am aware of all the floaters that invade my optic space. Why would that happen right now? Coincidence? No, the answer is rather obvious. As my mind is focused on the subject of floaters, that’s all I can see in front of me. My floaters are different shapes, lengths and sizes. Yet they all do one thing. They impede me from seeing the whole picture, and they keep me distracted from the job at hand.

The key to living with floaters, I have found, is to look beyond them and to focus on what my eyes need to see. Although I found floaters rather amusing as a child and I enjoyed following them around, I now see them as a hindrance.  I refuse to allow them to deter me from whatever goal is set before me. New floaters quickly find themselves assigned to the same low priority as the older floaters. They will find themselves ignored as I place my focus on more important things.

The Bible speaks much about fixing our gaze upon things of eternal value. It also warns us against focusing on lesser things. I encourage you to do a word study on the keywords of focus, fix your gaze, and distractions. You will find God has a lot to say on the subject.

Personal Application

Are you easily distracted by things that do not move you closer to God and do not increase your love for others?  Do they erode your faith? Do they impede your ability to recognise God’s faithfulness at work in your life, your home, and your nation? Begin to take some of those distractions away.

Limit your exposure to news broadcasts and news websites. Skim the headlines, get the facts from a variety of sources, then turn off your television and close your Web Browser.

Limit viewing television and streaming series whose world-view is dark and cynical. Avoid binge-watching entertainment that presents a decidedly anti-Christian world-view either overtly or covertly.

Download an extension for Facebook called “FBPurity” that gives you the option to hide posts that contain subject material that pulls you away from what you should keep your focus on. I find this extension extremely helpful during election season. You can enter keywords of any subject that you know is a stumbling block for yourself.

Ask yourself the next couple of questions and then answer them as truthfully as you can. Are you avoiding issues in your heart, home, family and workplace by placing your focus on national and international events? Is the so-called righteous anger displayed in your comments, re-shares, and posts on Social Media masking personal pain and personal frustration?
Take these issues before the Lord. Ask him where you should be placing your focus. You might be surprised by his answer.

Am I saying that we should not educate ourselves on issues of national and international importance? By all means, no! Do your own research. Look for the facts while staying away from speculation and rumours. However, if you find yourself obsessed by such matters to the point that you are losing your peace, and your research is infringing on your quiet times, Bible reading, and fellowship with other believers, consider cutting back. Focus your attention on the one thing, the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.

Until Next Week

2018 Katherine Walden

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