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Focus [Enough Study]


the center of interest or activity"

For the final topic of this study I decided "focus" was an important item in finding God as enough in our lives. When we aren't focused we tend to get distracted and don't become as efficient at the task at hand. As a graphic designer for a small agency, a lot of projects come in that often need to be tackled within a time-crunch. Being the only designer on the team leaves no time for any slacking or distractions. Design, like many things, requires time and focus. When too many notifications or emails keep flying in it tends to make me stressed and unproductive. It distracts me from my design "mode" and makes my head spin with the constant interruptions drawing me away from the project at hand. Sometimes I need to close out my email and everything bogging me down and just get into a focus mode.

Often times we need to do this spiritually as well. It's healthy to have time to focus on God and spend time with Him without the world's constant degrading interferences. This world can so easily entrap us into it's ways of thinking and we can find ourselves quickly falling into doubt, discouragement and longing after temporary desires that will leave us craving for more. Sometimes it's a constant battle to remain focused and steadfast in our perspective. This world constantly infiltrates into our lives day-in and day-out and it's difficult to remain fixated on God.

How many times I have caught myself going down an all too familiar road where my desires lead me astray and I wonder why I feel so discouraged and unsatisfied. Things that I thought would satisfy me left me feeling rejected, alone and forsaken. Things that I thought would bring me happiness quickly dissipated, leaving me with a broken heart. Things that I thought would fill the emptiness just don't seem to fill the void that I thought they once would.

When our focus is misaligned, our way of life is impacted. If we are constantly focused on what we don't have or what's not going right with our life we will be wallowing in discouragement and disappointment. We will always be searching for more, but never feel truly satisfied even if we attain what we've been seeking after. If our focus is solely seeking after earthly desires we will be investing our time into things that are temporal. We will be brought down by things that only bring glimpses of happiness, not long-lasting contentment.

Over the past few months I've been struggling with finding satisfaction in my circumstances. It's been a constant battle that I felt like I could never achieve. I felt as if I was in a rut and I would never overcome the lessons God was trying to teach me to find satisfaction solely in Him. I honestly am still struggling, and continually learning to grow, but I've learned that focus plays a big part in finding satisfaction in God. If we let our focus "control switch" get set to "me" instead of "God" we will be headed down a road toward destruction. Believe me, focusing on God sometimes seems much more challenging rather than trying to solve our issues on our own, but it will bring long-lasting reward in the end. It's so easy to get caught up in the now, but if we choose to do the hard thing and trust God with our deepest desires and struggles we will be rewarded. It's tempting to desire to have a happy and easy life, but without our struggles we wouldn't have opportunities to grow closer to God on a more intimate level. We wouldn't have the privilege to use our temporary lives here to store up treasure in heaven.

Romans 8:18

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Spiritual focus involves a mindset concentrated on God. I have found that through prayer and spending time alone with God, without distractions, can lead to a more successful focus in my life. Setting time aside before I go to bed allows me to spend intimate time with God where there are no distractions and the rest of the world is asleep. It is a time where I can open up with God and pour my heart out to Him with the worries and stresses of the day and offer up thanks to Him for all He has done, although I'm sure I don't always thank Him enough. Focus involves spending time, not only in prayer, but also in the Bible. The Bible is God's words written just for us. He wrote them to help us in this life and allow us to gain a better understanding of His character. When we get to know God's character better, we can trust in Him more knowing He truly is working for our best and wouldn't allow any circumstances in our life to hurt or harm us. He is with us through it all and we're never meant to carry the weight of our burdens alone. He's right there with us working through it. 

While spending time in prayer and reading God's Word is essential to getting focused spiritually, it also involves a mindset that seeks to find an eternal perspective in our everyday circumstances. Satan is skilled at tempting us in this area. He knows the very areas we struggle in and uses them to tear us down. Recently I was basing my mood on what wasn't occurring in my life and dwelling in what God was holding back from me, instead of finding a different perspective to my circumstances. I was allowing Satan to infiltrate my mind with doubt instead of soaking up God's truth. I don't want Satan to win the battle of making me fall for his deceptions. I don't want to be pulled into his negativity and get so caught up in all that seems wrong with my life that I can't live out my life to the fullest extent that God has planned for me. I don't want to miss opportunities that God drops into my daily life by being so distracted and feeling discouraged with things I wish were different. Satan likes to place disturbances in our way to keep us from following after God and getting us caught up in the wrong mindset. He's great at that. It's a constant battle to control our thoughts and not become entrapped into negative thinking, but when we feel like we are getting pulled into Satan's deceptions we can pray and ask God to help us get a clear eternal perspective.

I'm sure we all have things that we wish were different with our lives. Things we wished we could change. Plans we desired would be fulfilled. Dreams we wished would come true. No life is perfect. Nobody's life goes exactly how they planned. I know at least mine hasn't. At times it is discouraging feeling like my life feels messed up while everyone else's life appears to be pretty and perfect. I feel like I'm always stuck in the same rut day after day. I feel like my life will never amount to anything worthwhile. I long for hope. I long for a joy that remains and doesn't quickly lead to an all-too familiar disappointment. I long to hold onto something that never changes. I long to find purpose for this small life of mine; and I believe it all starts with focus.

It begins with a focus of why we're here. What our purpose is. This is not our home. We're here temporarily and our struggles, trials and pain that we're enduring is temporary as well. It's how we react and how our faith is strengthened through those hard times that will determine our reward. Taking a step back and realizing the pain will one day cease, but what we've done for God, how we reacted during the darkest of days and our obedience to God will remain forever. We have an eternal hope that will never be diminished. We have a love that only God offers us, and it will never grow cold or dwindle over time. His love remains steadfast and remains even when we can't find the love to accept ourselves. He chose us before time began. He loves us despite our sin and shortcomings. If the God of the universe loves us that much and accepts us, we shouldn't be craving for scraps of love from others. We can find our satisfaction in Him knowing that He loves us, accepts us, created us exactly how we were meant to be and will always remain by our side. When we can find our satisfaction in Him and let the desires we cling onto so deeply be released into His control we will find a peace in knowing He's taking care of it. He's carrying the weight, not because He demands to be in control, but because He doesn't want us to hurt ourselves with the burdens we bear when we carry them on our own.

Focus is one of the most difficult things to conquer in a world that so easily entraps us into doubtful thinking. This world discourages any sign of hope. People here let us down. Things fail us and break. As Christians we have something that this world doesn't. We have a life outside of this world, and with that blessing, we have hope. Not a hope that can die, but live on forever in a perfect timeless home. We can have hope knowing that the deepest of heartaches will all be mended and rewarded on that glorious day. The time is coming and it awaits us. Nothing here can ever withhold God's immense love for us. No struggle is too great that He's not in control of. He sees it all and nothing we go through doesn't pass through His hands first.

The life we lead can sometimes seem quite small, but when we take a step back and look at the bigger picture we can remind ourselves that our great and all-powerful God is working through our lives. He has a plan that far exceeds our greatest desires. He has an extraordinary purpose for our lives that was intricately thought out, with detailed intentions and He will fulfill it when we are willing to place our trust to follow Him even when it doesn't make sense. I truly believe an eternal focus is where we can tap into finding that God truly is enough and we can let go of the binding shackles of worry, stress and discouragement that so easily entangle us. He's provided us with all we need, and if we have accepted Him as our Savior, He's promised us a future of hope and reward. Even if we don't experience it here on this earth, we will see it was all worth it in eternity one day!

I Peter 1: 6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

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