Ready, Aim, Fire: Narrowing Your Focus
Having a cluttered focal point can really mess us up. If we’re aimless, the chances of us hitting a target are pretty slim. It’s like when two side-by-side parking spaces are available, and we don’t really decide which one we’re going to park in… Does anybody else’s car land in some haphazard position straddled over the line?
It happens to me a lot in life at large, too. In fact, lacking a focal point has been a theme in the current growing season I’m in. My role at my workplace is wide, and can sometimes leave me feeling the pressure of being in too many places, doing too many things, at one time. One of the greatest wake up calls for me has been the realization that God doesn’t call us to be all-purpose. He has given us each a specially formulated gift mix, unique personality, and hand-picked opportunities to make a difference in the world with our lives.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
There’s a race marked out for each of us, carved into all of existence in a personal way by a personal God. One of the biggest hinderances to experiencing victory in this race called life can be allowing so many other things to pull our focus. When we embrace our lane, and narrow our focus as a result, we can run with clarity, zeal, and endurance. If we want to declutter our days and make a difference with our time, energy, and talent while we’re alive on the planet, we have to find our focal point. It can seem overwhelming to think about, I know first hand. I’m right there with you girl. And I want to share with you one of my favorite verses that has helped me step into the process:
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 6:5, MSG
“Wow” is literally what comes out of my mouth every time I read this verse. God’s desire for each of us is to discover who we are in Him, who we are created to become, and sink ourselves into that. It’s going all in, one hundred percent. It’s fixing our eyes on that very purpose that we were created for and running hard after that, being completely free from the weight of comparison games. Your story is not my story, and my story is not your story. Is that not so beautiful and liberating? So, here’s how we get there:
Because our story begins personally between us and God, the very best thing we can do is talk with Him about our lane. Asking God to help us see what makes us unique, what passions He’s placed inside us, and what dreams He has deposited in our hearts can give us the clearest picture of what, where, when, and how He desires for us to shift our focus.
Take a good hard look at your strengths, passions, and dreams. What are you good at? What brings you deep satisfaction? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What opportunities do you have? Where do you see yourself in the future when you step back and allow yourself to dream big? Take some time to journal though questions like these this week. You might find a few gems that point you in the right direction, and then of course bring those things to God in prayer as well.
We have certain leadership figures in our life for a reason. They might be pastors, supervisors, parents, teachers, or team leaders. God can use these people to help guide us into our lane, and position us to experience greatness as we run. I believe God develops our gifts, character, influence, and dreams when we align to the direction from the leaders in our lives. Ask God to speak into their hearts to help you move into a position that will propel you forward, and don’t be afraid to have some honest conversations about where you are and how you want to find your focal point. And don’t be afraid if you get moved out of your comfort zone––focusing doesn’t always feel glamorous or mean getting what we want. I can look back at so many seasons where I was positioned somewhere that wasn’t what I may have hoped or wanted, but it shaped me for my future and was a clear part of defining my lane. Embrace every stretch of the journey.
I want to leave you with two more scriptures that will help us in the process of focusing and running with purpose. Our focal point is not a job title, a relationship, a financial status, or anything like that. In fact, these are the kinds of focal points that clutter our ability to run without hinderance. These things can waiver, which causes us to waiver too. Imagine trying to balance while focusing on a tree swaying in the wind. Chances are, you’ll sway too. Our focal point has to be steady; it has to be something totally infallible. There’s only one thing that fits this profile: Jesus. He is where we place our hope and our focus. When we place our hope and focus on these other things, and they don’t happen, our hope collapses.
The writer in Proverbs knows this, and shares in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” When our focus moves from specific things on this earth to fulfilling our God-given dream and purpose, heartsickness can’t slow us down. We press on through every obstacle, every letdown, and every circumstance because we understand what our focus is locked on. We run in our lane like an unstoppable force. The cool thing is, when we make God’s priorities our priorities, we don’t miss a beat with all those other things.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33
My prayer for us today is that we take on the brave task of narrowing our focus through prayer, careful examination, and getting under some people who have our best interest in mind. May we set our heart, our focus, on the will of God in our life. He won’t disappoint, and He’s sure to deliver. When we choose the lane marked out for us, we can press into it and give our all more effectively. We spend less days being spread thin, and more days making a tremendous difference. More bullseyes, more perfect parking, and more strides towards fulfilling our ultimate purpose––all we have to do is focus.
Author: Amanda Zecher
Amanda Zecher is a West Coast girl adventuring on the East Coast. Fueled by coffee and chai tea lattes, this nomadic California native can be found exploring, creating, or day-dreaming. She is passionate about helping people discover and live up to their full God-potential through serving in communications and creative arts at Barefoot Church.