I have another confession….I struggle with focus.
There are days that I have so many ideas swirling in my head that I can’t get anything done. I feel lost. Instead of being productive, I become stuck. Frozen stiff because I don’t know where to apply my thoughts or efforts. My assumption has always been that to become laser focused and productive, I needed to reel in my sights and look at today, what is right in front of me; create my to-do list and not be concerned with what happens tomorrow.
It hasn’t worked.
I may be a little slow, but I’m not completely dull. If something is not working it’s time to do something different. You know that saying, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.”? It has proven to be true over and over.
My stubbornness kept me on a track of repeat for years. I believed I wasn’t trying hard enough to be focused. I learned to become more organized, made lists, wrote out my ideas, had different notebooks for different subjects….
The end result? More confusion, less focus.
For the love of Pete, I could NOT figure out what I was missing. Like a bad romance, I was stuck in a relationship that I thought I was supposed to be in and no courage to get out.
THE STUDENT IS READY
My greatest lessons almost always come from the most unexpected places and people.
One day I was listening to a well-known preacher, who happens to also be a brilliant business person. In the past, I would half-listen to his messages. However, over a series of several days, I intently took notice of what he was saying. Afterall, the best teachers are the ones who have already walked down a similar road. He’s achieved so much in a variety of areas, but with focus and a whole lot of joy!
I wanted to know more.
There were many wonderful lessons I learned but he said one thing in particular that stuck with me like gum on my shoe. In a nutshell, he said something like this:
See past your needs and look at your wants. God has already promised to provide for your needs. Now He is asking you, “What do you want?”. When he fulfills your wants, your needs are automatically being met.
Have you ever had words jump off a page or hit you smack in the face? You’ve read or heard them a hundred times but suddenly they leap out and grab your attention. That’s what happened. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but when he said this, I knew….. I instinctively knew this is what I needed to hear at the moment.
And just so I didn’t second guess myself, God set up a reinforcement to my lesson.
The very next day I was having coffee with a good friend when she shared with me how she learned to “see beyond”. At a recent conference, she was given the task to break a board. You know, Karate Kid type stuff.
What she said was, “We were told to look beyond the board. Once I focused on something beyond the obstacle in front of me, I was able to break the board like it was paper. I was reaching through it to what was beyond.”
Ok God. I hear ya.
At the time, a variety of concerns and possibilities were consuming my entire field of vision. I didn’t know which one to devote my focus.
- I had specific financial needs.
- There were several business ideas and I didn’t know which ones to pursue.
- New clients opportunities were coming available but I wasn’t sure if that was where I needed to go.
- Currently, I am waiting to hear on a life-changing opportunity.
What this message of “seeing beyond” did for me was shift my sight lines ever so marginally. Just as I had a minor shift in my thinking regarding food the other week that led to a major change (read about it here), I was (and am) experiencing a recalibration in my perspective.
Instead of looking at the unknowns and needs staring at me and demanding my attention, I lifted my gaze upward and asked God what I should be looking at beyond the immediate needs and obligations.
You know what I saw? Clarity.
I dared to dream about tomorrow. Yes, I had visions and goals, but frankly, I was afraid to look at “Beyond”. For me, my immediate attention was on financial provision for my dream of writing and publishing a book. I had already put a down payment on an author coach but did not have the rest of the funds. The furthest I could see in my mind was writing one book, and I was consumed with figuring out how to pay the coach and the publishing of the book. That is as far as my vision went.
“Beyond” Isn’t A Final Destination
My shift came when I realized God already promised to meet my needs. So I thanked Him for the provision for this author coach and other immediate needs. Then I thought, what is beyond writing a book? Once I looked past that, I started to see clearly where I was headed. In my spirit, I already knew what my heart desired and what my calling was. However, I had not given myself permission to speak it out or give it definition. Now, I was breathing life into my Beyond. And my Beyond is only something God can accomplish!
Suddenly, other decisions I needed to make became easier.
- Scheduling my time is easier because I know what my Beyond is.
- Confusion around business decisions is fading.
- I can look at my finances and know better how to spend or save my money because I know my Beyond.
My Beyond isn’t a final destination. It is constantly expanding, like the universe. Yet it takes away the worry and anxiety of today’s needs because I know that when I am focusing on moving towards my Beyond, the needs of today are automatically met!
Yet the greatest benefit of knowing my Beyond is the clarity and focus it brings into today.