During the creative process of writing academically, fiction, or the blog, I often find myself following a rabbit hole that has nothing to do with my original intent in writing. I start researching or reading tangents (likely the reason I know so many bits of useless information). I become engrossed in the television if it’s on. I start singing to music even if it’s background noise.
I am notorious for distracting myself. Squirrel.
The point is that I often have to tell myself, “Focus, Emily, Focus.”
I need that phrase for my life’s walk with Jesus too. Focus, Emily, Focus.
Paul does a fantastic job of teaching us the need for focusing in Philippians.
“Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on fi I may also have hold of that for which I as even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)
This text reminds us that in order to grow in our faith with Jesus, we have to remain focused. We must reach forward. We must press on towards the goal. No rabbit hole research projects allowed. No distracting media platforms. No squirrels.
Our salvation is clearly outlined in the Bible as grace alone through faith….but the growth in our relationship with God requires work to remain focused.
A few verses before, Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10 (NASB), “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” In this verse, we can glean a few goals that Paul had for remaining focused on the Lord, and they are goals that I want for my own focus.
He wanted to know Jesus in a more personal way, as do I.
He wanted to really know the power of Christ’s resurrection, as do I.
He wanted a similar attitude to Jesus in the face of suffering, as do I.
He wanted connection to Jesus through His death, as do I.
Like any other goals in our lives, we can’t be successful at accomplishing the goals without being specific with the goal writing. In the military (and in other leadership courses), I was taught the SMART method in regards to goal writing:
– Specific (details of the goals)
– Measurable (how do I know if I’m accomplishing the goal)
– Achievable (can I actually accomplish what I’m setting out to do)
– Realistic (is it within reach and relevant to my life)
– Time-framed (is there an end/stopping point to determine goal accomplishment)
If my generalized goal is to remain focused on the Lord so that I can build a closer relationship with him, then I know I should use the SMART method to refine that goal. Otherwise I risk not fulfilling my goal. When going through a goal setting process, I often find that I begin to set “mini-goals” in order to accomplish the larger task.
For instance, my larger goal is that I want to have a stronger relationship with God.
My mini goals, that will assist with attaining the larger goal, could include:
– Specific Bible reading plans
– Planning prayer times
– Making corporate worship a priority
– Stretching myself in personal study of the Bible
Each of those mini-goals can be tracked with the SMART method and lend themselves to the larger goal. Utilizing goal setting, specifically a method that showcases growth, allows for me to stay focused. No distractions…just focus.
I’m sure I’ll have to keep saying, “Focus, Emily, Focus,” but I’m happy to know I can redirect that focus back to something very specific.
Will you join me in “focusing” this week?