Lost Your Focus? 3 Easy Changes to get back on Track
We all have a purpose designed uniquely for us. How do we know? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.”
Yes, we all have been given a purpose. And sometimes, we get distracted. The phone rings, emails buzz, and text messages ding. People enter our office in the middle of a project, children yell “Mom!”, “Dad!” when we are mid-letter, and parents walk in the room when we are researching for a report.
Sometimes our distractions come disguised as fear, worry, insecurity.
So, so many distractions. Some we can control; others we can’t. And honestly, some are much needed respites from the oh-so seriousness of the task at hand. (Yes, sometimes we just need a break!) But if we aren’t careful, the distractions can take us away from our focus and therefore de-rail us from the plan and purpose in which we have been entrusted.
How do we get back on track?
First, we should understand the difference between “Plan” and “Purpose.” Plan is defined as, “A method of acting, doing, proceeding and making developed in advance.” Whereas purpose is defined as, “The reason for which something exists or is done, an intended or desired result.”
Plan is a personal action whereas purpose declares the reason / result for our action.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
God has a purpose.
In His Word, God has shared (3) distinct purposed actions:
Reconciling the world to Himself in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19.)
Bring many sons and daughters to glory (Hebrews 2:10.)
Dwell among His people (Revelation 20:3.)
We all have a choice, to be part of God’s purpose (His Story.) And in this, God grants something very special, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps,” Proverbs 16:9. It is assumed that as Christians we have to abide by a strict set of “rules”; however, the one who reconciles us back to Himself did something extraordinary, He fulfilled the very law which we could never keep. Why? Well, to fulfill purpose #1. However, that does not leave us without anything to do. In fact, the importance becomes much greater to stay focused on the plans which lean into the purpose for which we are designed.
So when we get off track, I believe in 3 easy changes we can make to get back on track:
Commit (re-commit) to God’s purpose.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans,” Proverbs 16:3. Within God’s purpose He has made us part of His plan. And He allows us to make plans with Him as the foundation. When we commit to His purpose, our plans naturally align with His. Remember Romans 8:28? “God works ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him.” His love becomes our love, His purpose becomes our purpose, and His will becomes our will. We begin to desire obedience rather than consider it a responsibility.
This isn’t without effort, however. To align with the Will of God means that we must first know His will which requires a relationship. Reading His Word allows us to know Him and to be near to His Heart. Prayer allows us to communicate and hear His Voice.
So what does this change look like?
As we awake, pray for God’s wisdom to guide our path. Ask Him to help as we establish our plan for the day, to give us the strength and focus to complete that which He has for us to do. Then read His Word for guidance on facing challenges in our day. Commit to this action every day.
Discipline yourself to follow a plan as you align with The Holy Spirit.
Any successful business has a business plan. If you have ever been part of a construction team, you know what a building plan looks like. Even losing weight requires a plan to be successful. Why should life be any different? Do you have dreams, goals, even bucket list items? Develop a plan.
How do I make a plan?
First, sit down and write down the things you want to accomplish, short and long term. Pray for discernment, then make a list of the tasks which need to be performed for the plans to reach fruition.
Focus on one at a time, remember it’s a journey not a sprint.
When making a plan, consider the intangible as well. Sometimes we forget these, but we have been promised the fruits of the Holy Spirit. "These include love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control," Galatians 5:22-23. And while they are gifts of the Spirit, tucked in a verse a little further up, we are instructed to “Walk by the Spirit.”
Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you with these gifts daily, keeping you focused on accepting them and living a life disciplined to finish the race. Pray that He will give you strength to persevere which will make you mature and complete.
Find others to hold you accountable.
"Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed," Proverbs 15:22. A godly mentor is worth more than gold. A group of people who encourage you to reach further and go deeper is greater than any self-help book you will ever find. With these, share your plans as they develop.
How do I do this?
Join a Small Group of others who have similar goals. Ask others to walk alongside you and hold you accountable to the short term goals you have set. Find a mentor who will push you to meet objectives toward the short and long term goals. Prepare yourself for honesty and vulnerability. What will it take? How are you doing? Be prepared to answer the hard questions. Accountability pushes you to finish well.
Finally, breathe. Don’t stress if you miss a checkpoint. Just get up and try again. Psalm 139 tells us that, “All of the days were ordained for me, written in your book before one of them came to be.” What it doesn’t say, “If you fail to go to this college or obtain this degree you will never fulfill the purpose I have designed for you.” God knows our choices before we even make them, not because He is a puppeteer forcing our choices, but because He stands outside of space and time and knows all before it even happens. When we choose badly, He guides us to the next checkpoint. Sometimes we may take a detour, but I believe this to be part of the journey. Romans 8:28 bears repeated "God works ALL THINGS good...", yes even our bad choices.
Through these (3) easy changes, 1- Committing to God’s purpose, 2- Disciplining ourselves to follow a plan aligned with the Holy Spirit and 3- connecting with others to hold us accountable, we can re-align our focus toward the purpose we were designed. And the beauty of this roadmap is that if we get off track, we can recommit to get back on. God's purpose will prevail and we have the honor of riding along on the journey as He brings us to glory and one day will dwell with us forever.
You were made for such a time as this.
Father, thank You for the purpose you have placed in each of our hearts. Thank You for the power of The Holy Spirit, the gifts He provides and for the counsel of those who have been placed in our path to help us on our journey. Father, we ask that you align us to your will and re-focus our energies on the purpose and plan you have designed uniquely for us.
In Jesus’ Name