This article was written by Jennifer Maggio and published by Crosswalk
There are times in our lives where we are overwhelmed, unappreciated, and tried of dealing with so much. These are the times in our life when we need to stop and refocus. In order to refocus – you must first figure out what you are focusing on. There are times in our lives, different seasons where life ebbs and flows, and of course, based on the age of our children and the season we are in, some things deserve more of our attention and focus than other times. However, there are things that I’ve identified are focus-stealers. They are things that have no place in our lives, yet we give far too much attention to them.
1. Comparison — We are so busy worried about what somebody else has, does, sees, or gets, that we can’t stay in our own lane. Comparison steals our joy. It robs us of gratitude. How can you be thankful for what God’s done in your life when you’re so busy looking over to the left. Comparison causes division. Be thankful someone else is getting blessed. But we so busy looking left & right, we can’t see what God’ wants to do with us. God can’t bless us because we won’t be faithful with this little thing. Maybe Sally across over here already has been faithful with her little.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Gal. 6:4-5
We’ll even have nerve enough to wrap comparison in a prayer request.
I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Phil. 4:11-12
Comparison does nothing but leave you miserable.
2. Social Media — We’re more concerned with followers than true friends. We’re walking zombies, scrolling through cell phones, wondering what somebody else is doing. We’re more concerned with status updates that sanctification. We’re more concerned with the perfect selfie than we are about serving others. We’re more worried about what everyone else is doing and who they are doing it with than understanding that we’re supposed to busy about our Father’s business.
We don’t value the art of conversation, the joy of sun shining on our face on a beautiful spring day, or the freedom of holding hands with our children. Often, we can’t put down technology for fear we will miss something. Meanwhile, we miss life. There’s always a new project – whether ministry or work or school- related. There’s always a task to be accomplished. We’ve lost a sense of self and the meaning of life.
3. Status — We’re busy pursuing platforms, prestige, climbing the corporate ladder, our marital status, if someone will give us a handclap, if we can achieve a certain level of financial success, if someone will hand us a microphone, that’s when it becomes our focus.
When a thing becomes the thing, it’s the wrong thing.
4. Sin — Sexual immorality, addiction, indulgence. We’re full of compromise, chasing a counterfeit that leaves us empty, broken, disappointed….., and then we repeat it again. We will go through life on spiritual highs. We’re fired up for Jesus for about a day. And then the world gets to us, the bills come due and we’re right back to the same sin.
Jesus came that you may have an abundant life.
He didn’t come just for you to be saved. That would’ve been enough that he was nailed to a cross for what you and I would do, 200 years later. That would’ve been enough. But he said I came that you may live free – wide-open, expansive, abundant lives. Why would you be so easily entangled with a mess?
We have to understand that too many of us – believers, Christians, church folks — are the ones coming into church looking to be entertained. We don’t’ come in expecting. We come in looking for somebody to sing the perfect song or deliver the perfect Word.
What is life? What are we supposed to focus on?
Living is about being sold out for Christ. It’s about not caring who calls you a holy roller. It’s about a pure heart. It’s about serving that homeless man a warm meal. It is looking a friend in the eye as they share their heart and soul. It is holding the hand of a loved one. Living is about laughing, when your children laugh. It’s about grace and joy and forgiveness, and tears. It is feeling and doing. It is resting. It is being fully present in every moment. It is knowing the depth of the love of a Heavenly Father that created you for his enjoyment. And the best way to honor that Father is by fully living, each day, in the glory of his honor and name.
Be thankful Poem
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something,
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times, you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
Are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
And they can become your blessings.