Thus far we’ve admonished dreamers and creators to “Write the vision and make it clear” (Habakkuk 2:2 GW — as discussed in the first session of Boot Camp); ask God for His help and guidance; devise a plan or strategy; execute the plan; manage time effectively; count the costs; and be willing to stand alone if necessary. These steps facilitate the creative process, and are vital to achieving big (God-sized) dreams. Here’s another step that’s just as important:
We live in a fast-paced, often hectic world — at the height of the Information Age. Vying for our attention, in addition to occupational demands and the needs of friends and family, are countless electronic distractions, such as video games and social media websites. If we want to realize our dreams, or accomplish something worthwhile, we’ll need to minimize these distractions and stay focused on our main objectives.
Focus: to concentrate one’s interest and/or activity on a particular goal or pursuit.
How do you stay focused? Each morning, after spending quiet time with the Lord, followed by meeting daily responsibilities and fulfilling any outstanding obligations, you then apply your remaining time and energy to the pursuit of your dreams and creative endeavors. Simple. Well, not always.
Distractions are always a mouse-click away, or lurking within the TV or the smart phone. One false move and you can find yourself transported to the near future, looking back and wondering how you managed to waste so much valuable time. However, we can safeguard against these distractions (and hence, maximize our free time) by staying organized and maintaining a “Things-to-Do List.”
We recently heard from a fellow dreamer who lamented the loss of his mornings (a precious and particularly creative time of day). He had the habit of switching on the news each morning, to catch up on important social and political issues. A worthy activity; but he’d always end up getting sucked in — and before he knew it, he’d wasted several precious hours (and was no closer to achieving his goals).
Like many of our fellow dreamers, and most creative people, we have far too many interests. We live in an endlessly fascinating world, and we genuinely love people. In fact, we’re into hospitality, and we love having guests over for food and fellowship. (We even wrote a book on the topic of hospitality, The Heart of an Angel, available online wherever fine books are sold; and that, dear friends, is our shameless plug for the day.) Nonetheless, we generally remain focused.
If you’re multitalented, have tons of interests, and tend to be sociable, staying focused will be a constant challenge.
- You’ll need to evaluate your activities, carefully weigh your choices, and be on your guard for unnecessary activities that can eat up your time but give nothing in return.
- You’ll occasionally need to re-read your “vision” (the goals and dreams you committed to paper), and frequently review your plans.
- To stay focused, you’ll also need to stick to ONE project at a time. If you’re called to write, then spend your time writing. If you want to be a concert pianist, then stay away from the tuba. Don’t be a “jack-of-all-trades but master of none.”
- Use one gifting at a time — or at least concentrate on one particular area of your gifts and talents.
Some dreams and creative endeavors require a number of gifts and talents; and some of these gifts and talents are interconnected or overlap. But if you try to succeed in more than one of them, chances are, you’ll fail in ALL of them. So, narrow your vision. Set your sights on the one thing that most excites you. Have a clear objective: aim for a bullseye, and you’ll increase your chances of hitting the target.
The Apostle Paul was both multitalented and extremely sociable — but he never allowed these characteristics to interfere with his main purpose in life. Despite numerous distractions, He made time to spread the Gospel across several provinces, and wrote most of the New Testament. How’d he do it? Paul writes, “…I focus on this one thing: …looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB) By the way, the apostle wrote these words while he was in prison.
What’s your “one thing”? Other than following Christ and leading a life that’s pleasing to God (these goals should be primary), what’s the one thing you feel you’re truly good at? What’s your great passion in life, your particular niche, your special assignment from the Lord?
Once you’ve answered these questions, and settled on your own unique purpose and destiny in life — your “one thing” — write it down. Then focus upon it and press forward to obtain it. And whenever fear and doubt assail you, read the words you wrote regarding your vision (this one thing) — as well as the numerous promises of God, which support it.
As we approach Resurrection Sunday (Easter), we’re reminded that when Jesus Christ walked the earth in human form, He never lost sight of His “one thing”: that He was to be crucified for the sins of the world — thereby becoming our Passover lamb — in order to redeem us and to restore our relationship with God the Father.
Jesus (or Yeshua) lived a sinless life, during which He taught and fed the multitudes, healed the sick, raised the dead, and demonstrated God’s infinite Love for humanity. Our Lord did all this and more, but His focus always remained on the Cross that lay at the end of His sojourn on earth. Christ said, “…It is for this [very] purpose that I have come to this hour [this time and place].” (John 12:27 AMP)
Follow our Lord’s example. Stay focused … on your dreams and on your faith! “We must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 GW)
And lest we forget, here’s one last thought: Three days after His sacrificial death on a Roman cross, God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, rose from the grave: “The women [who discovered His empty tomb] were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men [angels in disguise] asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee…?'” (Luke 24:5-6 NLT)
Yes, He is risen! Have a joyous Resurrection Sunday and a blessed time of Passover!