The Focus Factor

“The person who chases two rabbits catches neither.” – Confucius or Romanian Proverb

About two months ago, I left my job despite the fact that I didn’t have another one lined up. It was a great company, and although many would say it doesn’t make sense to do something like that, I can’t say it was a hard decision because there were so many factors pushing me to do so.  Despite my happiness with my decision, unfortunately, I haven’t found a job yet.

The job search has been interesting and educational, to say the least.  Honestly, the first month I was just glad to sleep at night on a regular basis (I worked the overnight shift) and didn’t focus on much besides subscribing to job boards and updating my age-old resume. The second month I began to realize that I really want to write and decided that any job that afforded me the opportunity to write about interesting topics was a winner.  I purchased a subscription to a jobs website that published writing jobs and a variety of writing gigs every day.  I soon realized that almost all of the jobs required writing samples of which I didn’t have many relevant ones.

I made it a goal to write articles every week, but unfortunately, I didn’t.  I got distracted with reading emails from the multiple job boards I had subscribed to and even applied to a few jobs that I really didn’t like.  I applied to temp agencies and other temporary jobs and if I learned one thing, it is that job searching takes time!

Thankfully, I recently listened to a podcast by Terri Savelle Foy that has changed my whole perspective on job seeking.  During the podcast, Terri talked about focusing on one goal until it is achieved.  As I said earlier, I didn’t have any relevant writing samples with which to apply to any of the writing jobs, so I didn’t.  What I was doing was reading emails from multiple job websites that honestly didn’t even have the types of job I was looking for.  When I realized how much time I was wasting, I unsubscribed to all but one job board. That left me time to do what matters–write.

In that podcast, Terri also referred to a former publisher of “Success” magazine. The publisher said that many people want to know what those who have appeared on the cover of “Success” magazine have done that 7 billion people haven’t done and the answer is in one word—focus!

“They are so obsessively focused to doing one thing at a time,” she said.

The former publisher also interviewed Warren Buffet and asked him, “If you could boil your success to one thing, what would it be?” His answer was that for every 100 great opportunities that are brought to him, he says “no” 99 times.

This podcast has helped me tremendously to get focused on what I WANT to do to earn income instead of what I CAN do or what is AVAILABLE to do.  My Father wants to give me these type of opportunities. He asks me what I want to do.  Jesus Himself even asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)

What do you want God to do in your life? What is the one thing you need to FOCUS on to reach your next goal?  I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to direct you and help you to reach it.

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Leave the (Mouse) Trap Out

About two months after moving into our home in Virginia, my daughter spotted a mouse while sitting in my office upstairs.
My husband broke the news to me and I wanted to make sure she wasn’t just seeing things.
“Did you actually see a mouse or something out the corner of your eye?” I hoped.
“Ok, could it have been a big bug?”  I inquired. “Maybe you were just sleepy.”
All of my attempts to reason away the possibility of a mouse being in my house, not to mention MY office, were dismissed.
My husband clearly let me know that getting rid of this mouse was my job.  After all, I had ridded our home of an entire family of these rodents when he was deployed to Afghanistan several years prior.
I was not going to allow a mouse to live in my house, so I promptly set two traps–one in the attic and one in the kitchen– where I too had seen a mouse late one night.
One afternoon after walking up the stairs to get sleeping bags for a camping trip, what do I see,  a slain mouse!  I was so excited!
The second trap in the kitchen didn’t prove to be so successful.  I was discouraged after waking up several mornings to an empty mousetrap.  I figured that it was not secluded enough, so I moved it from the kitchen to underneath the stairs in the garage and forgot about it.
Several days (or weeks) later, my daughter was putting on her shoes and said, “Mom, we caught a mouse.”
I was so shocked that I went to look myself and surely, dominion had occurred again!  I was thrilled!
Afterwards, my mind went to prayer.  I thought about how often we pray prayers and forget about them.  The Bible says that before we ask, God will answer (Isaiah 65:24). Our Father intimately knows our thoughts and desires and He wants to give us what we truly want.
This brings me to a desire I had several years ago while my husband was still in the Army.  I had heard of a few people’s wonderful experiences with being stationed in Germany. While speaking with a friend who spoke of the unity shared among her friends while she was in Germany, I exclaimed out loud, “I want to go to Germany too!”
I never remember praying about it, but the Lord heard me and knew my desire.  A few years later my husband comes home and tells me that we had an opportunity to go to Germany. We took it, and we went! It took me by surprise and it definitely happened a lot sooner than I had expected.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to live overseas.
Getting back to leaving the trap out, although I didn’t intentionally pray about going to Germany,  I’m so glad that I didn’t negate my desire with words of discouragement, doubt or unbelief.
“Oh well, we’ll probably never go to Germany. We are just not that lucky.”
No, “I left the trap out,” and “caught” my answer to prayer.  The Bible says for a man that wavers in his mind not to expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-8).  In other words, if he believes one day and doubts the next, he won’t receive anything.  It also says that whatsoever things we ask in prayer, believe that we will receive them and we will (Matthew 21:22).
New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson said in his book, The Circle Maker, that our prayers are like our tears that God collects in His bottle (Psalm 56:8).  He wrote:
“Your life is in His hands, and your prayers are in His bottle. And like a message in a bottle, your prayers are carried by the current of His sovereign will. When and where they will land no one knows. But those bottled prayers will be unsealed in God’s time, in God’s way.”
This encourages me tremendously! God wants to answer our prayers, but we must believe that He wants to give us the desires of our hearts that are in accordance to His will.  We must not let negative thoughts and words keep us from receiving what God wants us to have.  Sometimes it takes a lot of work, and sometimes it just takes us putting the prayer out and later catching the mouse.

It’s Snowing!

The weather forecast promised it. My daughter prayed for it and now, it was finally here…SNOW!  I sat on the couch in my office savoring the last moments of my morning quiet time. I knew it wouldn’t be long before my youngest daughter would come in, speak excitedly about the snow and, you guessed it…ask me to play with her in it.

“I don’t really like the cold so I’m doing this for you,” I reminded her as I bundled up. There was about six inches of puffy, dry snow on the ground.  After a couple of cartwheels in the snow and jumps on the trampoline, we went back in and I suggested a walk.  My daughter agreed and recommended the playground. We hadn’t even reached the main road when she suggested that we go back home.

“Are you cold?” I asked, knowing the answer when a closer look told me that she wasn’t properly bundled up.

“Yes,” she answered, pulling me toward home.

As we walked back, I saw a few neighbor children playing in the snow. I thought about the hundreds of neighbors that remained in the comfort of their warm homes, enjoying the stay-at-home-and-go-nowhere-day.  Still others were already outside brushing the snow off their cars and shoveling the driveways. And, of course there were the complainers who were neither enjoying the snow or refusing to let it stop them.

This made me think about people in life regarding their relationships with Christ.  Many people are like those children, just thrilled to get out and experience something new and beautiful.  Unfortunately, without the guidance of their parents, many children would be ill-prepared to face the potential dangers of freezing precipitation. Even two of my middle-schooled aged daughters were preparing to go outside in…tennis shoes?  Don’t you think they would know better by now?  They needed the guidance and foresight of someone wiser to help them have a more pleasant experience.

When we embark upon a relationship with Christ, we really don’t have a clue what is ahead.  Without the guidance of pastors, the Bible, friends, and the Holy Spirit Himself, we are ill-prepared to take on the most important and life-altering journey of our lives.  We can’t do as my daughters did, wear tennis shoes and think that everything will be OK.  No, it requires a different type of mental and spiritual preparation to go at it and be successful.  Otherwise, we may find ourselves turning back to go “home” to the familiarity of life without Christ.

Despite the beauty and tranquility of a snowfall, there are many who simply do not like it.  It inconveniences them, makes them do extra work, and interrupts their plans.  Instead of taking some time to thank God for how He skillfully brought beauty to this aspect of weather, they spend precious words and energy complaining about it.  Neither admiring its beauty or tackling the challenge, they stay bound in the house, and miserable. Unfortunately, many neither admire the beauty of a genuine relationship with Christ, or take the leap to get involved to see what this life is all about.  It won’t always be convenient, but rest assured, it will profit  you the best rewards of peace, security, and joy this side of heaven.

If you haven’t surrendered your will to get in an authentic relationship with Christ, what’s holding you back? Those who woke up Saturday morning and got out the snow blowers and shovels received a far greater reward than those who chose to sit and complain.  They received the goal, the prize, of getting where they wanted to go.

Where do you want to go, not just after life, but during?  Do you want to go to Peaceful Highway? What about Forgiveness Street?  Security Lane seems wonderful and Companionship Road, Joy Boulevard and Guidance Terrace still have vacancies as well. Don’t complain about what is, what isn’t, or even what was, especially in someone else’s life.  Get out there and embrace your own relationship with God with all you have. Although it won’t always be easy, you can still rest and enjoy the beauty of His work in your life, as well as a cup of hot chocolate, any time you want.

 

 

 

Jesus and Trump: Dividers of the People

I am not a political person, would not normally write about politics, and care not to discuss politics outside of my family, but I was reading a verse of scripture one morning that directed my thoughts so clearly to this election that it was hard to ignore.

I am not a political person, would not normally write about politics, and care not to discuss politics outside of my family, but I was reading a verse of scripture one morning that directed my thoughts so clearly to this election that it was hard to ignore.

Here is the scripture:

John 7:12-13 (NIV) “Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him [Jesus]. Some said, ‘He is a good man.’ Others replied, ‘No, he deceives the people.’ But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.”

I thought that it was interesting that some said that Jesus was a “good” man while others felt He was a deceiver.  Clearly, He could not be both.  Although the scriptures do not clearly state this, but I believe that both groups of people saw the same miracles that Jesus performed with a pure heart.  How can one group of people perceive His good works as “good” and another as “deceiving?”  The answer, I believe, lies in the lenses one wears.

One teacher who regularly taught at the church I attended in Nashville said that we all wear proverbial lenses that affect what we believe, think, see and how we act and vote.  These lenses are formed based on our upbringing, culture, experiences and even our decisions.  In other words, two people can see the same blue sky and one with yellow tinted glasses could say, “Oh no, the sky is green.”

Transitioning to the upcoming election, I have heard the facts regarding Trump and Secretary Clinton and as a believer, my choice is clear. Aside from the legal allegations against Secretary Clinton, Trump wants to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the US.  This organization also provides partial  birth abortions.  Look up how this procedure is performed and you will see that this is murder. I appreciate the fact that Trump has pro-life views and wants to appoint and confirm pro-life judges. Trump also wants to protect biblical religious conscience and he supports school choice including private schools.

Personally I want to vote for the person who has some concern for the will of God.  Has he said some things in his past that he now regrets?  Who hasn’t? When voting, personality is often hailed or disdained, but I vote principles.  I have viewed Trump on CBN’s the 700 Club and heard him speak of his concerns for the unborn and his heart for prayer. I have heard his honest heart for America and have seen him receive prayer from true men of God with like beliefs and consciousness. These issues are important to me.

Facts are facts. The scriptures tell us that the people were “divided because of Jesus.”  If the people were divided because of Jesus, can we expect no less from a presidential candidate?  God’s people may be divided because of a candidate, but, after the elections, I believe we’ll come back together in prayer, in worship and in serving God.

Whether you vote for Trump or Secretary Clinton, you are still my brother or sister in Christ, if you believe in Jesus as your Savior. I do, however, like to present facts and allow facts to speak for themselves. Jesus said in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgement.” 

Only God can help us make a right judgement.