As I mentioned in a previous post, I began an official journey with One Little Word in 2014 with the word “Focus.” General focus, I discovered on this journey, seems to be one of the areas where I don’t have an issue. Focusing on what God would like me to focus on, however, turns out to be an entirely different matter. It was in this area that my college major changed its emphasis and I discovered my true passion— productivity and performance improvement. It also showed me that there were many areas of my life where my focus wandered into the truths of the world and away from God’s truths.
Truth: I love all things about productivity and performance improvement.
Reality: I am not always productive.
Perhaps some people believe reality negates the truth and makes me a failure. Or does it? The fact that I love productivity means that I continue to learn and grow in that area.
Perhaps my productivity sometimes misses the mark, but my productivity is greater than it was a week ago, a month ago, and definitely a year ago. After all, I have learned more about productivity and put the things I have learned into action, write about it, and share the information with others. I find it intriguing that when I consider my area of study and expertise I don’t view my lack of knowledge or ability as me being a failure. Instead I view it as a new opportunity for increased knowledge and I strive to do greater.
Truth: Comparing myself to anyone other than Christ is counter-productive to my life.
Reality: I sometimes catch myself making comparisons.
While it makes sense that applying the same principles of my education and love of productivity to this truth and reality should work, I sometimes don’t. My mind understands the principle, yet when it comes to spiritual matters I often beat myself up. There have been times that as I found myself making comparisons, I chastised myself. I forgot the progress I had made and instead declared myself a failure.
I have worked hard to get rid of this “stinkin’ thinkin’” and yet I still stumble. Along my journey, I have discovered a new way. Not a perfect way, but an improved way. A way that keeps me focused on truth. A much more productive way of thinking. The only thing I have found that gets me out of this mindset is meditating on God’s word.
Truth: God’s word is truth.
Reality: All too often I believe Satan’s lies.
As a believer, if you have spent any amount of time in church then no doubt you understand the truth of God’s word. Verses I embrace tightly in my heart and have engraved on my skin as permanent reminders of these amazingly beautiful truths. The presence of these truths know no boundaries, except the times I allow Satan to whisper in my ear and tell me his sweet little lies.
I know better. Comparisons are such a tool of the enemy. I’m not sure why I allow myself to even go down the comparison road since it never leads anywhere fruitful. God does not intend this for my life. Making comparisons in no way resembles taking up the cross and following Christ. In fact, it just draws me away from the cross which delights the enemy.
Truth: God does not want me focused on others.
Reality: Focusing on other’s takes the focus off myself.
I love to read— fiction, non-fiction, classics, technical. You name and I probably read that genre. Several years ago I read The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis out loud to my children. The impact that a single line from this book made on my life is amazing.
Stick with me for a moment as I set the scene. The Shasta and Aslan share their first conversation in chapter 11. Aslan explains his constant presence despite Shasta ever realizing it. Shasta then realizes Aslan why something occurred with another character. To which Aslan replies:
“Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
Wow, just wow.
The internet didn’t create the idea of comparison. (Though, unfortunately, it makes the promotion of comparison much simpler.) It didn’t even begin with electronic media. Comparison was present before the New Testament and long before the Israelites were taken captive. It preceded Cane and Abel. It was that singe moment where the first sin occurred and Eve dared compared herself (in a very negative way) to God. Desiring something for herself that He had already warned her against. She desired a knowledge that He never intended for another to have besides Himself.
So when I dare make comparisons, I not only lose focus of His truths and promises, I am daring to know a story that is not my own. His desire for my (and your) life far exceeds the disillusionment we find when focusing on others. Instead, He desires for me (and you) to focus on building a relationship with Him.
What are some of the things you do to stay focused on His truths and avoid counter-productive thinking?
Brandi Webster hails from Texas. She’s been married over 20 years with four children whom she has homeschooled since 2000. She’s a Jesus girl who is addicted to all things coffee, books and hot Texas summers. She is passionate about productivity, organization, and performance improvement. She is constantly looking for ways to improve productivity at home, school, and work. Her goal is to inspire others to consider how effective they are in different areas of their life and try new ways to improve in order to achieve greater results. She blogs at www.BrandiWebster.com. Read Brandi’s posts here.