Focus will Bring the Victory

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Focus…

What has yours?

This time of year it is easy to be wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of family gatherings, company parties, church dinners, gift and cookie exchanges. Although these may all be wonderful blessings, who has time to focus on 0 to 5 or be mindful about eating? (If we are honest, we know it takes even less time to eat 0 to 5 than to blow off our boundaries!) When we stop to acknowledge the reason the culture all around us has changed its pace (and will again on December 25th), we become keenly aware that the One Who loves us most calls to us…

 “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

In the middle of the chaos, craziness, and crunched schedules, can we still our hearts and take a deep breath? Can we turn our hearts–our focus–to the One who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17)? Can we whisper a quick prayer acknowledging His Presence in our midst?

Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.

Psalm 42:7

When we neglect these moments of stolen, reverent silence before our God, we are like a tourist taking a photograph through a telephoto lens that is auto-focused on a rock instead of on the historic fort in the distance.  The photo has become all about the rock while what matters most is all a blur. The focus is off.

 There are some things that this world was never meant to satisfy. The King of the Universe has created a God-shaped hole in our souls (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and only He can adequately fill that hole.

Not more busy-ness.

Not more stuff.

Not more food.

Not more of being the “hostess-with-the-mostest.”

He wants to infuse our lives with His joy and His peace. His peace passes understanding and His joy is boundless even in the middle of any holiday crisis, mall traffic jam, or burned-ham fiasco! But we do need to quiet our hearts and minds–cease from spinning with the what-ifs and maybe-sos–to recognize Him and welcome the peace and joy He promises (John 14:27; John 15:11). We need to be intentional with our focus to seize the victory He has in mind for us!

A practical way to do this is to set a watch or phone timer to go off every couple of hours. When the alarm sounds, it serves as a reminder to turn our thoughts in a Godward direction: “Thank you for this moment. I am so grateful that You are mindful of me, Lord.” “Lord, I need you right now. Please help me with this project.” “Thank you for the festive lights decorating the boulevard, Jesus! They remind me that You are the light of the world!” “Please be with that shopper who looked so sad, Lord.” “Thank you that you are my good Shepherd and you lead me beside still waters, even on this freeway!”

Doing this regularly has trained me to be more mindful that Jesus is with me even when I don’t use a timer. Jesus is with me through the white elephant gifts, secret Santa shopping, when I am stuck in a storm in gridlock traffic, and when I collapse in a hot bath at the end of the day. And He is with me when I eat before I am at a 0, yell at the kids or cut in front of the rude lady in line at Target.

I know that especially in those moments I can be still and know He is God. His peace and joy will bring all the rest of life into complete and perfect focus and help me submit my will to Him in those more harried moments. Will I quiet my heart and mind and focus on what really matters for a few moments? Will you?

What About You?

What can you do (practically) to regain your focus through the holiday season? Try it and share with us in the comments how God blesses these sacred moments with His Presence.

Image of Thin Within Book CoverEnd the year on a positive note. Be intentional to bring some focus to the rest of your 2015 by joining our study of the Thin Within trade book starting on November 30th (Monday). We will read the Thin Within book in record time, pray for one another and share our victories and challenges! We will finish by January 1st. Visit our Online Classes page and sign up for the Thin Within book study. We would love to have you!  This is especially helpful if you couldn’t quite manage the 12 week workbook class. 🙂 This is only 33 days. We can *do* that! 🙂

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4 Responses to Focus will Bring the Victory

  1. pat strough November 28, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    I want to join

  2. Tammy Williams November 28, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Heidi…I “literally” ordered the hard copy of Barbs 30 day devotional and should have it by Monday! I would absolutely “love” to join the study group with you all! Please let me know what to do! This is NO coincidence in my life!

    • Heidi Bylsma November 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi, Tammy. If you don’t mind, friend request me at Facebook so I can add you to the class. http://www.facebook.com/HeidiBylsma Oh…and be sure to mention TFT 🙂

  3. Rhonda Creech November 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    What a great idea. I so need to be reminded of the Lord at this busy time of the year. Even though it’s about Him, sometimes I fall into the Martha syndrome. Setting my watch is a great idea.

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