How to lose Focus (or not)

The big rocks–how can I keep them at the forefront of my day? How can I avoid getting off on rabbit trails and dead-end streets?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I have . . . often.

The Dream Into It program keeps me heading in the right direction, but the daily working out of it can be circuitous. There is always something, isn’t there?

Part of the DIIP is the Battle On Plan (BOP). It is a tool that works like this:

I look back to the past 24 hours to see whether or not I have learned anything about the journey. Did something I do work well? Where there problems? Where there times when I behaved or performed poorly? If something comes to mind, I make note of it. First, I briefly describe the situation. Then, the lesson, using // (hash marks) to separate them.

Looking back over my BOP entries for the past few months, I see a recurring theme–a tendency to stray off track. How does that happen? My BOP reveals the top three traps I get caught up in:

1. Lust: Not necessarily a sexual thing. Lust is “strong desire.” The tricky part of this battle is that strong desire is a good thing–it can pull me down the path I need to follow. But it can also pull me down the road to ruin. Wisdom would have me consider my actions before I indulge, to look ahead and see where the path leads. One of my primary lusts, for instance, is root beer. I love the stuff. I crave it often. When I drink it, though, I suffer. Too much sugar. Carbonation. God knows what else is in there… and it messes with my digestion. Gives me a hangover. Drags me down and out. There is no value in root beer, for me. Why do I sometimes still drink it? Lust. // The answer: Remember the reality of how root beer affects my system. Think before I drink. Take good, pure water with me to the restaurant. Never keep it in the house.

2. Forgetting who I am and where I’m going. This is a central theme in the DIIP. If I don’t know where I’m headed, then I’ll almost surely end up somewhere else. Even though I consider my Dream daily, and I purposely advance in that direction, I can still get lost along the way. I can still lose focus. Some days, it’s a jungle out there. There are roots and vines and tangles grabbing at me from every direction. Fires to put out, chores to accomplish, bills to pay. // The cure for this one is to not lose sight–and when I do begin to get disoriented, to Stop/Look/Listen–to take time to remember again. I am a man of God. I am about His work. There is no rush, no shortage of supplies.

3. Trying to run the show for others: When I get caught up in your story, I step out of my own. Trying (notice the “trying”) to call your shots is a sure way to miss my own target. I can pray for you. I can offer you (hopefully by your request) my best advice–but I can’t live for you, and you can’t live for me. We are captains of our own ships, masters of our own souls (Invictus), and that is that. // The way out? Remember that A) It is impossible for me to live your life. I can only live mine, and B) Remember that most folks really don’t want to hear about solutions. They likely don’t even believe that solutions are possible. They only want to talk about their problems, to share the misery. To affirm how unfair life is. To spew out some venom. Why is that? Bitterness and fear are at the root. It’s a crucial subject and a whole other can of worms–it has to do with how to LIVE. Before we can make effectual change in our lives, we must confront the inner critic. We must deal with the voice that loves to tell us how awful we are, how bad we’ve got it, and how impossible our situation is. We must learn to LIVE

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Say you can, or say you can’t–either way: you are right.

Life ain’t easy, my friends . . . but it is possible. It is possible, not just to survive, but to LIVE. It is possible to regain the excitement of a child, the faith of a child–but to do that, we need to become like children. We need to make peace with the hurtful past and move on to a better future. We need to be teachable . . . and we need to trust our Father.

May the Creator of us all bless and keep you this day and every day. May your Dreams come true.

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