In my post last week, I discussed how we are being pulled in many directions and it’s easy to lose sight of our priorities.
Rather than choosing to cultivate feelings of sadness, madness, or guilt, God would have us choose to pursue our faith, our family, and to focus on the opportunities that God has made us for.
However, what do you do if you are struggling to focus?
Have you ever felt or said, “I just can’t focus right now?” It’s not just you; we can all be easily distracted.
Particularly in crazy seasons, the discipline of focused thinking will keep us moving in productive directions and preserve our energy to pursue what really matters.
Focus on These Things
Philippians 4:8 is a verse that we use often as counselors to remind those we counsel about where they need to direct their focus.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)”
Do your thoughts and priorities line up with this list? These are the kinds of things that should receive our focus and attention.
Focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
Consider how Paul was living in the midst of personal and political unrest, and he challenges us to keep our thoughts focused. He challenges us to pursue thoughts that are different than the world around us: thoughts that remember Jesus is Lord and God is not sleeping. Specifically, he points us to pursue thoughts that reflect God’s character because ultimately our thoughts will shape our character.
Unfortunately, much of what dominates our culture is currently not focused on these priorities.
I am not advocating for burying our heads in the sand, but too often our thinking fails to reflect how the hope of Jesus is shaping our priorities. We can get consumed with the darkness around us and fail to be the light God wants us to be.
If we want to focus our thinking during this season, we will have to be convinced that God is in control and we are not. We will choose to shut off our phones, avoid unnecessary debates, and choose to spend time doing what brings glory to God.
How are you doing lately at bringing glory to God and reflecting his character? You will flounder if you don’t discipline your thinking to focus on what is good.
Our culture will spend much of the rest of the year focused on the negative and on what is going wrong around us. You will experience more joy and peace if you choose to focus on things that remind you of the goodness of God and the hope we have in Him.
If you don’t have Phillipians 4:8 memorized, I would challenge you to spend some time memorizing this verse and evaluate your thoughts next to the principles it teaches.