focus

What You Focus On Draws You In

Nathan Smith Life Skills, Relationships

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Have you ever caught yourself looking at a billboard while you were driving and found yourself start to drift into the next lane as result?  You didn’t mean to, it just happened because you were looking that direction while cruising down the road.  As simple as it seems, our lives work very similarly.  What you focus on draws you in.  That can either be the best of things or the worst of things.  It all depends on the virtue and value of what you are focusing on and the intentionality with which you direct your attention.  Depending on your emotional state or attitude you can tend to focus on the positive side of things or the negative.  It can lead you into a state of encouragement or depression.  And in a world of micro-second attention spans and diminishing ability to focus on any one thing for any amount of time, this can leave you feeling scattered if you aren’t careful.  So what does this all mean and what should we do about it?

Focused thought and attention are powerful forces.  But those forces are morally neutral.  Like money, it is neither good nor bad.  It simply takes on the characteristics of the one wielding its power.  You can focus your attention on how your wife never seems to compliment you enough which will cause you to be discouraged and frustrated with her lack.  Or you can focus on how hard she works to love and care for the family by providing a lovely, inviting environment at home, cooked meals and constant support for you and the children.  Both things may be true in a given situation but the quality of your experience will be determined by what you are drawn into thinking about most and meditating on deepest.  And that will be determined by what you focus on.  Can we be honest about something though?  More often than not it is the negative aspects of a persons character or of a situation we are facing that tends to get the majority of our attention.  Anyone want to guess where that leads?  It leads to being drawn into the worst thoughts about people and circumstances causing us to be grumpy, discouraged, frustrated and hurt.  But does it have to be that way? (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Drowning In Our Own Judgement’)

Let’s Hear It For The Home Team

My family and I live in the greater Charlotte area of North Carolina.  As such, we love to cheer for our home teams the Carolina Panthers and the Charlotte Hornets.  We are true fans, meaning we support our teams when they are winning and when they are losing.  We are truly hopeless to talk to if you want to criticize our football or basketball teams because we just love them.  For every dismal stat you can provide about their records or their lack of talent at a given time we are quick to highlight the great players we do have, the potential in the team as a whole and all the great things we love about them.  The truth is, all the stats and negative aspects that someone could share with us may be 100% accurate.  The difference is those are not the things we are focused on.  So what causes us to be able to focus on the good, encouraging aspects or our home teams?  It’s simple.  We live here.  We are invested here. And we love those that represent the place we love.  Truly, the secret ingredient to focusing on the best aspects of a person or circumstance is love. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Same Storm, Different View’)

When you love something or someone you will gravitate towards focusing on their best attributes or qualities.  You can see this in your own life when you stop and consider your attitude towards the people or things you love most.  Sure, you see flaws and notice things that need improvement but your overall attitude towards those things are positive and hope-filled.  And that is the real issue. You are not ignoring flaws or problems, they are just not your central focus nor what you are drawn to think about most.  So why aren’t we this way with more people or circumstances?  The truth is, we just don’t love them very much.  The Apostle Peter brings clarity to this idea when he says ‘Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8 NIV).’  When we love the people around us or the place we work or the community we live in we will focus on their best attributes most.  And the more we focus on their best the more we are drawn into loving them through the challenging times.  The depth of our love covers the imperfections present. (Click Here To Read My Post ‘There’s Beauty In The Beast’)

Life is hard, people are difficult, work can be overwhelming and society is crazy.  All of these things can be true and yet not be what we are drawn to dwell upon.  When you fall in love with the place you live, the people you work with, the church you attend and the friends you have your life will be the envy of all.  Why? Because your property value is so high or your status is recognized by so many?  No. Because you love so well that all you can see is the beauty and value in the faces and places you are blessed to know. That is a wonderful place to live and an amazing group of people to be around.  The truth is, you’re there right now.  Can you see it yet? (Click Here To Read My Post ‘Fall In Love With What You Have’)

From The Bible

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – I Peter 4:8 NIV 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 NIV  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – I Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV

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