Accomplishing God’s will for your life is easier – and more enjoyable! – when you know how to stay focused on what God wants you to do. It’s so tempting to be distracted by all the bells, whistles and squirrels in daily life…but those bells, whistles and squirrels are loud, shallow and empty.
In How to Focus on What Really Matters in Your Life I offer three tips for finding your purpose and staying on course until you achieve your goals. This article is different – and not just because I’ve learned so much in the past two years. These three ways to stay focused are based on what God wants you to do with your life, not what you want to do.
The good news is that God wants you to do what you want to do! God created you for a purpose, with specific abilities, interests, talents, gifts and predispositions. You are naturally wired to achieve certain things, be a particular type of person (your unique self), and run the race God set out before you. The bad news is that you’re easily distracted by people, places and pets. But wait, I have good news!
The good news is that you can learn how to stay focused on what God wants you to do – whether you’re a college student trying to stay focused on your studies or a writer trying to focus on writing blog posts to further God’s Kingdom.
More good news is that it’s easier and more fun than you think to find and follow God’s purpose for your life! Discovering and maintaining single-minded focus is what Jesus modeled when he was here on earth. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, who poured wisdom, discipline, strength, grace and power into his life. The Holy Spirit – Ruach – wasn’t just for Jesus and his disciples. The Holy Spirit is here for you right now, eager and willing to give you different ways to stay focused on what God wants for your life.
How to Stay Focused on What God Wants You to Do
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. Now more than halfway through Exodus, I’m starting to see how God interacts with His children. I’m learning how brave, courageous, and single-minded people like Moses, Joseph, Abraham and Sarah were.
And I’m learning that those ancient Hebrew children of God were just like me and you. They had the same emotions, thoughts, fears and struggles. They, too, struggled to stay focused on what God wanted them to do. And – despite their flaws, failures and weaknesses – they accomplished God’s will. Not because they were strong or perfect, but because God is.
1. Pay attention to the details
Exodus 26 focuses on the smallest, most intricate details of God’s tabernacle. Skilled craftsmen and artisans had to sew, carve, cut, hammer, construct, create and build tables, lampstands, curtains, veils, cherubim – not to mention the Ark of the Covenant! Exodus 26 is one of a series of chapters detailing how intricate, specific, and ornate God’s sanctuary was to be. Where did these ideas come from? God showed Moses, perhaps through a vision or dream, exactly what His tabernacle should look, smell, feel and taste like. Moses not only saw every detail, he stayed focused on what God wanted him to do. Moses didn’t let other people’s opinions, complaints or actions change his direction or prevent him from accomplishing what God wanted him to do.
How do you let the details slip? Perhaps God has given you a specific plan or vision for your life, such as going to nursing school, traveling the world in a camper van, training for the Olympics, or simply surviving the day in hospice, prison or a refugee camp. What details do you knowingly allow to slip? How do you let people, places or pets distract your focus and hinder your plans? One of the most important ways to stay focused on what God wants you to do is to pay attention to the little details that don’t seem to matter. My friend, you and I are those little details…and we matter more than anything to Jesus. We matter so much that he chose to die for us.
2. Gain strength from those who have gone before you
Writing through Genesis and Exodus isn’t just showing me who God is and how He relates to His people. I’m learning how these people – God’s chosen children – struggled to stay focused on what God wanted them to do. They were often confused, bewildered, scared and even angry. They wandered, made mistakes, and ignored or misunderstood God’s call on their lives. They didn’t know Jesus or have the glorious Holy Spirit to lead them on. They had Moses, Joseph, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…but those men were nothing in comparison to who we have today: Jesus and the Holy Spirit! And yet they were faithful. Exodus 26 is just a glimpse of how focused Moses was, how single-mindedly determined he was to build God’s tabernacle and do what God wanted him to do.
Who do you gain strength, encouragement, and inspiration from? Finding the strength you need to continue involves other people. They don’t have to be sitting beside you, working with you, or aware you exist. What they know and think about you doesn’t matter. What does matter is how you see them. Take Mary of Bethany, for example. I gain so much hope, inspiration, strength and courage when I remember how she anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil – she never once looked up to see what people were thinking or saying about her! She simply stayed focused on what God wanted her to do. I gain strength, hope and courage by remembering her.
3. Admit who is holding you back
Never once did Moses mention being tired, disheartened, frustrated or angry in Exodus 26. He didn’t talk about fear, fatigue, discouragement, or even the challenges that must have arisen during the building of the tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, sacrificial altar and sacred veils. Moses wasn’t preoccupied with how he looked, what he said, or who responded in what way. On the contrary, Moses simply stayed focused on what God wanted him to do. I suspect the Israelites had questions at the very least about Moses’ plans and vision for God’s tabernacle. I’m sure people wondered why Moses was spending so much money and resources on these buildings, items, and symbols. And yet he stayed focused on what God wanted him to do.
Who or what is holding you back from focusing on what God wants you to do? Make a list of 10 people, things, circumstances or problems that are preventing you from accomplishing God’s plans for your life. You can stop writing when you come to your own self. You are your biggest obstacle, problem, and source of criticism! Nobody is sitting on you, forcing you to look away from your goals and dreams. Nobody is chaining you down, preventing you from focusing on what God wants you to do. The only person holding you back is you. And now is the time to focus single-mindedly on the only source of strength, power, courage, freedom and peace that will help you stay focused on accomplishing God’s plans for your life: the Holy Spirit.
May you find hope, courage, strength and focus as you move forward into God’s plans in your life. I pray you lean on the Holy Spirit for wisdom, Jesus for freedom, and God for power. I pray you find like-minded folk to walk forward with you, and that you experience the joy of learning what it means to get and stay focused on what God wants you to do with your life.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you.” – Deuteronomy 3:16.
With His love,
P.S. Do you tend to overanalyze and overthink things? Read An Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will.