You want to live Wide Awake? You’re going to need to focus your energy, time, talent, gifts, abilities and vision in rhythm with God. I like the sound of that… “in rhythm with God”.
There are so many things to draw our attention. We need to operate in some ways through a view finder. The view finder blocks out the periphery and enables the director to focus on the key part of the story. There were 30 men in the room this morning and the analogy we used is that this equated to 30 needs, 30 stories, 30 places I could go into. But if I tried to speak into 30 hearts in a meaningful way today, it’d never happen. But if I hold up my hands in an improvised view finder and zero in on Gary or Ryan or Bill, then I can focus on him and concentrate my time and energy on his story, his need. It is the difference between a diffused light and a laser.
Morgan Snyder sent out a great blog post last week. In the periphery of his larger community there was a brewing relational problem. Morgan is a type-A, intense, “fix it now” guy and he was getting stirred up and his wife asked a simple question, “How much energy do you want to give to this?” Because, after all, we have a limited amount of time/energy to invest each day. If we’re not careful, every drama, every trauma at school, in the neighborhood, at church, at work will draw us like a fly to a bright street light. She asked a great question and it is one you need to remember every day – “where will I invest my dry powder today”?
In my job, there are thousands of opportunities every day. Stocks go up and go down, stories break all the time, greed and fear run rampant. Our firm cannot chase every hint of opportunity. We have to have a process, a discipline. We have to have a focus. There are lots of ways to make money, lots of sophisticated, alluring strategies that get others into the limelight (and maybe in trouble) and can make us think, “maybe that’s the way to go”. But we shake our heads, sharpen our pencils and go back to the one thing we know can work – good, old fashioned investing. It’s so hard to do because there are so many burning bright street lights to fly to. Auburn probably lost the national championship because of one play, a kick off return for a touchdown very late in the game. One Auburn defender didn’t stay in his lane, he veered off towards the center of the field as they came running down and his open lane is exactly where the FSU player ran.
We’ve got to stay in our lanes. We have to find our focus. If you don’t, other people are going to keep you really busy. Everyone has something you can do. There are expectations perhaps your Mother or Father still have for you to fulfill. Plenty of things your wife would have you do. Your company, oh your company, they will suck every ounce of life from you and when you’re done, they’ll replace you with another one that looks just like you. The community – all kinds of boards you can serve on, all kinds of charitable “good” causes that need you. Ministries – so many needs, so many missionaries for you to support. You have to have your boundaries, your focus. You simply can’t meet all the needs, hopes and expectations.
However, in rhythm with God, you can find your place, your calling – that place where you can live beyond self and live for others. LivingOutward. That place where you come fully alive. One man this morning has struggled for some time with finding his place in work. It’s been a long struggle. Just this week, things began to pop, God is moving and he can see it. All of a sudden there is this possibility, this opportunity that is both a ministry and something he absolutely would love to do. And oh, by the way, most all of his working experience in the past has trained him perfectly for this role. He was as alive today as I’ve seen him in years. He has had a taste of focus, a taste of a calling.
Think of Moses – he had all the riches of Egypt at his disposal and yet, he saw the plight of the people and traded his riches in the temporary for the riches of eternity. Moses found his calling in serving others. He could see what they could not. He was willing to trade the certain for the uncertain and in so doing, embraced utter dependency on God.
So what is it for you? Is it a career change that might cost you some money and comfort. You might have to give up the “good” for what can be “great”. Is there a ministry you love that you just want to dive into? Is God calling you to something WAY beyond self and what you can control?
You need to find it and pursue but first, you need focus.