Learning Focus


I think that I have already mentioned that I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions for the past handful of years. Personally, I have found them to be overrated. I prefer to stop and examine my life much more regularly than the annual New Year’s hype.

However, I was praying and pondering as 2015 ended, and the question was one I had been tossing around from time to time since our church held its last general conference session in October: “What lack I yet?”

The answer I received was “Focus.” As I thought about it more, I found that I really wanted was to focus on having “an eye single to the glory of God.

As I type this blog, I have no idea where this personal journey will lead me. I do know that it has already caused me to begin looking at my belongings, my time, my choices, and other aspects of my life with a whole new perspective.

I have already learned that focus requires sacrifice in so many ways:

  • I have begun the process of eliminating physical baggage and clutter from my life. This is a time-consuming and painful process. My belongings hold memories and hopes and comfort. Paring life down to the bare bones of who I truly believe I am and where I truly believe I am headed means letting go of a lot of what felt like security. However, if I am honest with myself, there was no security in the possessions. Those periods of my life have ended — I can either move forward or I can bind myself to the baggage of yesterday. I am only one person and have a limit to what I can and will accomplish with my life. Having other “options” constantly around me isn’t security — it’s distraction and it’s mentally and emotionally draining.
  • I’m having to also reduce my electronic clutter. This clutter seems harmless because it can all be held on one little device, but it has the same effect as physical baggage and clutter. My devices are so disorganized that I have have to perform searches of the device to find anything. I would be better off with less than 1/10 of the files and the ability to clearly focus on the purpose that I bought each device to serve.
  • Mental and emotional clutter and baggage is harder, but I believe I am ready for this journey this year because I have already been led through so many steps of working through the clutter and the distractions. I have already learned that I’m not going to do anything perfectly, no matter how much I’ve studied, trained, and tried. I can’t do it all, and I can’t be a friend to everyone, even though I would love to try. I’m still a success if people don’t like me, if I make a mistake, or have a bad day. The past doesn’t own me unless I allow it to.
  • Clearing social clutter is easier because I have begun clearing my emotional baggage. Trying to fit things in so that I avoid displeasing others is no longer a priority for me.
  • Financial baggage will be the last to go, but having a focus also helps here. Impulse buying has a new standard to be measured against. Wants will be measured just as strictly. In the end, this frees up finances to be put to powerful use.

To clarify, none of what I have written should be read with the idea that I am somehow selfishly turning my back on humanity and the basic doctrines of my faith. Quite the contrary!

In each of the five basic areas of my life (physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial), I have simply adopted a new measure of success. My decisions should no longer be made because I’m worried about what people will think or say — they are measured by whether or not God approves and/or is leading me in a certain direction.

I have no idea if my journey will take me a few months, a few years, or the rest of my life, and it doesn’t matter. It’s like Howard W. Hunter once said,

Please remember this one thing. If our lives and our faith are centered upon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right. …

I have experienced such a growth of peace and joy in my life from my first halting steps of truly following Christ! I’m ready to commit to following without really knowing exactly where I’m going or how things will end. I simply know they will end as they are supposed to end, and I will be where I am supposed to be.