When I’m really honest with myself, all the benefits and none of the work pretty much sums up how I’ve wanted most of my life to go. Countless times I’ve wanted the easy, effortless, and fruitful way. Forget discipline or inconvenience. I’d much rather opt for little effort, and end up with a bounty.
Only thing is, life rarely works that way. So, to be resentful or discouraged when success alludes me is a bit, well…
- I want to run a marathon in early October. At the start of the year, I probably couldn’t run a 12-minute mile to my mailbox without passing out. Total number of days spent running since the beginning of the year? Maybe five.
- My “eat what I want, when I want” mantra worked fine in high school and college, but the 30s quickly changed that. I’m reminded of this every time I pull on my skinny jeans and have to exert the effort of a work horse to button them up, but I keep loading up on sweets and burgers telling myself that tomorrow will be a new start.
- I want my children to have a sincere heart for God, yet I rely on their Christian daycare and our church to do most of the spiritual teaching. I have the nerve to wonder why they don’t know more about God or the Bible.
- I avoid looking at our bank account balances and credit card statements at times while Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover book collects dust on the shelf and last year’s resolution to get debt-free remains largely unfulfilled.
These are just a few examples. And while my friends may be too polite to tell me, I can say it myself: this is a bit insane. Read the Webster’s Dictionary definitions yourself: unable to think in a clear or sensible way…very foolish and unreasonable…absurd.
It is quite possible to work without results, but never will there be results without work.
Clearly, my desired outcomes and corresponding actions are a bit unreasonable. I imagine some of you might feel the same way about areas of your life. I could sit here and tell you I’ve recognized the error of my ways, and my actions will be forever changed. And, in fact, that’s kind of how I first ended this post.
The truth of the matter, though, is without connecting my why (my heart’s purpose), with my actions, any change I experience initially will wear off as soon as the euphoria is gone. To embark on lasting change requires a time of focus–of really slowing down and seeking wisdom and honing in on the efforts that matter most. Focus is something that’s increasingly difficult to pursue in our overstimulated, overconnected world, overopinionated world, which is why I’ll be talking about the who, what, when, where and why of how to pursue focus in the coming weeks.
I won’t turn the corner over night, but bit by bit, I’m committed to taking it up a few notches. We’re four months into the year, leaving plenty of time to get to work. Where do you want to start?