Originally published Tuesday, 17 January 2017.
There is something exciting about the new year, isn’t there? The possibilities. The potential. The old is gone, and new is here. It’s the reason that so many focus on fresh goals each January. We love the idea of having a fresh start. Let 2017 be a fresh focus for you, an opportunity to re-evaluate your goals, dreams, hopes, and day-to-day tasks. In order for us to refocus, we must first be aware of what we may be focusing on that distracts us.
There are three areas that far too many of us get distracted by, and they take way too much of our time and energy:
Comparison --- Unfortunately, we are often so busy worried about what somebody else has, does, sees, or gets, that we can’t stay in our own lane and be truly grateful for the work God is doing in our own lives. Comparison steals our joy. It robs us of our gratitude. How can we be thankful for what God’s done in our life when we’re so busy looking over to the left or right at what He’s doing for someone else? Comparison causes division. Be thankful someone else is getting blessed, that their influence or opportunities are increasing! God is unlimited in resources, plans, or supplies. We can be thankful for our brothers and sisters in Christ and also be hopeful of our own futures. Comparison often distracts us from what God wants to do with us. God can’t bless us because we won’t be faithful with this little thing. Maybe Sally has been faithful with her little, and that is why she’s being blessed. Choose to focus on what God has given us, not someone else.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Gal. 6:4-5
I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. Phil. 4:11-12
Comparison does nothing but leaves us miserable.
Social Media --- Technology is a wonderful thing, but only when used appropriately. And frankly, I don’t even know if we know what appropriate usage is anymore! We’re often more concerned with followers than true friends or likes or re-shares, or whatever else social media tells us is valuable. We’re walking zombies, scrolling through cell phones, wondering what somebody else is doing, while often lacking in true relationship and intimacy with others. We’re more concerned with status updates that sanctification. We’re more concerned with the perfect selfie than we are about serving others. We’re more worried about what everyone else is doing and who they are doing it with than understanding that we’re supposed to be busy about our Father’s business.
We don’t value the art of conversation, the joy of the sun shining on our face on a beautiful spring day, or the freedom of holding hands with our children, minus the iPhone or Android. Often, we can’t put down technology for fear we will miss something. Meanwhile, we miss life. Let us make this year different. Let us truly embrace the moment, enjoy the season, hear the birds, and smell the flowers. Let’s take time to be with one another, rather than reading about one another.
Status --- We’re busy pursuing platforms, prestige, climbing the corporate ladder, our marital status, or someone giving us a handclap. We’re busy pursuing financial success or if someone will hand us a microphone, and that becomes our focus.
When a thing becomes the thing, it’s the wrong thing.
Jesus came that we may have an abundant, wide-open, expansive, spacious life for freedom in Him.
So What is life? What are we supposed to focus on this year?
Living is about being sold out for Christ. It’s about a pure heart. It’s about serving that homeless man a warm meal. It is looking a friend in the eye, as she shares her heart and soul with you. It is holding the hand of a loved one. Living is about laughing when your children laugh. It’s about grace and joy and forgiveness, and tears. It is feeling and doing. It is resting. It is being fully present in every moment. It is knowing the depth of the love of a Heavenly Father that created you for his enjoyment. And the best way to honor that Father is by fully living, each day, in the glory of his honor and name. Let’s allow 2017 to be about that type of focus and living.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and speaker, whose personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and multiple teen pregnancies is leaving audiences around the globe riveted. At 19, Maggio was pregnant for the fourth time, living in government housing on food stamps and welfare. She shares with great openness, her pain, mistakes, and journey to find hope in Christ. She ultimately became an 11-time Circle of Excellence winner in Corporate America. While a vocal advocate for abstinence, and sustaining today’s marriages, Maggio recognizes that single parenthood exists and is passionate about seeing these parents thrive. She left her corporate successes behind to launch a global initiative to see single moms living a life of total freedom from financial failures, parenting woes, and emotional issues. Her passion is contagious, and her story has been used to inspire thousands around the globe. Today, Jennifer works to ensure that no single mom walks alone as the founder of the national profit, The Life of a Single Mom. For more information and resources, visit the website HERE.