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How Aligning My Focus Helped Me Reach My Goals

Jen Jabbour

Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 16, 2024
How Aligning My Focus Helped Me Reach My Goals

The truth is that God isn’t the one who tells us we need to try harder, do better, or go faster.

I am a perpetual goal-breaker. In random bursts of energetic moments, I set high and lofty goals for myself. 

For example, in the first six months of last year, I should have lost ten pounds, ran in my first half-marathon, finished writing a book, and reorganized the whole house. Besides trying to be a middle-aged athlete, an author, and a super mom, I am also a supportive wife helping my husband run a business.

Saying my plate was full was an understatement. Yet, when I realized that I was not achieving my ambitious goals as quickly as I would’ve liked, or when I forced them to the back-burner for more pressing tasks and events, I found myself heading to a dark, depressing place. 

Like many others, I suffer from comparisonitis. It’s hard not to look around and see what others have accomplished. I struggled to understand why I couldn’t seem to accomplish any of my goals. “I must be doing something wrong,” I thought.

I found myself questioning God: “When’s it my turn? When do I finally get to take the time needed to accomplish what I’ve set out to do, to truly lean into my calling, and to live up to my fullest potential? When can I finally lay aside every weight that slows me down and run the race that has been set before me?” (Hebrews 12:1).

I venture to guess that we’ve all felt like this at some point in our lives. And when we do, it becomes very easy to start focusing on all the things we’re doing wrong or not doing at all, and all the ways we’ve failed and missed the mark—again. 

In those dark moments, I became a hopeless case of never-going-to-be-good-enough. I started believing that I would never make it and wondered if, perhaps, I was mistaken about my calling.

Somewhere on my journey of trying to do what I felt God was calling me to do, I realized that my focus was out of line—away from God and onto myself—and I’m quite certain that is why I felt so hopeless. 

The truth is that God isn’t the one who tells us we need to try harder, do better, or go faster. All we need to do is focus on Him, and He will lead the way. All we need to do is stay in the race. And when it gets tough, all we need to do is call on His name. We don’t need to be stronger because His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

In one particular moment, when I was at an all-time low, feeling like such a failure, ready to give up, Philippians 4:8 (ESV) popped up in my verse-of-the-day app at just the right time: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

As I allowed the words of the Apostle Paul to minister to me, I asked myself if the way I felt was true, honorable, or just. I contemplated each word as if I were filtering the value of my work through the lens of this verse. And as I did so, I discovered that God is much less concerned about my ability to reach my goals and more concerned with the journey I am taking to reach those goals. 

It’s on this journey that all the refining, purifying, perfecting, molding, renewing, and transforming occur. The person who we are at the start of our journey will no longer be recognizable when we reach our destination (Philippians 3:12).

As I continued to ponder this passage, I thought of the word “focus,” and how when Paul wrote “think about these things,” he very easily could have said “focus on these things.” Focus on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. When we focus on these things and ignore everything else, we start to see the path that we’re supposed to be on so much more clearly. 

To help us remember to stay focused whenever our faith feels shaky, I created an acrostic based on the word, “FOCUS.” Each letter represents actions or tasks we should do to keep our focus in alignment:

F - Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

O - Open Your Heart to God’s Word

C - Call on His Name

U - Unite with Other Believers

S - Stand Firm on the Truth of His Promises

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

The first thing that we tend to do when things get difficult is take our eyes off Jesus and fixate on our problems. We allow our insecurities to take control of our thoughts, and instead of looking ahead, we look down. 

Of course, the solution is to look to Jesus. The distractions will always be present, but rather than focusing on them, acknowledge them and continue looking to Jesus for the answers. He will guide you through it all.

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” Psalm 25:15 (ESV)

Open Your Heart to God’s Word

The easiest way to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus is by reading the Bible. After all, the Bible is God’s Word, His love letter to us, and in it is everything He wants us to know about Him and everything that He has done for us and will do for us. 

When we open the Bible, we must also open our hearts to what's in it. Reading and knowing what the Bible says does not replace believing and receiving what it says. The more we seek God through the power of His Word, the more He will lead us. As we strive to reach our goals, or even know which goals we should be reaching, I encourage you to seek answers by reading the Bible. 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Call on His name

It’s a common practice to only call on God in our times of deepest need. We tend to try everything except calling out to God; then, when nothing seems to work, and we’re desperate and out of ideas, we resort to asking God for help. 

I urge you to try a different path. If you find yourself spinning your wheels, just getting nowhere in life, it may be time that you start talking to God about it first. Don’t just call on Him when all hope is lost, but call on Him when things are going great! 

Express your gratitude for all He has done for you; speak to Him like He’s your friend, your confidant, or a close parent or mentor. He is here for you, and He wants to hear from you. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

Unite with Other Believers

As an introvert, I tend to want to do things on my own. I very easily find myself living on my own little island, but after a while, it gets lonely. It’s good to have others to confide in, to lean on when I’m feeling weak, and to celebrate my wins. 

Multiple times throughout Scripture, we are reminded that we need each other. God created Eve so Adam wasn’t alone (Genesis 2:18), and the wise King Solomon even wrote about how two are better than one (Ecclesiastes 4:9). Even Jesus Himself was rarely ever alone, except when He needed some quiet time (Luke 6:12). 

The point I’m trying to make is that every one of us needs to gather with other believers—for fellowship, support, and prayer, and to learn from each other, share our testimonies, and worship God together. As we are pressing toward our goals, it’s good to have other believers to bounce our ideas off of and to lean on when we feel resistance. 

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) 

Stand Firm on the Truth of His Promises

We can stand firm and know that God is not going to fail us. The more we let God take control, the more He is able to show us what He can do for us. God’s promises are scattered all throughout the scriptures, and many of those promises are fulfilled in the New Testament. 

There are still promises yet to be fulfilled, but seeing how God has never broken a single promise, we can be confident that His promises are true. We can stand firm knowing that if He said it, He is going to do it. 

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

By aligning my focus with God’s will, I am more likely to set goals that align with His plans for my life, allowing me to access my God-given desires.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/lilartsy

Jennifer Jabbour resides in the scenic San Diego countryside with her husband, adult son, and teen daughter, and their hilarious English Bulldog. Jennifer has a B.A. in Integrated Business Communications, and is a Go + Tell Gals licensed life coach. Jennifer hopes to use her calling of writing, coaching, and speaking to equip and empower women to clarify their vision and to boldly step forward in response to God's calling on their life, as well as educate and encourage others to experience the abundance of God's goodness when they seek Him first in all that they do. Jennifer is also a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a photographer, and an avid outdoors-woman. She loves camping, hiking, running, and playing the piano in her free time.

You can keep up with Jennifer on her website https://www.jenniferjabbour.com.