It’s my first day back to work from vacation. I’ve found myself saying, “Lord, help me focus” multiple times this morning. Not so much because I can’t focus, but because I must focus to get it all done before I fly to Chicago to speak at the Leadership Summit. When I think about this practice of focusing on One Thing – staying connected and responsive moment by moment, the two places I find it most helpful are in the stresses of work, and in my closest relationships (with my wife, son, and daughter). That’s also where I find it easiest to slip back into my old autopilot ways faster than I raced down the Dragonblaster waterslide with my son this summer.
In fact, the way I always dealt with too much to do was to work myself into a ball of stress, and then use that frenetic energy to get more done. Only problem, that whirlwind I can spin into leaves lots of relational collateral damage in my path—including in my own soul.
So Lord, help me focus on the next thing You want me to do. That’s actually the best I can do. “Without faith it’s impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6) So I do my work with God, trusting (having faith) that as I ask for wisdom in what to focus on next, he will lead me. It turns everything into a faith-venture. And if I’m doing it with Him and for Him, and I truly believe He leads me as I stay connected and trust—that can actually bring peace to an impossible-looking list of “to dos” and interruptions. I can “rest” knowing I’m only human, so I do have limits. I can’t do it all, so He must not want me to do it all, but He can lead me to do the things most important to Him, and to use my gifts to better lead, delegate, and do the things I can do best to contribute.
Now here is a great example of the world most of us live in…while trying to get this blog done, I had three interruptions involving three major decisions that could affect lots of people. Part of this comes from being gone, but part of it is just life—interruptions, more to do than time to do it—what do you do?
I’m sure many of you have a lot of great ideas that you’ve found work for you (I’d love to hear some insights). I remember one day years ago, feeling overwhelmed, and saying “God, why are you doing this to me?” To which I had this verse immediately pop into my brain, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) This is how God’s Spirit works, he brings to mind the truths Jesus taught. In that moment I realized, “You’re not doing this to me, I’m doing this to me. I’m not doing it right, am I Lord?” I realized if I’m feeling weary and burdened by “all I have to do” or “all the interruptions” then I’m not doing it staying connected to the one whose agenda for me is not burdensome! It’s really that simple.
Of course, that creates some tensions ‘cause there’s still stuff that must be done. As you seek to listen and respond, I’m curious what others hear when lists and interruptions overwhelm and burden us.