By Lisa Bevere
I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target and hold it there, you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.
Focus multiplies any and every capability that life entrusts us with. If fairy godmothers were real, they’d tell you that magic wands only serve to focus energy. Keep this imagery and skip the wand because all you need is the right focus.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—-that exhilarating finish in and with God—-he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. (Heb. 12:2 MSG)
Focus directs or redirects our energy and gifts toward a goal. Our goal is transformation. In a world screaming, “Be like us!” we focus on him. What we behold we become, and where we look is where we go. It is hard to become more like Jesus if we give more time and attention to people and images on any given form of social media. It is extremely dangerous, and I would go so far as to say a form of idolatry if our goal is to play to an anonymous audience (social media) to the neglect of the audience of one. Becoming like Jesus is both our beginning and our end. Not likes, purchases, downloads, follows, or views. If that goal has been displaced, then it is time to set some other things aside. We finish in and with God. It is comforting to know that the One who made a way is the very One who is with us all the way. This is not always the case with people. Life happens, there is loss, seasons change, relationships shift, popularity rises and falls. There is but one constant. Another version of this verse says that Jesus is the “author and the finisher of our faith” (KJV). Unlike some of us, Jesus always finishes what he begins. Resets empower us to renew. Focus helps us to align our lives with what is truly important.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom. 12:2)
Mind renewal requires focus. My mind has a tendency to drift. My husband accuses me of getting lost in the weeds and off topic in our discussions. I know who my focus is, but the actual ability to focus is a challenge for me. On any given morning, espresso may be needed to make focus a reality. For me the struggle is so very real, so in this chapter I want to tackle both ways to sharpen our focus and what focusing on Jesus looks like. As a major boy mom who is now the mom of four men, I want to revisit a scene that captures some of the essence of focus for me.
THE MAN OF STEEL
What mama could possibly know more about focusing superpowers than the mother of Superman? In the movie Man of Steel, Clark’s superpowers are awakened, and he is crippled by an awareness of too much too fast. When this happens, he is in class and can’t answer the simple question the teacher has asked him. Even though he knows the answer, he can’t get it out because all the interference has paralyzed him. Suddenly, he no longer simply sees people; he sees through them, and the smallest sounds are magnified to unbearable levels. Utterly overwhelmed, Clark runs out of the classroom and hides in the janitor’s closet. He is followed by his classmates and his teacher, who bangs on the door, demanding he open it. Clark refuses. He remains hidden in the closet, head bent, ears covered, eyes tightly shut, until his mother shows up. She asks, “How can I help you if you won’t let me in?”
With tears in his eyes, Clark answers, “The world is too big, Mom!” “Then make it small,” she whispers. “Just focus on my voice.”
It works, and the frightened son, destined to be Superman, leaves the closet and enters his mother’s embrace. The first time I saw this scene, I cried.
If we were face-to-face, I’d pull you close because hugs have a way of making our worlds smaller. In that moment, we feel safe, surrounded, and engaged. Then I’d look you in the eyes and say, “If your world is too big, let’s find some ways to make it smaller.”
It is as simple as focusing on God’s voice.
We don’t need X-ray vision or super-heightened hearing to realize that we live in a world overrun by sensory over- load. This dynamic can overwhelm the best of us and cause us to forget the very answers we already know. The inability to engage with all that comes your way is not a flaw; it’s a fail-safe. We all need the pause and the rest; it is the very rea-son God created the Sabbath.
I remember that, with the birth of each of my sons, I found myself wanting to pull away from everything and everyone that pulled my attention from them. We needed to bond. The one I had carried within me was now wonderfully and strangely outside of me. Bonding requires one-on-one, focused attention. It’s hard to bond in an environment of constant interruptions.
There are seasons when I’ve sensed Jesus drawing me into a posture of solitude. He pulls me away from the many voices so I become more in tune with his voice. There is no greater honor than to be invited to sit alone with our Prince.
You have every right to choose how many people, ideas, and demands you let into your life. If you have already let in too much and discover that it has compromised your ability to focus, then you have full permission to pull back and move some things out of the way.
As I searched the web for helpful tips to increase your focus, one of them said to literally use your hands as blinders. You can do this by cupping your hands on either side of your eyes, eliminating peripheral vision and centering your focus. Your visual vantage goes from wide-angle view to telephoto. Your brain reasons that if something can’t be seen, then it doesn’t require your attention. I tried it, and it works. The sides of my messy desk disappeared, and all I saw was what was immediately before me. It is like cropping a photo to highlight what you want seen.
How do you capture a child’s attention? You put your hands on either side of their face and invite them to look at you. I want you to imagine your heavenly Father cupping your face in his hands and inviting you to look at him. We are invited to draw near so that everything else might fade away.
This excerpt was taken from the book Godmothers: Why You Need One. How to Be One by Lisa Bevere. Lisa is a strong believer, New York Times best-selling author, teacher, and co-founder of Messenger International, an organization committed to developing uncompromising followers of Christ who transform their world.
This article was extracted from the premier issue of Thrive Magazine (Spring 2021). Learn how to get your copy of Thrive Magazine by visiting us here.