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Entries in understanding (1)

Wednesday
Apr242013

focusitivity

One of the recurring bits of wisdom I keep reading about is focus. The quickest and easiest analogy is always a laser—a highly focused beam of ... wait, you know this, right? You've heard of a laser? Why does everyone always feel the need to define what a laser is when they use it in an analogy? Hasn't the laser been around since the 1960s? We know what this is now.

I digress.

That's easy to do, actually. Digress. Get distracted. Get off point. We live in a world of instant facts and information. The answer to any question (such as "when was the laser invented?") is just a few key taps away. So is our ability to get buried in so much detail we lose track of what we were looking for. We keep losing the needle of our attention in haystack of data we pull onto ourselves.

Most of the authors I admire are big advocates of focus. If you can focus your energy and effort on something, and give it enough intensity, you can accomplish things you might have thought were impossible before. Writing a book, for example. Rebuilding a car engine. Walking a tight rope. Focus and intensity for the win.

God is always talking about attention in the Bible. There are ten instances of the phrase "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" In Luke 22:46 Jesus reprimanded the disciples for sleeping instead of remaining alert. All throughout the New Testament Christ informed the disciples that the message was hidden in plain sight, and that it takes focused attention to receive it. Check out Matthew 13:18, where Christ says, "So listen to what the story means, about the man who sowed the seed." He was about to lay down some sweet God wisdom on these fellas, and he wanted to make sure they were paying attention. 

I have a tendency to tune people out, especially if they aren't saying something I find interesting. The problem is, they may be saying something they believe to be vital. It's improtant to them, and by being dismissive or inattentive I'm essentially saying that they aren't important enough to me, and I don't care what they think is "vital." 

I'm working on being more focused when I listen. I'm starting by asking, "What is this person really trying to say, and what is their motive for saying it?" Knowing the "why" of things, or at least being interested in learning the why, helps you to be more focused and attentive. It's a step toward caring for others. 

I have this belief that the Word of God is all around us, in everything we encounter in our day, and wisdom is the tool we use and the treasure we gain when we start focusing on finding God's Word in our daily life. So let's focus and concentrate on being attentive, on listening, on learning. Let's focus on being faithful and compassionate and caring and wise. Let's be lasers.