Y’all. When I was scheduled to write on the topic of “focus”… I should probably just spend time telling you all the things that focus ISN’T. All the things that mess with your focus. All the ways to lose focus. Because, let me tell you, I am no expert in this area.
In September 2017 my life was a wreck. My husband and I were working hard at rebuilding our marriage into something beautiful after we had just about run it into the ground, I was trying to rebuild my relationship with Jesus after I had spent too much time neglecting it and running from Him, we were trying to make new friends in a new place, a new home, and a new church. September 2017 was kind of a mess and yet, that is the place and time the Lord spoke so clearly to me: “Write.”
Excuse me… come again? “Write.” I was in the middle of a staff meeting at my new job. We were in the middle of prayer and I heard the Lord as clear as a bell, “Write.” I remember thinking, “about what?” And immediately the Lord said, “Full portion God.”
He gave me the name… of a book. My book.
I tried to shake that thought out of my head right away. I was the worst candidate to write a book on anything, especially concerning spiritual things. Don’t get me wrong, I am a deeply spiritual person, but I was a deeply messed up person at the time and I knew God must have been confused for a minute there because I could have sworn he told me to write a book about Him. But He really did tell me to write and I couldn’t ignore it. We were praying and as soon as I heard “full portion God” I pulled out my pen and paper and started furiously scribbling all of the thoughts flooding into my mind. I still have the notes from that moment. The Lord just pricked my spirit and my mind took off running like my life depended on it. I went home and, in secret, began to write.
I didn’t tell anyone because I was embarrassed. I was a colossal screw-up. Who did I think I was to write a book for the Lord? I was not smart enough or good enough or holy enough or experienced enough or any other kind of "enough" there was to be. It just wasn’t me and I knew it and so did everyone else. So I couldn’t tell a soul. Too many people knew my history and I couldn’t face the ridicule that would spew out over me if anyone knew I was writing a book. So I wrote in secret for a couple months. Here and there, whenever inspiration would strike, I would grab my laptop and write.
In January 2018 my husband and I were just beginning to teach a class at our church on the gift of prophecy when we found out we were pregnant with our third child. We could not have been more ecstatic and grateful and hope-filled. We wanted to have a baby and we could not believe how easily it happened this time around as it had been a struggle before. Just two days after we found out we were pregnant, I woke up to spotting and fear. The day progressed and things just got worse. There was no stopping it. We were losing our child we had only loved for two days. The baby we had already been dreaming of holding and kissing and loving was slipping away and I could do nothing but watch and wait and groan in pain, both physically and emotionally - the greatest pain my heart could know.
About a week later, I knew I needed to get back to this prophetic class with my husband. I needed to be immersed in the presence of God and actively listening to his voice and direction. I was scared someone would say “I’m sorry for your loss” or “how are you doing?” and I would lose it, but I went anyway. I just needed it and I couldn’t explain how or why, but I knew I did.
That first evening back, the Lord gave a friend of mine a prophetic word that he didn’t understand, but oh my gracious, I knew exactly what God was saying…
“I see a blank sheet of white lined paper. And it’s coming into focus, the way you would focus the lens on a projector. Laser-like focus,” he said. I about jumped out of my chair when he said, “laser-like focus.” He had no idea the Lord had told me to write. And I knew the Lord was saying, “I gave you an assignment. You better set your sights on your paper with a laser-like focus to obey me.”
It was not the message I had expected or even hoped to hear that evening. I wanted to be scooped up and held. I wanted to hear “Your baby is here in my arms,” or “You’ll be pregnant again in [fill in the month here].” I wanted to hear about my baby or the hopes of another child… not about this book. And yet, the Lord was speaking to me about the book, not the baby.
Listen to me, sweet friend. Sometimes the Lord is going to speak to you about the book when you are focused on the baby. Your heart and mind and soul may be wrapped up in the baby because that is where the trauma is, that is where the heartache is, that is were the wounding is. But friend, that may not be where His focus is. And I know that can hurt to hear because we want the Lord to be focused on the things WE are focused on. But that is just not how it works. His thoughts are above our own. His ways are above ours. He is on a whole different level.
After January 2018, I lost focus. My eyes were locked on our baby. My eyes were locked on my pain. My eyes were flooded with loss. My focus shifted from God’s calling to just surviving one day to the next. And it went on like this for almost a year.
December 2018, just a week before Christmas, I found out we were pregnant again. I was so scared, so excited, so anxious, and so hopeful all at once. My focus shifted once again from survival, to planning and building a future for our expanding family.
The spring of 2019, I began a discipleship group with 5 other ladies… the nitty-gritty kind that forces you do deal with all of your junk and get right with Jesus. Well… I got right with Jesus, okay? With the encouragement (and harassment - ahem - I mean accountability) of my discipleship group, I started to write again. I was reminded of the calling the Lord gave me in 2017 and the prophetic word from a year before in 2018. The Lord had told me to do something and I had allowed my vision to get hijacked by everything happening all around me. I had allowed my focus to blur, to shift, to change, to move from the book to the baby.
This time was so different. A year previous, I had given up on writing because of the heartbreaking loss of a child and now here I was writing while carrying a new life inside of me. A new life breathed into this child and a new life breathed into me and this book. It was a strange sense of coming full-circle and quite literally rewriting my painful past into something more beautiful now.
My daughter, Abigail Rose, was born in August 2019. After she was born, I wrote here and there, but things really slowed down. I was focused on the baby again instead of the book. However, at the beginning on 2020, I asked the Lord for a word for the year - something to help direct my attention to what He has for me - and I heard, “focus.” I knew it was primarily about the book. I had promised the Lord I would finish he first-draft by May. And you know what? I did. The first draft is completed and I feel more completed. I know it’s not done, there’s more to do, but I feel a spiritual milestone in this place. A monument to a new level of spiritual maturity has been built by the hands of long-suffering and continued obedience.
This is a long story to bring you to this point…
What is your “book”?
What is the thing God has called you to do? Maybe it’s changing careers, maybe it’s homeschooling your kids, maybe it’s starting a non-profit, maybe it’s writing a book, maybe it’s sharing Jesus with your neighbor. Whatever it is, name it - out loud. Don’t let yourself keep it a secret anymore. Own it and call it out and get some accountability. You need people to account for your ability when things pull you down or the devil is being his liar self telling you all the ways you are the wrong girl for the job. You need people in your corner cheering you on, telling you the truth about yourself, poking and prodding you to complete your metaphorical “book” and obey the Lord.
What is your “baby”?
What is pulling your focus away from the thing God has called/commanded/asked/told you to do? It’s not always wrong to acknowledge the baby in the room. For me, of course I needed to mourn. Of course my heart and mind and focus was pulled toward this baby and the pain we were experiencing. And that is not wrong. But what I believe God wanted for me during all of that was to continue to chase after the book. To continue to obey, even through the pain, even through the tears, even though the heartache because the act of obedience is what ushers in healing and comfort and peace. The baby and the book don’t need to compete.
How can you obey right now?
Focus simply boils down to obedience. When we obey the Lord in the small things, it keeps our eyes focused in His direction and we can more easily and fluidly move in sync with His Spirit. If I had just kept my eyes focused on Jesus during that painful period of loss, if I had just looked for ways to obey Him in the small things, I believe I would not have lost sight of the book. I would have experienced more peace when I felt so much turmoil and more strength when I felt so weak.
Friend, obedience sharpens our vision to more clearly see the life God has intended us to live with the unique gifts, passions, callings, and purpose each of us possess. So if focus is a struggle for you, just look for one way to obey the Lord today. Just start there. He’ll bring it all into focus as you just commit to the next step of obedience in front of you.
Written by: Lyndsay TERRY
Read more from Lyndsay @ www.lyndsayterry.com
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