Updated: Jan 18, 2021
In the fall, I had a huge change in ministry roles. After years of being a Women’s Ministries Director for a region of 40+ churches in South Texas, USA, I resigned to pursue new and very specific things the Lord had been asking of me for a while. It was difficult to let go and now awkward to find new footing out here ‘on my own’.
By this time each year, I am accustomed to having a calendar already filled for the year ahead, all planned out — events, services, mission trip(s), speaking engagements, lunch meetings, calls, leadership training, Bible studies, conferences, even the social media was planned out, assigned, and scheduled.
Yet, here I am — It’s already January 11 and I haven’t even decided on a 12-Month Planner to purchase for the year, as my needs have changed.
I do have specific actionable projects and ideas but nothing on paper and planned out in a schedule. I know me and I know I need a planner to hold my thoughts, ideas and plans all in one place.
I feel much like a fish out of water.
That’s what happens when you’re in a one-way lane for so many years. You coast through a routine and each year it gets easier and easier. And, I must say, it sure was a good lane. A growth lane. A secure lane... fruitful and sure. I will never forget it.
This... this lane is unknown, unfamiliar, and a little terrifying.
I NEED A ‘FOCUS RESET’
I need help.
Hearing from other women who have trailblazed a path, at His direction, fills me. It encourages my heart and edifies my spirit.
When I saw the promo for Christine Caine’s 5-Day Focus Reset Challenge I signed up immediately. I’m so glad I did. This is a woman I admire and has tested the path with endurance.
This is just the first day of the challenge and I already feel built-up in my spirit and nudged to move, now.
As I type here, immediately following today’s session, this is what I’m feeling and is welling up inside me...
Yes, I may be a fish out of water, but it’s on purpose and for a purpose. I’m a fish out of water because I’m jumping to different waters... new waters... a different current... a new flow.
With change comes the need for fresh focus. I must take my eyes off the fully-planned-calendar of the past to embrace the times and the path ahead.
Here a few of my notes from Christine Caine’s,
5-DAY FOCUS RESET CHALLENEGE
DAY 1 – Monday, January 11, 2021
"Where you focus is where you’ll go.”
The verse for today’s session was:
“...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Christine asked us to write the verses out in our own words. I urge you to try this as well. We may have varying responses but two points will likely be the same:
Focus on Jesus.
Focus for the long haul.
My own words
I need to let go, or avoid, all that gets in my way from fulfilling my specific purpose and to avoid sinful things and wondering or debilitating thoughts that entangle my mind and heart, deflecting my focus. If I can do that, in His will and His way, I can run toward Jesus as I focus on Him and the task that He has called me to. I can do this with enduring strength — through Him.
I felt a nudge to list out specific declarations. It may help you to do the same.
I will immerse in this new stream He has for me.
I will follow this unfamiliar current, with His direction.
I will make a plan for this Calendar year, and long term, as I focus on Him.
I will notify my accountability partners of this plan (tomorrow actually).
I will allow grace for my short comings, but not too much.
I will accept new, and yes, scary challenges.
I will encourage others along the way.
I will be who I was made to be.
I will live how I was made to live.
She ended today’s video session stating two points that she says to herself, helping her stay focused:
God called me to this.
God has equipped me for this.
I immediately thought, if we can say these two things about anything that we believe He called us to do, then we can be sure He will help us with the plan. He will whisper, He will send helpers, supporters, and cheerleaders along the way. He will provide the wisdom, the know-how, and the strength. All we need to do is ask Him, and seek to find it.
The next task was to list three specific things that God has asked us to do. What three things would you list? You may have one or five things to list. If it helps, think, “What has God asked me to do and what has He equipped me to do?”
Maybe it’s a specific project.
Maybe it’s more time with family.
Maybe it’s to further your education.
If you would like to share your list with me, I would love that! You may comment below. Or, to personally share them with me, simply email me at email@example.com or go to the “Let’s Connect’ page here on my website and I will reply to your email. I will even share some of my list with you, if you would like.
I pray for God to give you direction and show glimpses of things to come for you and what He’s calling you to that will serve those around you.
Let’s focus on where we’re going.
Lord Jesus, light the way!
DAY 2 – Tuesday, January 12, 2021
"Embrace your current season”
I left this session reminded of what I know to be true – I have no need of anything. I lack nothing… in regard to human standards.
I have shelter, food, clothes, money, friends, loving family, and a fairly healthy body.
There was a time I toiled long and hard hours to put food on the table and a roof over our head, as a single mother for years. The gift of my husband was that, a gift – in so many ways – Emotional support, companion, someone to dream and plan with, and yes, financial stability to the point that after a few years I no longer needed to work to help sustain the way we lived. For years now, I have been free to volunteer in many capacities and to be extra present for my family. I do not take that for granted and I understand that not everyone’s lives and circumstances are the same.
As mentioned earlier, I am now embracing a new season.
The takeaways for this session:
Pour ourselves into every season.
He is always and eternally faithful.
Practice gratitude, daily.
We reflected on 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV"
"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
We may not all be where we expected to by now in our lives, and maybe some are. The fact is, we will all have seasons of struggle throughout our lifetimes. Christine reminds us that, “Focusing solely on life’s detours and complications will magnify them and hold you back.”
She’s right – they sure will.
Our worksheet states, “God’s Word promises that these troubles are temporary, and through him, they can serve an important purpose, even if it may not seem like it now. Today, let’s embrace our current season—the highs, lows, and everything in between—by adopting an eternal perspective. Our Heavenly Father, now and forever, has the power to comfort and strengthen us through any struggle.”
She then asks us to reflect again and write out 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, using our own words.
What is God saying to you?
My own words
Some would say that suffering is to gain eternal glory. That maybe true for some, depending on God’s path for each of us. As Christine stated in the video for today, there is much opportunity here for bitterness and more. We are not to deny that we are suffering. If so, it can destroy us, making us bitter and self-focused. We must focus on God through them.
This verse reminds me of Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me all who are weary …”. It reminds me of the importance to focus on Him. Our burdens are weighty but focusing on Him allows Him to carry them. In exchange, we receive His easy yoke of direction, causing the load to seem light.
What we face here is nothing compared to eternity. The freedom. The joy, peace, and wonder we will attain if we hold on and keep our eyes on Him. Our minds cannot even comprehend how that could be. Even the matter of ‘time’ and all the things that are far above our ways.
It would be good to remember that seasons build character and endurance. In many ways we are better off for difficult ones. Yet, that is easy to say and hard to grasp.