Thought  to Thrive:

Walking Well Through Life's Success and Failure

Focus to Finish

Posted by Corey Van Huizen on Monday, February 25, 2019 @ 2:39 PM

Rarely do we ever drift to our desired destination in life. Its the places you focus on that you end up succeeding at. This is true in relationships, exercise, family life, work - you name the sphere! Focusing helps you finish well. 

This has been true for Alanna and I in our life over the last 11 months. We decided that it was time to focus on paying off all of our non-mortgage debt. Finances is another one of those areas that goes better if you give it attention. We were only paying minimum payments on all of our debts and watching money slip away, stressfully feeling like we never had enough. So we cut our lifestyle, used the debt-snowball method, and knocked it out. 

We focused on it. It was a regular topic of conversation; where to spend, when to spend, how much to spend. We talked about it daily. 

Last week Tuesday we paid off the last payment. With no debt, we have more margin. With more margin, we’re less concerned about getting what we need and the result… less stress. But it took focus. Here’s the truth: what you focus on, you finish well. 

The reason for this is actually imbedded deep in your biology. Your brain is actually only able to focus on one task at a time. Multi tasking is a myth. The more distraction, the more difficulty in finishing anything. 

This is why the unknown author of the New Testament letter Hebrews can call readers to “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, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” - Hebrews 12:1–2.

The race they’re talking about is life. There are no illusions here about life being simple, straightforward or easy. Life is like a long distance race. It is filled with challenges, distractions, bumps and bruises, muscle strains and fatigue. You know this. And you have experienced this at various points in your life. It can be difficult to run well in your marriage, money, exercise or vocation or schooling. 

So throw off the distractions. Cut your cable, limit your phone, say ‘no’ to some activity if you must - because you are focusing. When the writer says - “throw off that which hinders” - its neutral. The things that “hinder” us in life are not necessarily bad things or good things - they’re just distracting. Sin, on the other hand, by definition will trip you up in your life. So throw that off too. You’re focusing.

 

So the wisdom of the writer is simply this: fix your eyes on Jesus. 

 

In other words focus. 

 

Pick one area of your life that needs work and focus on Jesus instruction or example on how to live there. Relationship problems? Maybe its time to focus on Jesus’ teaching about how to be in relationship with others (Philippians 2John 13:34.) Financial problems? Focus on Jesus’ musings on money (Acts 20:34-45, Matthew 6).  Suffering, pain and disappointment - focus on Jesus instruction on enduring difficulty (John 16:33, Matthew 5:10-12). 

And don’t just focus on his teaching, but follow his example. 

You rarely drift to your desired destination. Where you focus you finish well. 

So what about you?

What area of your life requires your focus? Is it a relationship? Is it your physical health? Is it your spiritual life? How might fixing your eyes on Jesus bring health, meaning, satisfaction, or value there? 

Posted by Corey Van Huizen on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 10:57 AM

The Importance of an Invite

A wise person once said, "Its not experience that is the great teacher, but its experience reflected on."

As I look back at my life, the twists and turns, roadblocks, speed adjustments and lane changes that have taken place over the years, I have come to realize an important truth. There is a tremendous amount of importance on invitations. Invitations to apply for jobs, invitations to tryout for a sport, invitations to childhood birthday parties, invitations to breakfast or dinner, on dates. A proposal is really an invitation to a marriage, or business relationship. We make and receive invitations all the time... often without a thought as to how they'll impact the course of our lives.

After a coffeehouse performance with my singer/songwriter band in college - I got an invitation that, as I have reflected on it, completely changed the direction of my life. 

It was an invitation to play some music with some new friends. Which led to attending church. Which led to getting involved in a mission that was way bigger than myself. Which led to a passion, a skill set, a ministry, a relationship, a new job, a marriage, a new country to call home - a life following Jesus I never knew I had actually always wanted. You never know what hangs in the balance of your small invitations. Invite someone to Sunday morning. Invite someone to your house gathering. Invite someone to your life - it might just change theirs - or yours.

MD said...

Posted on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 12:04 PM -
thanks for this.

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