Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What You Focus On Is What Moves

If you’re reading this, thank God. That means I finally published this thing.

The seed for this article was planted by something Dave Ramsey said at one of our weekly staff meetings around the time I started here. Towards the end of that Monday morning gathering, he said, “What you focus on is what moves.”

That’s it. Those seven words have gnawed at me and have been at the forefront of my mind for the last few months. I couldn’t get them out of my head. I wrote those words down in big, bold letters on the front page of my work notepad. I set it beside my desk as I worked as a reminder to focus on the task in front of me. It became sort of a mantra for me as I try to get on my feet here in Nashville.

I knew I wanted to write something based on those words, but what I thought would be a routine blog post turned into a huge struggle for me -- now I know how Apollo Creed felt in the first Rocky film, expecting an easy fight but then ending up getting pounded with body blows for 15 rounds. There’s just a little less blood involved when it comes to writing.

Anyways, I’d start writing, taking the post in one direction, but then I felt like I was going in the wrong way. I’d shift gears, but no matter which way I went, it just didn’t feel right. It felt like I was driving around a bunch of unfamiliar backstreets in the middle of the night and Google Maps wasn’t working. The more twists and turns I’d make, the more lost I became

Each time I sat down to write, the words just fell flat. There was a disconnect, I felt, between what I was writing and what I was doing. For a writer, that is a dangerous place to be. That’s when life’s dashboard lights start flashing and it’s time to take inventory of some things.

But instead of dealing with that disconnect, I ignored it. I’d have opportunity after opportunity to face the problem, but I just didn’t have the courage or the heart to face up to it.

Here’s the problem: We don’t like to focus on the problems or issues we’re dealing with -- at least not for too long. We know it’s a problem. We know it needs to change. But it’s ugly. It’s messy. And we don’t like to look at ugly or messy things for too long -- especially if it’s something ugly in ourselves.

Sometimes it's fear that breaks our focus. Other times it's pride. Heck, it might be something as simple as laziness. Whatever that barrier is, we have to get over it. We can only hide or run from it for so long before we have to deal with it, whatever “it” is.

What you focus on is what moves, yes, but first we have to be willing to actually focus on it. To stare at it. Acknowledge it. And then lay it down at God’s feet, unpacking it brick by brick. Only then will it move. Only then will we see the progress and momentum we’ve wanted to see all along.

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