If we are going to live the life of our dreams and fulfill God's call on our lives we need to focus our intentions. Dreams and passion might be the launching pad, but sooner or later we must use those things to create life. That is what chapter #5 is all about.
Every great journey begins with only potential and possibilities. What can happen as you begin to dream and imagine and open up the full spectrum of all possibilities of your future is that you end up dreaming and never living (p. 124).As much fun it is to dream we do not want to become just another daydreamer. In my estimation this is doing the same thing with our lives as the one talent man in Jesus' parable did with his money: hiding it in a hole for safe keeping. To discover the life of our dreams requires that we take risks with our lives.
The word focus comes from a Latin word that means "hearth" or "fireplace," in other words, the burning center. The hotter your burning center, the more focused you will be in your life. The more you can lock in to who God has created you to be—your unique gifts, talents, passions, intelligence, all the stuff God has poured into you—the more you'll begin to understand your unique place in human history (p. 129).Moving beyond our dreams begins by understanding who were are. It requires what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 12:3, making a sober evaluation of who God created us to be. We do this by understanding our passions and being honest about our talents. Our unique life is discovered in being true to who God created us to be and not striving to be someone else.
We get distracted by our surroundings and circumstances and everything happening around us, and they pull our attention away from where we are supposed to be going. The nemesis of focus is distraction (p. 131).This is so true for me. There are hundreds of different things vying for my attention everyday and if I'm not careful it is easy to get sucked into something that has little or no value in achieving the call God has given to me. We have to be intentional about saying no to the numerous distractions that come into our lives, even those distractions that appear to be good.
Your potential becomes talent only when it is harnessed and developed. Your talents become strengths when they are focused and directed. It is here where you begin to discover who you are and the potential God has placed within you (p. 136).A good question to ask ourselves here is: What am I doing to develop my God-given talents? Success doesn't happen by accident and so we have to do what we can do to develop our talents and prepare for the role God has for us. We need to have a plan and we need to be intentional about following that plan.
I like this thought:
When Jesus calls us to come, he is calling us out into a future we cannot walk without him (p. 136).Faith is essential as we pursue the life of our dreams. Remember Jesus wants you to succeed in your calling, so we can trust him, as our Good Shepherd, to get us to the right place.
While you can't do everything, you were created to do something of incredible importance. The tragedy is if you try to be everything and do everything, you may so diffuse your effect that you will not optimize who God made you to be and what he created you to accomplish (p. 141).There is no doubt that there are many good things we could give our lives away to, but we cannot do it all. Just as Jesus didn't heal every sickness or feed every hungry person we can't do it all. Jesus kept his focus on what he came to earth to do, and likewise we will be most effective when we keep our focus on what God has called us to do with this life.
It might be that the most critical thing we can do to develop focus is to have clarity about our identity by answering these questions: Who has God created me to be? What has God created me to do? Then we begin to build our cores so we can make good decisions in an instant (p. 147).This the first step and as we begin to discover our identity we become intentional in further developing and strengthening that identity so it truly becomes who we are. When we are able to live out our true identity it helps guide us through the hundreds of different choices that we face each day.
To be a Seer is to see ourselves accurately, to see the world as it really is, and to keep our focus on the unseen God who will empower us to do everything He created us to do. Only our Creator can lead us to the life we were created to live.
Erwin McManus, Wide Awake, Thomas Nelson (2008)