Exploring the Deep

Passionately pursuing life, faith and adventure…

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distracted confessions

I get easily distracted. I know what I’m supposed to do next, but then something crosses my mind and I feel the compulsion to explore it. Find out the details. Make the connection. Chase the rabbit trail…only to forget what I was originally doing.

I know this confession likely comes as a surprise to many of my friends. To so many people I am the focused one. I am the one who checks everything off the list. I am typically on-point and on-task. And this is true most of the time.

As a matter of fact, this blog post is because one of those rabbit trails (although I’d rather call it divine inspiration based off a real-life experience). One afternoon I started to write an email for work, but my mind was wandering because of a recent text I’d received. “Real quick,” I thought, “I’ll pop online and find the answer.” Sure enough, three minutes later I had found what I was looking for, but had also temporarily forgotten what I was supposed to be doing. Sigh.

How easily do we get distracted like this in our spiritual life? We get started on a good path of prayer, Bible reading, and small group gatherings but get distracted by other things that pop onto our radar. We pause and pursue, forgetting our original intent. We come back weeks later to the same chapter in the Bible we were reading – and have been reading for months. We recommit to praying each morning to “start the day off right” but hit the snooze time after time, day after day, and get off track. We sign up for a small group then forget to attend. And how often do we do this with our gym workouts or healthy eating or church attendance or calling family? The list goes on and on.

And while none of us can be perfect in our focus, there’s merit to working on being more focused. Our culture has moved away from this practice. We practically boast in the fact that we have a hard time focusing or are excellent at multitasking. It’s a badge of honor. But for so many of us, it’s an excuse to over-schedule and under-deliver. It’s an excuse because we’re bored with what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s an excuse to procrastinate and avoid working on our goals. As we multitask it’s an excuse to avoid connecting with the people around us and to keep us from authentic relationships. It’s an excuse to make our smart phones our focus.

Don’t misunderstand me…some people are amazing at multitasking and do it well. And others indeed have attention deficits and require medication to help them focus more. I’m not knocking either of those groups. But I do feel that so many of us should call ourselves to a higher standard. We need to remember what it’s like to focus, train our eyes on a single goal and accomplish it.

Where does that start? It starts with one step at a time. It starts by allowing yourself the freedom to not get distracted while you’re reading an article, researching online or writing an email (a-hem, preaching to myself here). Because let’s face it, there’s great freedom in keeping our eyes on the prize and completing a goal quickly.

Where does focus need to start for you? How do you stay focused (alone or in a group)? I’d love to hear from you!

An aside, I jotted initial notes about this post at work and promptly got back to that email I was writing. 🙂


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the big dream and why it’s ok to fail

The trend in the current generation (my generation) is to do great things. From the time we are young kids we are told that we can be president. We are encouraged that we can accomplish absolutely any dream we can imagine if we only try. We set out to be the best, come in first, take the top prize, be the leader, get the job, and have flawless skin and a perfect body. These are all accomplishable dreams, but are also short-term. Where are the goals that take time, effort and planning? But perhaps the better question is how do we learn the process of failing yet continuing?

So many people fail because their dream is seemingly unattainable. It’s too far off in the distance and they lack a clear path of how to achieve it. While making baby steps, they move too slowly, get distracted by what is immediately in front of them and forget the original focus. Or they become discouraged by the pace and give up before reaching it.

We need a reminder that life is to be lived in full from beginning to end. Life dreams (like becoming president) aren’t accomplished immediately. We must learn, mature, gain experience, fail, and experience what it means to start again. There is merit and character to gain in that process that is not gained any other way.

We must also remember that the big dream accomplished immediately is hollow. It’s a shell and only brings enjoyment for a short season before we are bored, abandon sustaining the original dream and need to find a new one.

My generation needs to stretch its eyes and look in the distance for the far-off dream. We need to look for the BHAG – the big, hairy, audacious GOAL. Then go for it! Determine how to get there, gain the experience, mature in our understanding of what the goal really is (let’s be honest, as we learn more about something we realize our original idea was not complete), fail many times, learn from our mistakes, and keep going.

It’s intimidating, this type of dreaming and goal-setting. BHAGs are just that – too big to accomplish quickly (or likely on your own), kind of ugly to comprehend the scope of what it completely entails, and way too daring to actually undertake. But that’s what makes this life so fulfilling! We have a carte blanche to set a goal beyond ourselves and go for it!

I’m personally convicted to dream bigger than I have ever before and set a BHAG. For too long I’ve been content with my little goals that are easily accomplishable. Friends have heard me say, “My goal is to make it through this week.” Granted, those were really stressful weeks, but that’s just not acceptable. As a Christian, I firmly believe what John 10:10 says, “[Jesus has] come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” And so that is what I’m resolving to do. Dreams are good, but goals are better. And BHAGs are better yet (especially if they are God-inspired).

Here’s to a year of consistent blog writing and starting to write a book!

What’s the BHAG in your heart? I’d love to hear about it.