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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Getting Back on Track and Becoming Focused

Authenticity About My Struggles Professionally

Let me get to the point.

I have struggled spiritually and professionally for almost two decades now. The struggle has been: What does God want me to write? I know without question or doubt that God wants me to write. 

What is His purpose for me and my pen?

What does He want me to write with Him?

Where is God Leading Me? What is My Purpose?

These are the questions I have struggled with for decades.

What is Wrong with Me?

That question is one I ask, not out of concern, but rather out of frustration with myself as I keep repeating the same mistakes spiritually and professionally. Yes. I do the same thing over and over again. Repeatedly. And the worst part is I do not learn from my errors. For if I did, I would not do the same thing again, would I?

I shake my head at myself as I realize I am off again personally and professionally. I realize I stepped off the path or purpose the Lord has for me. But, that's precisely the rub. What path does God have for me, versus what path do I want God to have for me? The former is far more important than the latter and matters a great deal more.

My Lack of Focus and Mental Discipline

I seem to have the habit of wandering. I get sidetracked and lose my way several times a day, never mind a week, month, year, and decade. 

My thought life is a mess. 

Yes. I suffer from shiny-object (!!!) syndrome. It's a pretty serious case of it, too. 

I lack focus and certainly need a great deal more mental discipline and self-control. 

I hope today is a new day and a new chapter in my life personally (spiritually, journaling, eating right, mentally, emotionally, socially, etc.) and professionally (my blogging and writing).

The Next Bright Idea

Yesterday... Wait. No. Actually it was the day before... I started feeling the tug to my next shiny-object and bright idea (!!! -- I use those three exclamation marks like a cartoon bubble of my thinking.)

My heart started to yearn for something more. I know whenever my heart "feels" something, I need to check in with the Lord and listen a great deal more than I think or feel because my feelings are fickle and are shallow and blow with the end. 

Feelings tend to lead me astray and are short-lived. Feelings are impacted by events and people and are shallow facets of the totality of what make me me. Feelings are temporary and can get me to do and think some pretty outlandish things. This is why I know it is critical for me to listen more to the Lord and cling to the Word (of God; the Holy Bible) when I "feel" or "sense" something. Reading the Word of God helps me to turn from feeling and sensing to concrete thought and reasoning. 

Consequently, over the last couple of days, when I started to feel and yearn for something more, I turned to God to ask what I am needing. I knew I was off track again (or maybe I should say still). 

When I realize I have made a mess of things again, I dig down deep and turn to the Lord as I know how I can only rely on him. I will get off track if I do not. 

So what is my hindrance? What are my obstacles to a focused thought-life? What is keeping me from living my true purpose professionally?

Getting My Act Together

What am I willing to commit to?
What am I fearful of?
What keeps holding me back?
Why am I running?
What am I refusing to face?
How can I stay focused?

I need to think on those things and do some free writing (Stream of Consciousness writing, which I call doing a S.O.C, which I also refer to as the page dump or capturing it on the page.)

Personally and Spiritually

If my professional life is so chaotic, then I cannot help but wonder what is going on with me personally. My marriage is good. My weight is a yo-yo. My mental life, my thought life, is unfocused. My emotions are fine. 

However, when it comes to my Bible reading and prayer, I am all over the place and get easily sidetracked. I lack the mental discipline and stick-to-it nature. I lack focus and self-control in my thought life, which bleeds over to my spiritual life, which bleeds over to my professional life. 

I now acknowledge the glaringly obvious. 

I am unfocused in my spiritual life and that is the underlying challenge I have. 

How can I expect to know what God wants me to do with my writing unless I am completely and consistently on track with Him, with my Bible reading, and with my prayer life. This is the diamond in the rough. This is the countless treasure. This is the only thing that matters.

I need to stop trying to write. 

I just need to be in His Word and journal about what I read.

Period. That's it. This is the answer.

My Current Bible Reading Plan: Reading the Bible Through in "A Year"

I have been horrible about reading the Bible all the way through cover to cover over the last few years. (Meaning I have not done so.) I study it consistently, but just have not read it all the way through.

Therefore, I have determined to read only the Bible for at least the next 91.25 days. (I will explain that funny amount of days in a moment.)

I am using a chronological Bible reading plan compiled by Guthrie on my YouVersion App.

If I want to read the Bible all the way through in 91.25, that means I need to read 4 days each day of the 365-day plan.

Yesterday, I read Days 1 to 4 of 365. Needless to say, I am current so far with my reading and notes. 

My Favorite Bible Study Method

Bible Reading Questions:
1 Initial thoughts and/or notes
2 Who is this passage about?
3 What happens?
4 Where did this occur?
5 When did this take place?
6 Why did this happen? 
7 What do we learn about the Lord here? 
8 What so I learn about sin from here? 
9 What should I not do?
10 What example is there to follow? 
11 What does the Lord want me to learn here? 
12 Observe: What does the passage say? 
13 Cross-References: 
13a What more does this Bible say about these words, phrases, and verses?
13b How do these cross-references help me more fully understand this passage?
14 Interpret: What does the passage mean? 
15 Apply: How does this truth apply to my life? 
16 What lesson can I gain from this? 
17 Prayer

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