Tuesday, April 30, 2013

HELP! I Need to Focus

One day on my way to work I whispered a prayer to heaven.

My request?

Focus.

I need to learn how to focus and I need to learn in a hurry. Right now, as I’m writing this post there are eight browser widows open on my laptop, and I don’t even want to count the number open on my iPhone or my iPad. That doesn’t include the two MS Word documents I have open, as well. And please don’t make me confess to you the number of documents in progress and apps open on my iPad, right now. Pretty please.

My husband logged on to use my laptop one day and just got straight flustered because of all the stuff I had open. In my mind, I keep it all open for a reason. There’s usually some article I’ve stumbled across to which I plan to circle back. And usually I do circle back…eventually. In the meantime, I’m jumping back and forth from one website to the next. Heaven forbid I find a link that looks interesting within an article I’m reading. Then I go sliding down a rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland.

The same pattern rears its ugly mug in my daily routine in other ways. On any given clean-up day,  it’s not uncommon for me to look around to discover kitchen cabinets and a dishwasher open from where I was unloading dishes, but for some reason I stopped and started washing clothes. Meanwhile the clothes from the dryer are on the bed. I was folding those when I went to the bathroom to put in fresh towels. Next thing you know I’m cleaning the tub. By night fall, I lay my head to the pillow, and it takes me HOURS to fall asleep. Why? Because now I’m filled with anxiety from the overload of information and activity I’ve encountered and equally stressed from the fact I’ve accomplished nothing. Nada. ZILCH.

And tomorrow, if the good Lord wills, I awake and the cycle starts all over again. Bottom line is I have trouble picking one thing and completing it before starting another project. That often leads to accomplishing absolutely nothing or accomplishing something very, very slowly.

So the morning I prayed the prayer begging the Lord to help me get focused, I was fresh off another night of minimal sleep (if any) and I was desperate. I mean, I don’t drink caffeinated anything, people. When I’m tired, I’m STUCK! Not a good feeling. Later that day, I picked up my cell phone and scrolled through my twitter feed. When I read the words: How to Focus in an Age of Distraction: 10 Things to do Before you Click all I could do was shake my head and whisper “thank you Jesus.”

It was a blog post by Ann Voskamp – author of the New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. If you are not familiar with Ann Voskamp, you can learn more about her by clicking here. I was so thankful to read her post, I immediately decided I had to share it with you all. So if you’re anything like me and feeling the need to become a bit more focused, I encourage you to click here and take a few minutes to check out Ann’s suggestions in this post. If you’re not as scatter-brained as I can be, then woopty doo for you! No seriously, though, it’s always nice to share good information with someone you know who can use it. So feel free to forward this post. Maybe those you forward it to and I can start some type of focus group. Get it? Focus group. Oh never mind.

Until next time…

Coming up at Be Completely You….. An interview with national youth motivational speaker and sex education expert Jackie Brewton in conjunction with The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Don’t miss it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

On the Road to the Altar: 10 Days and Counting…

Wow, I can’t believe my last post was at 32 days. Where in the world did the time go? As I’m writing this evening, Wednesday November 14th, I have just over 3 hours left to go before I am officially 10 days away from the BIG day. The countdown is not just on, we are steamrolling toward the day we say, “I do.” I just chuckled when I typed those two little words.

Side note (SN): Has anyone seen the Xfinity commercial for readable voicemail(VM)? The dude at a wedding reads his VM that appears as a text message from a friend asking if he wants “to go to the game tonight,” and he exclaims, “I do” out loud, in the middle of the ceremony? I’m sorry, but that commercial makes me LOL each time I see it.

Ok, silliness aborted… 😉

The past few weeks have been quite busy. One highlight is we got our marriage license. WOW! That was pretty cool. It still feels a bit surreal.

On Monday November 5th, Sean and I started a concentrated time of prayer. We’re supplementing our prayers with reading God’s word on marriage, love and marriage and marriage and commitment (topical bible reading plans courtesy of YouVersion for iPhone) to cover a couple of weeks. Obviously marriage is the theme here. Sean would text me a one word prayer focus for each day. He emailed all of them to me a couple of days ago, and it dawned on me that I should invite you to pray with us.

The prayer focus for today (11/14/12) is obedience.

Scripture reference for today (from YouVersion‘s Marriage and Commitment reading plan) comes from 2 John 1:5:

Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.” (emphasis mine)

Love one another… Now that’s a pretty simple command to obey, don’t you agree?

Since starting this last Monday, I have truly enjoyed the time of prayer and being mindful of God’s word on marriage. It has given me much to ponder as I journey these last few days on the road to the altar. On some days the Lord has enlightened me in the most unexpected of ways.

That’s why I thought it’d be great to invite you to share this time with us for the few days we have left. We will be finished this Sunday, the 18th. I would love it if you’d use the word for the day and pray for your marriage (if you’re married) and marriages around you. Lord knows we all know marriages need prayer. If you’re unmarried, it’s certainly ok to pray for the marriage you hope to have, one day. I used to do so all the time. Just take the word of the day and ask the Lord to show you what He would like you to see in His word and in His will for your marriage, your family, and your life. His response to you may surprise you. I know He’s surprised me quite a bit.

Now I would like to believe I’ll have time to come back and post the word of the day each day. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, instead of setting myself up for almost certain failure, I will list all the prayer topics – past, present and future – below. Please join us in prayer. I would, also, love for you to share what is revealed to you in the comments. And if you have special prayer requests, by all means share them there, as well. I’d love to pray for you.

11/5/12: Faithfulness
11/6/12: Forgiveness
11/7/12: Vision
11/8/12: Understanding
11/9/12: Patience

We sorta, kinda skipped the weekend. 🙂

11/12/12: Strength
11/13/12: Trust
11/14/12: Obedience
11/15/12: Stewardship
11/16/12: Wisdom
11/17/12: Courage
11/18/12: Peace

Until next time (hopefully before I tie the knot)…

P.S. I’d count it quite a blessing if you’d include Sean and me in your prayers, as well. Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Prayer Room, Part 2

We ended our meeting with a professional hand shake. I said my “thank you and good-bye” to the Senior Editor for a well-known Christian book publisher and exited the room, making way for her next appointment to enter. With her business card in hand, it hit me. She expressed interest in reviewing my completed book proposal AND gave me her card. To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t know what to do with that. I should have been elated. Instead I was numb.

I’d had 3 meetings that day, 2 of which I was convinced I wanted to cancel. And now someone may be interested. Interesting

Through the strength of Christ, I’ve found legs to stand under layers of disappointment I’ve faced in recent years. Today, the reality that I’ve misplaced my sensitivity to the excitement and whimsical pleasure of possibility gripped me as I left the editor’s presence. At first I didn’t know where to go – back to my hotel suite or to slip quietly into the rear of the room to catch the end of the session I’d missed. The navigation system of my stylish black heels had someplace else in mind.

When I crossed the threshold of the prayer room, I almost froze. There were two women praying together, and I felt like any move I made would disrupt the precious atmosphere. I silently slipped into a chair and began to reflect. Moments later a woman from the prayer team joined me. My private nature almost told her I just wanted to be left alone in silence. Instead I shared my immediate thoughts and allowed her to pray for me.

After prayer, the sweet woman (whose name escapes me now) directed me to the tables in the back to find my name attached to a name of God. I rounded the table carefully scanning 650 names looking for my own. I was eager to find out to what name His Spirit led them to affix my name. My heart began to pound as I neared the end and had yet run across Monica Watkins.

As I turned to walk away, the enemy of my existence began his choral response in my head. He put on a grand performance, singing negative tunes insinuating I’d been forgotten, gone unnoticed, was unimportant, flown under the radar or fallen through the cracks undetected once again. He begged me to agree with him that I shouldn’t have been there, at the conference, meeting with publishers, or pitching a book.

“You haven’t arrived,” he taunted. “The epicenter o f destiny is all in your head.”

The woman who prayed for me was watching the entire time. She whispered to me, “Did you find it?” When I told her no, she immediately jumped up to help me look. She took one side of the table, and I took the other. In no time she bid me come.

There I was (last vertical slip at the top of the page):

Attached to Jehovah, the great I AM!

The words written below the name are:

 “I Am”: The one who is the self-existent One

God never changes. His promises never fail. When we are faithless, He is faithful. We need to obey Him.

Exodus 3:14, Exodus 6:2-4, Exodus 34:5-7, Psalm 102

If you’re looking for a place to spend your devotion time today, the verses above may be a nice place to start. They have been for me. Later on, I’ll share which verses stood out most and how I am finding peace in these passages.

Completely ME,