Focus On What Matters

Focus On What Matters December 10, 2021

I love the holiday season. Christmas fills me with sentimentality. And the lights and nativities bring reverence and sweetness to every evening. Even driving home at the end of the day, with the shorter daylight hours, can be a Christmas light-watching tour. And naturally, we tend to focus more readily on what matters.

My favorite part of this season, along with the lights, is the Christmas movies. Some of them are so well done and thought-provoking. I recently watched a movie about a woman who was a workaholic. She somehow got into an accident and got to be an angel helping others appreciate Christmas. The actress who played our heroine really touched my heart. I saw her gain a new perspective, and she brought me along for the ride.

 

Perspective granted

How many times have you gotten caught up in life, in the routine of things, and forgot to come up for air? I used to work downtown in Center City Philadelphia.

I was an executive assistant for a couple of commercial real estate brokers. They were successful guys. And I found myself getting wrapped up in the glamor of downtown and high-powered jobs.

One of my brokers, John, noticed my focus. He was retiring and invited me to lunch to thank me for helping him and to say goodbye. We talked. He was at the end of his career, and I was just starting mine.

He told me that he never regretted his career, but as it wound down, he was surprised how many people forgot him. But the ones who never forgot him were his family. He said that as he looked back on his life that he wished he had been there more for his family. But not once did he wish he had been in one more meeting or one more deal.

 

Pondering about focus

That movie, and John’s advice, have been swirling around my head today. I left corporate America when my son was born. And from the outside, I look like my family focus is right on point. But as a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, I’m still easily distracted from what really matters.

I find myself living for the hour I spend alone at night. And I endure my teenage son’s crazy antics and sigh with relief when lessons are all done.

Of course, I stay awake late into the night with a list of all the chores still to be done dancing in my head.

Where is my perspective? I am living the dreams I had years ago. At about the time I had lunch with John years ago, I was going through fertility treatments. My husband and I tried for seven years to have our son. We lost three babies in the process. Our son is a true miracle.

And I will never forget the joy with which I “retired” to be a mom. If I were in a Christmas movie, this is about the time the magical messenger would roll their eyes and slap me with a flashback.

 

Find your Focus

Do you ever find yourself in the same position? You are surrounded by blessings but get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that you forget to be grateful. How can we remember to focus on our blessings?

 

1- Stay close to your covenants

Today we went to an exotic car showroom. My son is studying car engines at school, and we have made many field trips to various dealerships. But today stood out because none of the others had a million-dollar car in their showroom, as this one did. I must admit that I was dazzled.

As we looked at these incredibly expensive cars, a thought entered my mind. ‘If I just didn’t pay my tithing for a few years, I could more easily afford one of these cars.’ WHAT? Where did that come from? And then I remembered the council my dad gave me years ago. He told me that we pay tithing to keep ourselves focused and humble.

Setting aside 10% of your increase not only helps build the kingdom of God, but it helps us focus on eternity. Like our temple garments, paying Tithing is an outward sign of an inward promise. It also comes with the promise that we will always have enough. It’s a huge comfort in a world where nothing is guaranteed, and many people suffer from deprivation. Exotic cars are fun, but not worth the loss of the blessings that tithing brings.

 

2- Read the scriptures

Sadly, I have been slacking in my scripture study. When I stopped writing this last January, I just didn’t have the urgent need to be closer to the Lord.

I still prayed and we still did church, etc. But there is something special about taking the time to read the Lord’s words. I need that focus.

My dad always told me that if you want to talk to God, you should pray. But if you wanted God to talk to you, then you needed to read the scriptures. I’ve learned that he is right. There is something wonderful about the scriptures. No matter how many times you read them, there is a new message.

I’m convinced that message is the Holy Ghost whispering to your heart. Life presents you with trials, and as you read God’s words, the Holy Ghost can more easily communicate with you.

 

3- Read Your Patriarchal Blessing

A Patriarchal blessing is a wonderful guide for your life. When you get your blessing, the Lord will tell you of your own special talents and gifts. He will also let you know some of the things you have been sent to Earth to do.

For me, my Patriarchal blessing has been a great tool. Whenever I am looking at a big change or pondering how I can be better, I refer to my Patriarchal blessing. It keeps me focused on eternity, and reminds me that I am here on Earth for a reason.

When I was a teen one of my leaders suggested I memorize my blessing. I made a sincere effort, but only parts of my blessing are memorized. However, the Lord has been good enough to bring to my mind parts of my blessing when I need them.

I suspect that is why my leader suggested I memorize the blessing. Because the Lord can bring to your mind something that is already there a lot easier than something that is not.

 

May you find focus

I know it’s not an extensive list. But these truths will keep you from becoming that pitiable person in the Christmas movies. If Scrooge had the restored Gospel, he never would have needed those three ghosts to get him back on track.

I am SO LUCKY to be my son’s mom. I am SO BLESSED to get to home school him. And I am grateful for Christmas movies, kindhearted men, and my Savior, who bring me back to reality. Stress is always part of life. But the key is to focus on what matters. The chores don’t matter. They never stop honestly. The people, the love, the growth, THAT is what matters.

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