Staying Focused

Focus. A word that has extra meaning for me this year.

You may remember that I chose focus as my theme word for 2012 and wanted to apply it in particular to my writing. I’ve reminded myself of it—and the Lord has brought it to mind as well—numerous times so far this year in order to stay on task with my main projects.

I witnessed the perfect example of staying focused not long ago. I got to watch a bird build a nest one morning. The photo above is of that very bird at work. You might recognize the shot from my Summer Photo Fun: For the Birds post.

I had taken my camera outside, hoping to spot a photo-worthy sight. I wasn’t disappointed. I spied a robin building her nest in a neighbor’s tree. Lucky for me, it was on a lower branch that overhangs our yard. Photo-worthy indeed, huh? Amazing to watch and fun to photograph, too.

As the bird worked steadily, I approached more and more closely, unable to believe how close she actually let me get. It was almost as if she had blinders on. Nothing distracted her from the all-important task at hand.

She even seemed to work in rhythm. She flew to the ground, seeking out the next twig or blade of dried grass to include in her newest home, and then with her latest find grasped safely in her beak, she’d fly back up to her nest-in-progress and place it just so, tamping it down and forming it to her specifications. If she gave my interloping presence any thought, she didn’t let it show. She just worked on.

The qualities that enabled my feathered example to finish her project will help me complete my work as well. Steady work, ignoring distractions, finding a rhythm that works, using the best materials, skilled craftsmanship, and perseverance will all work together to help me create written works that can touch the lives of others.

Focus. A quality I need day in and day out. Next time I get distracted or feel tempted to give up on my dreams, I hope I remember my mentor with wings. I hope I remember to work on.

“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:11 NIV

*Where do you need focus right now?

*Don’t miss out on the “Back At It” Giveaway. Deadline to enter is noon Sept. 2.

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out earlier this month. It’s still not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!


  1. Love these thoughts, Cheryl, since I definitely need to find more focus. I am a notorious procrastinator. I am really trying to create job lists for myself to do each day, to try to keep on track with housework and writing. It is so easy to get distracted, and spend the hours day dreaming, occupying myself with non-essential busy work.

  2. The job lists are a great idea, Mairead. Hope they help. I do something similar on my monthly calendar, and I think it does indeed help me. Good luck! :)

  3. Hello Cheryl,

    I am grabbing the focus idea this week to get my school year ready for next week, and to settle some other tasks too.

    Thanks! Have a wonderful last week or so of summer — enjoying those birds too!

    Jennifer Dougan

  4. Jennifer, so glad the post on focus came at the right time for you. Hope you get everything accomplished that you need to this week!

  5. This is such a great post! I think we all need to be reminded to keep focused in certain areas.

  6. I have so many ways to focus right now, it’s hard to organize my thoughts. I just try to breathe in, breathe out, and take one faithful step at a time.

    Oh to just have a nest to build! I could probably handle that one thing.


  7. Thanks, Alicia. You are right. I know I regularly need a reminder to focus.

    Elaine, I know you are swamped right now. I’m feeling swamped now, too. I like your strategy — breathe in, breathe out, and take one faithful step at a time. I needed to hear that — thanks!

  8. Keep focused, dear ;) It sure can be a hard thing to do!!!

  9. Thanks, Ashley — appreciate your encouragement!

  10. Take it from a life coach, you are giving some great advice and insight into healthy living.

  11. Thanks so much, Carlie! Appreciate your encouraging words!

  12. Hi Cheryl! Focus is the word God keeps giving me lately. So when I saw this post on your front page I knew I had to read it. I’m so glad I did. What a wonderful story of this momma bird, focusing on the task at hand. Very encouraging! Praying that I can do the same. Thank you for including the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians 8:1. God had a lot to say to me in it. And I’m sure I’ll be focusing on it for some time to come. Blessings!

    • Connie, so glad you discovered this post! Love how something I wrote years ago fits so well with God is speaking to you lately. God is so good to give us the messages we need to hear. Blessings to you as you focus on your tasks at hand!

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