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Did you select a word or phrase for focus this year?


This week I came across a journal from 2018 and discovered that I had chosen a “word” for the year. 

I vaguely remember this. Just kidding. I remember it well. 

My word was “simplify” and as I read through the pages, I realized how I actually did become aware of my tendency to overcomplicate E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

While I can’t say I think about the whole process I worked through that year, I can see today where the effort to focus on the concept of what it means to simplify has impacted me with some changes that are positive. 

A couple of examples are:

 I know I have become far less annoying placing my order at a restaurant because I forced myself to simply read the choices and remind myself this is not my last meal on earth and even if it is, so what?

I find myself more frequently recognizing when I hit a stall in my daily tasks and I can self-talk to my inner child with a firm “Just do the thing that needs to be done and quit procrastinating.” I realize that as a result of my 2018 effort I have improved skills in parenting myself. 

I have become less attached to holding on to things just because we might need them some day…including thoughts and memories that are not helpful or productive. 

I wouldn’t have attributed growth in these areas to this one word focus experiment if I had not captured the process in a notebook. 


In the same way, this morning I was reminded of another year when I decided to start every morning’s journal entry for my quiet time by writing these words right after recording the date. 

“The love of Christ compels me”

I realized this morning where I got the idea when I read Oswald Chambers’ writing in My Utmost for His Highest. 

He talks about this verse from 2 Corinthians 5:14 in his devotional writing for February 4.

Using the life and ministry of Paul, he points out that Paul cared not what others thought of his words and actions because his motivation was always from the perspective of God’s love for him. 

I remember how writing the verse every day helped me remember that my self-centered DNA can mix this up and cause me to derail in every attempt to serve well the God who saved me. 

Because my human nature wants to twist that and derive all motivation for honoring God by transposing the Scripture to read…

“My love of Christ compel’s me”

But the verse reads…“

The love of Christ ….Christ’s love… compels me

The pressing forward that drives me needs to be the knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ. 

HIS love.

His love for me.

His love for others. 

His love for God. 

The love that belongs to Him.

The love of Jesus Christ produces the drive and motivation in me that propels me forward throughout each and every day. 

That is what I desperately wanted to engrave on my mind and heart that year. 

And to do so means that I have to listen to one voice and one voice only. 

I am thankful God gives me the power of His Spirit in me to stay focused. 

Oh sure, I get distracted and I get off track. 

I make mistakes and blatantly rebel or childishly argue with the Spirit. 

But my heart is set on being compelled…forced to act…based on the love of Christ and so I thank Him for grace and mercy…for do-overs and repentance when I mess it up and get it backwards. 

My one desire is that the things I do are done in compulsion; as in “I can’t NOT do them”…because I am so aware of the love of Christ.

In this, I have to understand and accept that my actions will not always please others.

So I also have to pray that if I offend, it is only because the work of love on the Cross of Christ is so evidently displayed in me that the offense is His. 

And if I realize that my offense was because I got off track, then I need to apologize and seek forgiveness and work toward healing and restoring relationship with the offended party.

I am a sinner, saved by grace, compelled by the love of Christ and empowered by His Spirit to bring glory and honor to His Name wherever He places me today. I don’t know how to do that and so I ask for help and guidance; fully relying on the God who called me, to show me the way. 

I pray you are seeking Him each and every day and that you know deep in your soul how much He loves you <3

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