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Oh, that is what you said!

Have you ever just chased your tail round and round? The harder you seem to work at solving something, the more difficult it seems to become to solve it. You never seem to "catch up", never seem to fully "grasp" the goal - the solution seems to evade you and you try repeatedly to solve whatever it is that stands before you. In the end, you just sit there in total frustration, more in a muddle than you were when you first began, wondering if there are any 'untried solutions' to the issue. Just as quickly as we started, we find ourselves out of energy to continue to journey! We stop short of the goal - never really crossing the finish line. What a waste to have started and then to not finish it. We are reminded of the importance of staying focused. We are also reminded of the senselessness of relying on anything other than Jesus to give us prominence or importance in the Kingdom of God.

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." (Philippians 3:12-14)

We need to be insanely open about the struggle (the strain) it takes to reach the goal set out before us. Contrary to our frequent opinion about ourselves, we are not the "expert", but we are to know the voice of our God beckoning us onward - toward him. Here we find the point of most of our failure - it is based in the actual hearing of God's voice beckoning us onward. We all struggle with the "stretch" once in a while, but sometimes we struggle more than others - either because we hear and don't respond, or because we just refuse to hear. "So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it."  (Philippians 3:15-16)

Anything less than total commitment really is not true or authentic commitment! Commitment suggests engagement - active participation from those involved. Therefore, anything less is really "dis-engagement". The reminder to us is focused on the need for total engagement. Throughout scripture, we see accounts of many who start well, then get off-course along the way. Why? It usually begins in the "listening". We "hear" a lot of stuff - what we "listen to" is what affects us the deepest. I have shared many times - listening is an action, not a passive process. Listening is indeed engagement. This past week my BFF needed to run by a store to find a particular item. I "heard" her announce the retailer she desired to visit and told her we'd stop on the way home. What I failed to "hear" was which one of these retailer locations she desired to visit. I chose the wrong one and she was delayed by one day in finding her purchase because of my 'listening, but not hearing'.

It makes no sense to hear clear direction and then ignore it, right? Yet, we do all the time! We read God's Word, become acquainted with his direct will for us, then just go on without ever "conforming" to his direct will. It is all a matter of focus - the clearer our focus, the easier it is to stay on track. It is God who gives us clarity - it is up to us what we do with the clarity we receive! Just sayin!

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