Posts Tagged ‘focus’

Dave Weiss Pop Art FocusI have so many ideas for so many things to do. I’d love to start podcasting. I have an idea for a game. I’m chomping at the bit to get out speaking again and I miss my church. I have a book sitting on this very computer that is nearing completion and a master’s thesis that is starting to come together. I’m thinking about doing some creative ministry meet-ups on Zoom. I’m also debating whether to start another website where I can consolidate all these creative ministry ideas into a more useful format. The ideas are flowing but of course I can’t do them all right now. I need to focus. And that’s just the professional/ministry end of life.

As I’ve said on many occasions, ideas are a blessing and too many ideas is even better, but most of the time you can’t do them and you have to focus. The best way to handle it, is to record them all and prioritize. There are a few things that have to be done. In these turbulent times, I have a church that needs and deserves strong and innovative leadership, and needless to say, that’s got to be the top professional priority. Next in line for a variety of reasons I can’t go into here, I need to get that masters finished, so that moves to number two. Does that mean all the other stuff goes away? No. The corona virus eliminated the speaking for a while, but things are coming up, so wisdom dictates that I keep working on getting that ready, some time will go to that. Beyond that I feel a calling to help the church embrace creativity. Does that go to the back burner? Hardly. I have a church in which I can devote my creative energy and share that with the world through a channel like this one. In the mean time, the other projects are on my computer, where I can add to them as ideas pop into my head.

At the end of the day, the purpose of our lives is to glorify God and do His will. We do that best when we are faithful and finish what we start. Finishing requires focus.

What’s your ministry focus today? Are you finishing what you started? Start, finish and share it with the world. In order to do this, you need to focus.

I’ve just returned from my denomination’s annual conference. This year we put aside all new business, and spent our time apart from the contentious issues that threaten to tear us apart and instead focusing on finding a vision that can bring us together. It was a valiant effort and next year’s conference will reveal the conclusion and probably whether or not we remain in tact. I thought this conference was by far the most positive and productive one I have attended, but there’s still a problem and I had a hard time putting my finger on it until I was reminded of this song.

Sometimes I think gathering together to vote on what we should do is the ultimate in hubris, patterning the church after our government as if that is working so well for the government. I hear people say that our conference is the highest decision making authority in our denomination, and if that is the case, that is the problem. Roberts’ Rules and simple and two thirds majorities are human constructs. Brothers and sisters, God’s people must follow God, even if they follow Him alone.

Our opinions and documents and statements, and for that matter, our churches and ministries are pointless and meaningless unless they follow God and His Word. Remember what it’s all about.

A man dying on the cross saving the world,
rising from the dead, doing what He said He would do.

Work to honor Him and stand for Him, even if you stand alone.

So here I sit. It’s been three or four days since my last post, a post where I proclaimed a turning point in my thought process and a direction I intend to wholeheartedly pursue. And I’m stuck. Now I’ll be the first one to admit, I have really been busy and this week will continue to be pretty intensely busy, but that’s not the biggest struggle. The biggest struggle has been a lack of focus and to some degree vision. Have you been there?

The problem is not a shortage of ideas. No the ideas are coming very quickly, the problem is taking those ideas and making them tangible. Taking the visions to reality. I see things in my mind, but I can’t quite figure out how to make them real. In some cases, I struggle with the “wouldn’t it be cools.” You know like “Wouldn’t it be cool if I animated it?”, or “Maybe it would be cool if I made this into a multimedia presentation.” The idea gets bigger and bigger, but it remains just that an idea. Lots of cool dreams, but nothing gets done.

What I need is to focus. How about you? I need to get an idea and run with it. I need to start putting things on paper. I need to look at the things that I am doing and decide which things are truly productive, and which things are just “time vampires.” You know, those things that suck up my valuable time. I need to resist the urge to go to social media and put my nose to the grindstone. I need to do what I can get done today and if a project hits a stuck point, I need to quickly decide if this is something to power through, look for help or shelve it for something I can accomplish and finish while I search for what’s missing in the stuck project. I need to say things like, “Did I really need to enter into one more creation a day challenge or would my time have been better spent making my own dreams reality.

To be clear, it’s not like I’m getting nothing done. I am working hard for my church, I’m writing sermons, preaching revivals, working on a master’s class, and trying to get my speaking schedule full not to mention being a husband, father and grandfather, and that is the other thing we all need to remember. Frustration with not getting our dream projects done is not the same as doing nothing. Sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses, realize things are being accomplished and know that it’s okay. Sometimes the biggest enemy of vision and focus is that self-defeating feeling that you can never do enough, or the need to do one more thing.


It’s a little thing. Most of the time you don’t think about it. Then you don’t have it and you realize how important it really is. In my case it was my computer power cord. I work on a MacBook Pro most of the time and I took it with me to my church to get a lot of work done. Problem was, I left my cord sitting on the floor by my favorite work space at home. Now this was not a major tragedy, I have a desk top at my office, so I still got things done, but all my design software is on the MacBook. Of course the MacBook also was not fully charged so some of the things I wanted to get done did not get done and I ended up outlining my sermon with a pen and paper.

Yes, I know, “Oh the horror.” Some of my less techno-savvy friends would want to give me a Gibbs slap (watch NCIS if you’re not familiar with that term). Yes I am fully aware that we survived as a species for millennia without MacBook Pros but that’s not where I am going with this. A power cord seems like a little thing until you don’t have it, at which point, it becomes a monumental inconvenience.

This is where I’m going—the importance of the little things—the things you don’t miss until you don’t have them. Sometimes in our world of big picture focus, we need to take the time and refocus. Some people say the devil is in the details and a forgotten cord would certainly feel like it’s devilishly inconvenient, but I think sometimes God is in the details, not in the hurricane, not in the earthquake, but in the still small voice, a whisper. Romans 1:20 talks about the evidence of God being seen in what he created and when we look at those intricacies, we see the level of precision he put into everything he made.

So in your pursuit of big stuff, don’t forget the seemingly little things (this is especially important when it comes to our relationships), the important moments, the simple things, your health, the things you push to the sides to get “important” stuff done, the little things that will one day reveal themselves as having been huge. There will always be work to be done. Believe me there is never shortage of things to fill our days, but those little things can really matter.

Don’t miss them.

From time to time I am going to share things just as a reminder. You may look at this loud, garish and slightly tacky graphic and think “…and he calls himself an artist???” I made it loud and obnoxious on purpose because I think it is something we all need to remember, especially those of us who work in the creative realm. This came from a conversation at a really great men’s breakfast I attended this morning. We can’t choose not to fail and remain a creative. The very nature of what we do demands that we try and fail. We can’t choose to succeed either, that is often in the eyes of the beholder of what we create. What we can choose is our focus. There are plenty of joys in the creative life. They are what we find when we choose to focus on how much fun what we get to do really is and the ones who are blessed by what we do. If you’re like me and so many other creatives, you an get a thousand compliments and one detractor and we focus on the detractor. If that’s you…


Celebrate the victories!
celebrate success

This is one of the hardest things for me and it probably is for you as well. It is for many creatives. Our brains are usually going 90 miles a minute through 60 different ideas and to be clear, having a lot of ideas is a great thing for a creative. Ideas our life blood and they are a blessing from God. The problem is having too many things going simultaneously becomes distracting and can actually keep us from our goals. Here are a few things you can do to keep focused:

1. Post your goals.

Remember yesterday we talked about writing your goals down. Having them somewhere where you can see them will help you to run your ideas through a filter. Each time you get a new idea, run it by your vision and your goals. If the idea will not move you closer to those goals(and be tough about this) it will become a distraction so put it aside.

2. Store your ideas.

I did just day that ideas are a blessing from God. That means they have immense value. You don’t want to trash them just because they don’t fit with your goals. Write them down. Sketch them out. I have a shelf filled with sketch books that contain drawings that I can return to at a moments notice. I also keep a sketch book with me at all times for when inspiration hits. In this wayI can store the idea and get quickly back to this things which are priorities.

3. Prioritize.

We all have limited time so look at all the things you have to get done in a given day and prioritize them. DO NOT look at your huge pile of things and get defeated. Pick the things you can get done and do them. Each step toward your goal is a step forward.

4. Breathe.

God commanded the Israelites to take a Sabbath under penalty of death. Seems like rest is pretty important to Him. Taking a break allows us to remember something very important. It all depends on Him and we depend on Him and it doesn’t all depend on us. If you think that everything rests on your shoulders, the wrong one is on the throne in your life. Remember these goals are God-given. God is not a vicious task master ready to step on you if you fail to keep them. He loves you and he’s allowing you to work by his side. I’ve shared this picture before. I share it here as a reminder.


I had to paint the shed. My son was three years old at the time and he wanted to “help.” I knew it was going to be a mess. I knew I could have done it faster myself. but every time I look at this picture it brings me unspeakable joy. My child wanted to be like his daddy. This is our efforts at serving God. He doesn’t need our help. He could do it better and faster without us, but it brings Him joy. Don’t burn yourself out serving the Lord. That’s actually a form of idolatry. Instead, love and serve Him and rest in Him.

Stay focused on Him and the goal will take care of itself.

Dave Weiss Pop Art Focus
I can’t speak for you so I’ll just speak for me. As a creative, there are times when I really wrestle with focus. There are so many ideas going through my head at any one given time that I have a hard time locking in on just one. Or sometimes the difficulty is I have two things in mind to do, one is going to be fun, the other is more like drudgery but needs to be done to keep the ball moving forward. Have you been there? There are times when it’s just really hard to focus. Here are a few things I have found that seem to help:

  • The distracting idea usually has value but it will keep you from getting where you need to be with the more pressing matter. I always keep a sketch book or a journal nearby. That way I can take a short break, write my idea down or do a quick sketch .Once I know I’ve preserved it, I can usually put it aside and get back to the matter at hand.
  • Keep your mission statement nearby. Sometimes a distracting idea is just that a distraction. Compare it to your mission statement and don’t rationalize. If an idea won’t serve to move your mission forward, it’s going to hold you back. Also for the Christ following creative the question, “does this idea honor God?” is a great filter for discernment.
  • In cases of procrastination, have a clear picture of the goal and the end result. That will usually help you to push through the drudgery, get it done and “ship it.”
  • Eliminate external distractions. Web 2.0 is one of the greatest inventions the world has seen for connecting people and communicating ideas, it is also, at times, a colossal distraction. Look at the things in your day that are robbing you of your focus and remove them from your creative/productive time.
  • And of course the biggest thing is pray, asking God to help you to focus.

Ideas are the lifeblood of the creative, but too many, unrestrained will distract you and keep you from accomplishing anything. Honor the idea, record it and get on with what you need to do.

How’s your focus these days? What are you procrastinating about? How can you regain focus?