August 5, 2018

How to Stay Focused in the Middle of Chaos

“And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12 (KJV)

This is an era of rapid change in our lives and in the world. It’s easy to be confused by a continual flow of communication from many sources. Some of it is useful and truthful (emphasis on “some”), but it won’t always apply to us. For that reason, focus is necessary.

We can’t let the flood of information drown out what’s really important. Here are some facts about crucial truths. They…
  • Require searching out.
  • Resonate quietly in our hearts.
  • Reveal themselves step by step—so we can handle them.
Parable of the Sower

Matthew, chapter 13, includes this famous story. The passage beautifully illustrates that, while the seed (information/the gospel) is always the same, the ground where it falls isn’t. The seeds were received four different ways:
  • Got eaten immediately by birds.
  • Fell into stony places. Couldn’t take root. Withered away.
  • Landed in thorns and got choked by them.
  • Settled in good ground and brought forth fruit—tons of it.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll concentrate on the seeds that got choked by thorns. Some adjectives for this condition are overwhelmed and crowded. Let's look at some solutions:

1.  Tune Into The Quiet Wisdom

1 Kings, Chapter 19

The Prophet Elijah is at Horeb.  He comes out of his cave to see what’s going on as he hears and sees the following:
  • A mighty wind
  • An earthquake
  • A Fire
Verse 12, as listed above, says God isn’t in any of the powerful natural phenomena. He manifests in a still, small voice. This voice promotes, and comes from, a feeling of peace. That’s why we need to slow down in order to receive divine guidance.

2.  Take Life One Step at a Time

The average person can feel strangled with an overload of transformations. These may be wanted or unwanted, expected or unexpected:
  • Several of my friends have recently moved, or are in the process of moving.
  • Childbirth is a pleasantly intense phenomenon. The parents’ focus will be mainly on the new baby.
  • Viruses usually require immediate solutions. We can even get hospitalized for some illnesses.
Our powers of concentration can be limited. Even simple processes may demand our full attention.

Autism—I have worked with both autistic adults and children. One of the main characteristics of the condition is the need for simplicity and repetition. Instructions should be communicated clearly, one step at a time. Activities must be easily achievable. Autistic people are easily overloaded with information. This brings on frustration, and the behaviors that accompany it.
Kindergarten—As an educator, I have dealt with many students in this grade. These children need one-to-three sentence instructions. For reinforcement, the instructor will repeat directions multiple times. For instance, when the teacher demonstrates how to use scissors, it will be a three-step process:
  • Mimic using scissors with hands.
  • Walk safely holding scissors.
  • Cut paper correctly.
My hearing—I have a hearing loss. I wear hearing aids, but my hearing still isn’t perfect. When my attention is compromised by fatigue, illness, or simultaneous demands, my hearing skills can seem to shut down. I almost revert to reading lips. I might as well be listening to gibberish. That happens only when I’m overwhelmed (which is more often than I’d like to admit).
My Conclusion
We all have so much going on in our lives. It’s easy to become overloaded. The remedies are to focus and to take life in simple steps. That’s the only way to grab onto what’s really important.
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Are you still enough to receive deep truths?

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