I recently got glasses. I really needed glasses for years, but I refused to acknowledge the need. I assumed that there was a worldwide conspiracy to make words too small and blurry. Now, everything is in focus. I can see clearly. The headache from constant squinting and straining is gone.

Sometimes life can get out of focus in a way glasses can't correct. It happens when we try to keep up a frantic pace and we lose sight of what's most important. We try to focus on a hundred things at once, which basically means we're not focused on anything at all. Life seems blurry and chaotic, but it doesn't have to be this way!

I recently read an eye-opening book called "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less." It helped me refocus on what matters most. Though "Essentialism" wasn't a "Christian book," it reminded me of one of Jesus' famous teachings on "pruning". Pruning is the counterintuitive principle of cutting away in order to produce more growth. Less can create more.

When we become willing to cut away the distractions from life, what's most important can come into focus. We can live with more productivity and less stress. Below are the five keys to a life in focus which can improve every aspect of life.

There's power in focus. When you shine a flashlight on the wall, it doesn't even produce heat, but when you focus that same light into a laser beam, it can cut through the wall.

A life in focus requires the following:


F-Faith and Family First

O-Others before yourself.

C-Cut out the distractions.

U-Unplug as often as you can.

S-Simplify your life.

Let's take a look at these one at a time...

1. Faith and family first

When you get to your deathbed, your faith and your family will be all that matters to you, so don't wait until then to make them your priority!

2. Others before yourself

Serving others is an antidote to the toxicity of selfishness in our culture. Selfishness will rob you of your purpose, but serving others can help you discover your purpose. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wisely said, "Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be great, because everyone can serve."

3. Cut out the distractions

Once you've established what's most important, relentlessly eliminate anything that's not helping you achieve your purpose (which is your faith and family and changing the world through your service to others). If you don't learn to say "NO" your life will become overwhelmed by a bunch of demands you should have never allowed in your life in the first place.

4. Unplug as often as you can

This one is really hard for me, but I'm learning that it's vital to my sanity and the health of my relationships. Electronics get recharged by being plugged in, but people get recharged by unplugging. Shut down your phone and computer more often. It will recharge your mind.

5. Simplify your life

One of the most peaceful places on earth I've visited is Casa Shalom Orphanage in Guatemala. In my time there, I didn't watch tv, or surf facebook, or climb the corporate ladder, or buy a bunch of stuff. I simply woke up when the rooster crowed, hung out with kids, did some manual labor, ate some rice and beans, played soccer (badly), watched the sunset, and had a wonderful time!

Instead of trying to add more stuff and more stress to your life, look for ways to de-clutter and simplify. It will do wonders for your peace of mind and your quality of life! Stop running a pointless race, and find rest for your soul.

This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.

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