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Cindy Dennis

Executive Director

Don't Get Distracted

So many favorite memories growing up in Southern California were shared with the Bradford family.

Their children were more like cousins and the parents Bud and Penny, were like a dear aunt and uncle.

Holidays, spring and summer breaks were constantly filled with adventures. I always loved the water and so did they, so it was not uncommon to be doing something fun on or near the water year after year.

Going to Catalina Island was a special treat. The two hour boat trip offered spectacular views especially as we neared the Catalina Island coast line. Swimming in the cold Pacific water was always a thrill and occasionally we would be visited by a black seal. Memories of Catalina Island got me thinking about Florence Chadwick who also loved to swim in the ocean.

At age 34 she attempted to become the first woman to swim the 21 miles across the Catalina Channel from Catalina Island to Palos Verde on the California coast. On the day she set out to achieve this goal, the weather was challenging because not only was the ocean freezing cold, the fog was so thick she could barely see ahead of her. The tides and current were against her and to make matters worse; there were sharks in the area. She attempted anyway and swam almost 16 hours, but when the fog never lifted it caused her to doubt her ability to finish. The fog made it impossible for her to know where she was.

When she asked her support crew to take her out of the water, she discovered she was less than a mile from the coast. She could have reached her goal if she had just stayed in the water a few minutes longer. Two months later she tried again, and though the fog was just as dense, this time she kept going and reached the shore.

We have all experienced foggy times when trying to achieve a desired goal. We have left like we are going nowhere and the journey seems so long. It might be trying to lose weight, or overcoming feelings of inadequacy, or finding a new job.

We are reminded in Proverbs 4:25 (VOICE) to “Keep your head up, your eyes straight ahead, and your focus fixed on what is in front of you.” Successful people are average people who stay the course and maintain their focus to finish the goal. They aren’t quitters.

We all need to fix our focus on the desired goal, instead of being so easily distracted by our surroundings. Distractions bring on discouragement and cause us to no longer know where we are heading. Hebrews 12:2 (VOICE) says we are to “Stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.”

Your distractions might be your past hang-ups, hurts and habits. Philippians 3:13-14 (TLB) encourages us to “Bring all our energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.”

You distractions might be others around you, especially through social media. If we are not careful, it will cause us to be become discouraged enough to believe we are not talented enough, energetic enough or smart enough as everyone else.

Your distractions might be hectic schedules, unhealthy comparison with others, and the opinions of others. These will cause to lose sight of what’s important. But if we are going to enjoy life and accomplish the purposes and goals God has for us to accomplished, it is important that we learn the art of keeping our focus on Him and on the plans He has for us to achieve.

So no matter where you are in your life, choose to keep moving forward. Decide to stay in the race and stay focused on the finish line rather than the distractions around you. “In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win.”

—1 Corinthians 9:24 AMPC Blessings, Cindy


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