When Chaos Causes Me to Lose Focus

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NLT


I wrote it in my new 2018 day-planner, the one with all the space for goals, plans, and action steps.

I jotted it down on my desk calendar at work.

I scribbled it next to a little circle on my to-do list notepad.

And I still forgot to bring the ‘thank you’ card to work for my co-worker this week.

Actually, that’s not exactly accurate. When I got home from work on Friday, I found it tucked in the side of my bag. The card did make it to work, I just never took it out of my bag to give it to her. The task didn’t get done. (So much for the satisfaction of drawing a check mark next to the item on my list.)  

As a result, frustration came in like an overpowering wave. Frustration with myself. How could I be so forgetful?

We’ve been in a busier-than-usual season at our house. The list of things that must get done keeps growing, and I find myself putting off everything until the weekend. There’s just one problem with scheduling everything on Saturday.


Saturday comes, and I’m too tired to tackle the list.


So another week passes, and next Saturday’s list is even longer. And so on. And so on.

In those times, I feel like chaos has taken over. My mind struggles to focus on just one thing, much less a never-ending list of things that ‘have to be done this week’. It’s hard to feel focused when chaos surrounds us, but God gives encouraging direction in David’s instructions to Solomon regarding the building of the temple.

David desired to build a temple to hold the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. But David wasn’t the man for the job. (To read more about that, visit a post I wrote for Encouragement for Today here.)

When God chose Solomon to complete the job, David shared this with his son as he commissioned him to begin the work God called him to do.


“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NLT

As God’s children, we are commissioned and called to worship and serve Him. In this verse, we learn a valuable detail concerning these things. We are to worship and serve with a whole heart and a willing mind.

When I keep a whole heart and a willing mind set on God, the chaos of life will not cause me to lose focus. (Tweet this.)


Lord, I give you my whole heart and a willing mind. (Tweet this.)

David continues on from there with a reminder that God knows our thoughts and plans. And thankfully, His plans for us are better than our own.

Can I admit something to you? This morning when I woke up and turned on my tablet to read my daily Bible reading plan, I noticed something. In the midst of a chaotic week, I’d rushed through my morning routine and hadn’t finished a single day’s reading. Not. Even. One.

So I guess you could say I didn’t offer my whole heart or a willing mind this week. I forged my own plans. I let chaos cause me to lose focus. But David’s inspiring speech to Solomon gives us hope today. Putting God first in our hearts and minds will keep us focused on things that matter.

Chaos post.jpg


Speaking of focus, will you excuse me for a moment? I have a thank you card to drop in the mail.




The Importance of Surrounding Yourself with Warriors

“I just don’t like being around people,” I heard her say. “I prefer to be alone.”


It took those words a moment to penetrate the walls of my heart. At first, I was shocked. Why would she admit to not liking people? Then I remembered I’d been in that same place. I realized how much she and I had in common.


I never considered myself a loner. Working as a teacher, serving in ministry, I’ve always been surrounded by people. But when I heard this sentiment shared from a friend, it opened up something in me that I’d buried deep down. A place born from hurt and betrayal. A place I wanted to forget. And shutting people out helped me do just that - forget.


When I walked through my daily routine at work, church, or even running errands, I put on a smile. I acted joyful. And honestly, I felt like a fake, because the feelings I held inside told an entirely different story.


I’d fallen into a pattern of hiding the truth of my heartache, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I didn’t want to burden others with my real feelings. Maybe I wanted to make sure I was ‘exuding joy’ and not the opposite. Or maybe, I wanted to avoid conversations that would dredge up unwanted memories.


With this young lady’s words, God spoke a powerful truth into my life. One I desperately needed.

We need a community of warriors to help us fight the giants in our lives. (Tweet this.)


Remember the story of David and Goliath? Little David took down that big bad giant with 5 small stones. He became the hero. And he did it alone.


Or so I thought.


You see, the story didn’t end when David marched back to Saul victorious. There were more giants, and giants don’t give up easily.

Giants don't give up easily. Neither should we. (Tweet this.)


“And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” 1 Chronicles 20:4-8 ESV


In the passage above, we get a picture of David’s kingdom several years later, after he became king. War with the Philistines surfaced again, and these giants seemed just as intimidating as Goliath.


Scripture says one of them “taunted Israel.” Sound familiar? It should, because that’s what Goliath did that made David what to shut the giant’s mouth - permanently. And this time, David had help.


David surrounded himself with warriors willing to kill some giants on his behalf. That’s what we need to do, too.


“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT


There will be times when we face hurt at the hands of others. Sometimes from those we considered friends, or even family.

There will be times we face situations where we can’t find a way out.

There will also be times when it seems like all hope is lost. When we want to hide away in a room somewhere in solitude.


That’s when we need to seek out the giant killers in our lives. Surround ourselves with warriors willing to go into battle when weariness takes hold.


God created us for community. He never intended for us to face our giants alone. But we need to get past the lie that tells us we shouldn’t let other people past the walls we’ve built.


We need each other.


Are you facing any giants in your life? Have you been tempted to avoid interaction with others and keep it all to yourself? Then let the story of David and his giant killers speak to your heart like it did mine. God has a group of warriors ready to fight for you!


Together let’s agree to seek out those people in our lives who will stand with us when we need help, when we need warriors to come alongside us. And in turn, we can be faithful warriors as well.



For more devotions about community, check out this post, When Comparison Threatened to Steal My Community.