When we say “lead us not into temptation”, most of us think of temptation as “sin”. But I want to suggest that temptation is the desire to do something, especially something that is considered wrong or unwise. I also invite you to define sin as to “miss the mark” – i.e. to take your eyes off the target and fail to shoot straight.
Lead us not into temptation, could very well be understood as: let me not get side-tracked and forget my priorities and purpose. Lead me not into the temptation of getting so busy and worked up that I forget the goal that I am working towards.
We say “resist the Devil, and he will flee from you”, but the devil is in the details, in the little things. The devil is in all the ways that I waste time and get off track.
The reality is that while pride, self-aggrandisement may well be an enticement, the real temptation is much more subtle. Temptation usually presents itself in the form of shiny objects that remove our focus from greatness and allow us to settle for good. We accept the simple pleasures now, rather than working hard towards long-term goals.
We turn and look at all of our differences, rather than seeing how we are all loved and connected to each other and the Divine.
Where your treasure is…
How do you keep your purpose and vision before you? What do you prioritise above other things?
One of the ways to realise what your priorities are is to consider asking others what they see in you. I did that today and asked others what my treasures were. These are some of the answers that I received:
- my daughter
- my rescues – cats & dogs
- consistency, getting stuff done, tenacity, unmatched courage and tenacity in the face of challenges
- compassion, capacity to love, sharing, enthusiastic encouragement of and deep empathy for those around you
- passion, fire, zest, energy, motivation
- insane levels of capacity to learn and execute that learning under pressure, inquisitive, intellect, brilliant, knowledge
- smile, beautiful face, eyes
- depth, intuitive wisdom
- authenticity, openness
- positive vibes, positivity
- healthy boundaries
And yet several things are missing that I truly treasure:
Silence, nature & meditation
Sleep (how did they miss sleep?)
Health & wellness
Another way that you can see what your treasures are: have a look at how you invest your time and where you spend your money. In which case, without a doubt, I have the following priorities (in no particular order):
- my business
- my daughter, health & pets
- too much social media for my own good!
- And definitely, too much time spent looking at business and social media metrics and results, without actually looking at what actions I will take to change those results
Lead us not into temptation … caught up being busy, rather than actually living our purpose!
Take a sheet a paper, drawing a line down the middle. On one side, you write down your priorities and what is essential in your life. What do I treasure? Now, on the other hand, for the next 7 days, write down where you spend your time and money.
Where are you lead into temptation?
I have many tools that I use to keep me focused on the target:
- my values: 6 words that I keep before me each day:
- a vision board: a visual representation of what I want to make manifest in my life
- A list of 50: fifty things that I said at the beginning of the year were necessary to do this year. They are divided into ten sections, including health, spiritual practice & growth, holidays, income streams, professional growth, etc. But a reminder that action and works are equally important in this life.
That is what I focus my attention on each day: reminders that keep me on track so that I am less likely to be led into temptation by the shiny objects that appear in my path.
Where attention goes, energy flows
It is so easy to get caught up in being “busy”, with your focus on a to-do list and day-to-day demands on your time. Are you intentional about how you focus?
Now that you have had an opportunity to review your life, what are you pouring yourself into? What do you invest your time thinking about? What consumes your thoughts?
As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.
Your thoughts are busy creating who you are – what you will say and then what you will do. A simple change in your focus and attention will allow you to pour your energy and effort into your purpose.
This, in turn, allows you to get new results.
What’s on your mind today?
The most important thing to remember is the most important thing.
What is distracting you from the most critical priorities?
Lead me not into the temptation of distractions, chasing my tail, and putting out fires.
When I am grounded and centred, I remember that I get my prize for performing on my stage. Not as a guest performance on someone else’s expectations and priorities.
Where is my purpose in my daily schedule? How does my agenda reflect my values? Or am I easily distracted by shiny objects that lead me into temptation?
Today I invite you to scrutinise where you invest your time, energy and money.
- How many hours a week are you spending on social media or watching TV?
- How much quality time do you spend with your family & friends?
- Do you spend too much time at work? Could you change the way you travel to and from work so that this time is used more effectively (for example, I discovered that when I drive, I can listen to a podcast, while if I take a cab or Uber, I can work on the iPad or laptop)?
- Does your schedule adequately reflect your priorities and what you tell yourself is important?
- What “shiny objects” get you side-tracked and off-focus? Where are you led into temptation?
Unless you have your priorities clearly identified – as the treasures of your heart and mind, clearly set out in front of you – life will happen and get in the way. You will chase after a good idea, forgetting that it’s not aligned with your call to greatness!
Today, I invite you to focus on your target and find ways to consistently maintain that focus, so that you are not lead into temptation. Keep your eyes on becoming all that you can be, that
dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine. (CS Lewis)
One thought on “Lead us not into temptation: the reward of focus”
It was funny reading the blog today as we got to be a part of it. Yes indeed a lot of shiny things pass in front of me everyday trying to get me focused on something different than my priorities; and again as I have learned from someone dear to me, it is focusing on the priorities as they should be. If I really treasure my love for my family then that should come first not last; yet at the same time reality bites when you realize that you also have to provide your family with their basic needs. Sometimes I guess that priority of being with your family gets derailed by other priorities jockeying for position. I guess at times I can feel like an endless race of who gets first in line.
It was serendipitous that I had brought a sheet of paper from the printer just before I started reading today’s installment. So I started on my list. Today is Fernanda’s ballet show. A year long wait to see how much my 6 year old princess has worked and improved in something she treasures. I learn a lot from her in the way that shiny treasures are nice to look at, but those treasures that are deep in your heart and moved with passion are more rewarding, and my daughter is at the top of my list of treasures. Today is a day to focus on my treasure! Oh and I’ll post some photos on social media to contribute on making you spend time looking at them.