Embracing “focus” in 2014

I took off the last two weeks from blogging, and I really enjoyed the break.  Truth be told, I needed it!

As much as I felt neutral about 2014 towards the end of last year, God (yet again!) surprised me with a One Word for 2014.  

focus lens

Yes. Focus.

Often during 2013, I would find myself saying or thinking:  “I am all over the map!”  In my zeal to live out my One Word for 2013, “community,” I dove into the deep end of the pool and ended up feeling pulled in too many directions.

So… focus it is in 2014!

Focus on the Father

Restoring and reinvigorating my relationship with God is my primary focus.  In 2013, my spiritual growth was spotty at best.  God didn’t move; I did, by allowing other gods to step in and have a comfy seat in my life.  Mea culpa.  

I recently re-read a journal entry from 2009 and was intrigued by my response to reading John 5:19:  “The Son watches the Father closely and then mimics the work of the Father.”  Based on that verse, my focus should be on:

  1. saving;
  2. healing;
  3. performing miracles;
  4. drawing others to God;
  5. in close communion with the Father;
  6. obeying fully;
  7. dying to self;
  8. shunning legalism and religiosity;
  9. reaching out to the least of these;
  10. changing lives.

Hmmm.  Gotta trust God to show me how to create that focus and to give me the courage to take the necessary action.

Focus on creating a better story

I began reading Donald Miller’s Storyline workbook last year.  Miller’s goal is to help people live better stories by embracing the negative turns in our lives and flipping them into positives.  

I want my subplot in God’s big story to have impact and a legacy.  It won’t happen if I’m bogged down by too many activities that lead nowhere.  The goal is for me to live a better story with the years I have left.

But how? 

Focus on who and what matter most

  • By releasing myself from stagnant thinking and action in order to make space for what is beneficial and productive.  It may mean unsubscribing, offline and online, from things (and persons) that are good but may be standing in the way of what is great.
  • By being honest about what I really want to achieve, admitting what works and what doesn’t, and being intentional about shunning “busy work.”
  • By using my time purposefully rather than giving in to randomness.
  • By creating very simple goals and approaching them systematically.
  • By cultivating relationships that replenish and challenge, and and by pruning those that have no growth potential.  

I’m excited to see what “focus” will lead me into in 2014!  I believe it’ll mean minimal defragmentation, less clutter, and an embracing of “less is more.”  Matthew 6:6 sums up how I hope it’ll pan out:

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”

Do you have a One Word for 2014? How do you plan to incorporate “focus” into your life?


  1. Focus is a great word for 2014! I too felt pulled in multiple and draining directions in 2013, and I want this year to be a year of peace and focus. I plan on finding that secluded place at least once a week to be quiet, and still so that I may focus on HIM and hear his plan for me! Great post for the New Year Alison!
    Sherelle recently posted..Dream Deferred: The Comic Strip IllustratorMy Profile

  2. Great word! I went back and read your one word last year…seems like you’ve come full circle. Sometimes the right focus will lead you to the right community. I’m right there with you my sister with the desire to focus. I’m not choosing one word this year…just choosing to focus on the right words.
    Hope recently posted..From Wogging to JoggingMy Profile

  3. I like that… choosing to focus on the right words. Knowing you, Hope, it’ll probably be even more beneficial than choosing one word. And yes, I’ve come full circle! You were a great part of the community I established last year. Thanks, love!
    Alison recently posted..Embracing “focus” in 2014My Profile

  4. What a beautiful word that encompasses so many walks of your life! Through God, and friendships, and more. I love that.
    I haven’t narrowed down one word, but I’ve been stunned by everyone’s posts about it! I need focus for my business. I have huge dreams but unless I focus on goals and busywork, I will keep spinning without actually going anywhere.
    Glad to see you back.
    Tamara recently posted..Where’s My “Get Up And Go”?My Profile

    • It’ s good to be back, Tamara! Now to pin down that elusive focus… I hear you re: balancing the dreams and putting feet to those goals. Often it feels unattainable. But if we decide to eat that elephant one bite at at time, we’ll make it!
      Alison recently posted..Embracing “focus” in 2014My Profile

  5. Focus is such an important word, and I think it’s a great choice for this year. I know the feeling of being fragmented, and just having a moment to focus is so amazing. Not only that, but to focus on God’s words and what his plan is for is–is the best part of all 🙂

  6. Welcome back, Alison, and happy new year! Focus on who and what matter most – that is a wonderful goal for 2014. I didn’t pick a word, but I’m so enjoying reading other people’s and taking inspiration from all of you!

  7. Focus is a fantastic word! I found in 2013 that I was a little bit of everywhere, and felt overwhelmed a lot. I’ll need to keep coming back to this post to make sure that I am paying attention to what really matters. Happy 2014 Alison!
    Eva recently posted..Good Morning SunshineMy Profile

  8. Happy New Year Alison, my word for this year is organization. I too was all over the place last year and left a lot of frazzled ends with my actions. I realized a few things about myself and I too want to get closer to God and I need to get out of the way. It’s that simple.
    Whitney recently posted..Pinterest WednesdayMy Profile

    • A great word, Whitney! Grateful that so many of us are recognizing the need to corral our thoughts and actions so that we are more productive and leave room for the spiritual to take its rightful place in our lives: at the top.

  9. I love this word! I can say I’m focused on my one word balance. Love the focus graphic.

    Tough letting go of good ppl to open the door for greatness. That made me think!
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted..One Word for 2014: BALANCEMy Profile

    • I remember what you wrote in your One Word post about letting go, Joi. Sometimes it’s the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves. Here’s to good losses, and great new beginnings!

  10. Welcome back from your break! I took one too and came back feeling much more rejuvenated! I hope you are as well! I think that FOCUS is a great word. I am striving for more balance this year and that is going to require me to focus on the things that really matter. Your focus on who and what matters statements are pretty thought provoking… it definitely gives me something to think about!
    Michelle recently posted..#AskAwayFriday with Nellie from Brooklyn Active MamaMy Profile

  11. Focus is a great word for the year. It could apply to me as well. Many times I feel like I’m trying to do too much. My closest friends can attest to this. I need to get that laser focus like I used to have. I remember I used to be so zoomed into God that other things just fell in line. Funny how things line up when our focus is in the right place.

  12. Oh, I love your word so much and why you chose it. It’s wonderful. I have been searching for my word for a few weeks now and I’m almost there with finding it. I think I am picking “faith”. –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Pinterest Nightmare #648: The Human SlingshotMy Profile

    • Wow! Go for it, Lisa. Faith is a powerful One Word with so many permutations in all aspects of our lives. Would love to see how that word manifested in your life throughout 2014!

  13. alison, you have changed my life with your blog. i am really looking forward to 2014! thank you for all that you do to inspire your readers.
    catherine gacad recently posted..Real Estate Update: 2 Offers, 2 DaysMy Profile

  14. This is so amazingly important! If we aren’t focused on what matters most, I can definitely see how we can start to get distracted and bogged down with too much on our plate. Good for you, Alison. I missed you on your break, but it sounds like it was much needed!
    Brittnei recently posted..Feature Friday- Week 5My Profile

  15. Focus is a good word. We all need a little bit of focus. Heck, it took all the focus I could muster just to decide on my one word for the year. I did. Blogging about it on Monday. Focus on your focus Alison!
    Andrea recently posted..“Get Read”: 8 Children’s Books for Black History MonthMy Profile

  16. First, welcome back! We missed you!! Next focus is a great word! We get some much more done when we stop getting distracted by everything that catches our attention. here is to a great 2014!

  17. Hi Alison, this was a great post on your word for 2014. Mine is Joy. I actually love seeing what everyone is going to choose and how they go about figuring all God has for them in that word. So glad I visited here.
    God bless
    Tracy recently posted..My Word for 2014 – JOYMy Profile

    • I saw another blogger recently with Joy as their word. Have you checked on the #oneword365 page for other people with the same One Word? It was interesting to see the different posts for the same word.

  18. Phoebe Wulliman Graber says:

    Some of your key points resonate with my attempts to #focus as well…less clutter, “unsubscribing, offline & online” (love that one!) and I’d add for myself less multitasking. Best wishes as we clean the lenses of our minds!
    Phoebe Wulliman Graber recently posted..Big Something of NothingMy Profile

  19. I love that image, Phoebe! We truly are attempting to cleanse that lens every day. I, too, need to multitask less. It is a minute by minute challenge, because so many things seem to beckon for attention. Bit by bit we will get there! #focus!
    Alison recently posted..The “I don’t” listMy Profile

  20. Excited to see how focused you become after FOCUSING on it all year!

    My word for 2014 is ‘freedom’.

  21. LOL Regina! It’s going to take a lot of focus for me to pull through 2014 with focus as my main word. I think you, too, will have a great journey this year with “freedom” as your word. We need to chronicle our peaks and valleys as we claim these words this year!
    Alison recently posted..PeaceMy Profile

  22. Unsubscribing both online and off does need to be done sometimes. Well put.

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