Stay Focused

It’s easy—and dangerous—to get distracted by criticism

My sport of choice is tennis. I love the game. During the 2009 French Open Men's Final, a crazed fan leaped over the stands and onto the court to taunt the second-ranked world player, Roger Federer. As you can imagine, it was quite a scene. Tennis, with its air of prestige and sophistication, is not accustomed to unruly spectators. Within those few seconds, the emotions of the fans ran the gamut from gasps of fear to humorous snickers and then cheers as security tackled the man and hauled him off the court.

While this little drama unfolded, I kept my eyes on Roger. Here he was playing one of the most significant matches of his career and what appeared to be a crazed lunatic jumped out on the court after him. I marveled at his ability to stay calm, quickly collect himself, and immediately go back to the game (he won, ultimately launching him back into the number-one seed).

That's the power of focus: it's what separates the winners from the losers, the good from the great. Focus can make or break you.

This episode reminds me of how easily we can get distracted by the taunts of the critics in our lives. Many things are vying to pull us away from the calling and mission God has given us. The most important thing you can do to overcome criticism is to remain focused on your calling. The enemy's goal is to distract you, and what better way to get you off track than to cut you down with criticism?

How are you reacting to criticism? Can you shake it off and refocus on "your game," or do you throw in the towel and give up the match? Are you allowing criticism to distract you from your calling or purpose?

"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

God has gifted and called you for the unique role you play. He does not promise that your journey will be an easy one, and you will likely have your share of critics, but he will equip you as long as you keep your focus on him.

Excerpted fromJust Lead!Copyright © 2013 by Sherry Surratt and Jenni Catron. Used by permission of Jossey-Bass.

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March 07, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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