I define clarity as the rigorous ability to definitively know what you are doing, what you want to do, where you are now and how you are going to get where you want to be. The primary reason why we are not living a balanced life is because we lack clarity in our life.
In order to achieve the maximum level of clarity in our life, we need to remove the clutter from our life. Clarity is achieved when you have a crystal clear realization of your God given abilities and how you will use them to bring God maximum glory and spread contagious joy to the people around you.
I realize that there will be many obstacles and unexpected circumstances that will come along the way. But when you maintain maximum clarity, the end goal is never out of focus and your precision to execute is sharper and better defined. During the process of gaining and maintaining clarity, you will experience an emotional roller coaster. You will realize what you are good at and learn what you should leave behind. This is all a part of the painful practice that will allow you to attain pleasurable clarity. If you want to have clarity in your life, you need to think about your life. If you want to achieve maximum productivity, you need to maintain maniacal clarity.
This means that you will often have to say NO to the good opportunities to say YES to the great opportunities. You will have to practice definitive discrimination in the activities that you choose to participate in. If the things you are doing are not propelling you into even a deeper level of clarity, you must reassess the reason for your involvement in them.
Gaining and maintaining maximum clarity is a concept that was rigorously practiced by Jesus:
Jesus achieved and maintained maximum clarity in His life. During his whole tenure here on earth, He was absolutely obsessed with one thing: Fulfilling the will of His Father (Jn. 4:34; 5:30; 6:38-39; Matt. 12:50). This is all that he cared about and exclusively what he focused on.
- He preached the gospel because this was the will of His Father.
- He discipled and trained men because this would fulfill the will of His Father.
- He knew this would ultimately fuel the explosion of the gospel message for the salvation of those who believed.
- He did not attempt to open up a supernatural hardware store.
- He did not do miracles just so that he would amass more followers.
Jesus was discriminative in what he did, when he did it, how he did it and why He did it. From a profoundly young age (Lk. 2:49) and long before beginning his public ministry, Jesus had a crystal clear understanding of his mission:
To live a life we could not live, to die a death we could not die and to bear the sin we could not atone for.
If we want to live a life that is well lived, we need to understand this concept of clarity and begin to apply it actively. By doing this, we are able to make a bigger impact for the gospel, leave a legacy that will make a permanent imprint on other people and fulfill our God given role during our God given time on this God created earth.
Here are ten things you can do right now to maintain maximum clarity in your life:
1. Pray specifically. From my own personal experience, specificity in prayer is absolutely necessary. Before I even met my wife, I prayed like crazy about my future wife for about five years. I prayed that God would send into my life a godly woman who could be my wife. I prayed that my marriage would be a reflection of what Jesus is all about. My prayer life facilitated the clarity to be existent in my life. By praying specifically and incessantly, you will be able to achieve maximum clarity. The bible teaches us that when we lack wisdom, we should pray for it (Js. 1:5). It will then be given to us, with no questions asked. This is the first thing you should do right now.
2. Pray strategically. Put this post on pause. Stop and pray. Pray and ask God for the following: God, what specifically would you like me to do in my life – in a way that would bring you maximum glory. God, what area in my life do I need to reassess in order to radically re-align it with your will for my life. God, where in my life have I lost focus? God, please ensure that my life is centered on your Son Jesus Christ. God, please work in me so that you could do a great work through me. God, please allow me to understand for how long of a season you have put me in this particular job. God, please make me as impactful as possible, in the area of influence that you have given me. God, relieve me of my obsession with my personal preferences and allow me to specifically align myself with your will for my life.
3. Learn to say NO. You have to learn to say no to good things so that you can say yes to great things. When your plate is full and is about to break, you are of no help to anyone and have become a hazard to yourself. The crazy part is that sometimes, you will have to learn to say no to things that you absolutely love doing. I am notorious for not saying no to certain requests. A few months ago, I planned out a weekend trip. In this trip, I was out of state for two days. During that trip, I hosted a party and spoke three different times during a two day time period. I flew back home feeling like I got hit by a truck. I wish I would have applied this principle. I would have been more beneficial to the people I was serving. My energy level and my clarity of thought would have been clearer had I not overbooked myself.
4. Be assertive when saying NO. This will be extremely difficult for you to do when you do it for the first time. People might not understand how you could say no when they always remember you being a yes-man (woman). In order to have clarity in your life, you will have to learn to say no to things in your life. God has given you time to use and you are demanded to be a wise steward of it. Should not every request you get be filtered through with this specific mindset?
5. Practice discrimination. I challenge you to demonstrate deliberate discrimination. The more you discriminate about your life, the more clarity you will achieve in your life. This is especially difficult to do for people who are natural born servants. They just can’t seem to muster up the courage to discriminate. This happens because your fear is directed in the wrong direction. You have a fear of man. Today is day to relieve yourself of this burden. Train people the way you want to be treated. You might be great at making copies for a church bulletin but do you really want to do this every single Sunday? If this is your calling, by all means, copy, staple and collate away. But what about finding another person who you can help train and delegate this responsibility to.
6. Assess before agreeing. Remember, you do not have to do everything and you do not have to answer a resounding yes to every single request. Before agreeing to something, always let the person know that you need some time to think about it. Then, assess the request in light of the clarity commitment you have for your life. Ask yourself the following questions: Will this be the best use of my time? Is this task propelling me to a deeper level of clarity in my life? Am I the best fit for this task or position? Is there someone else who can benefit from doing this and my skills as a coach could be shown and sharpened?
7. Maintain exclusivity in your focus. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a lot of things. I wanted to do a lot of things. After watching The Boiler Room one evening, I wanted to become a stock broker. After working for a car rental lot, I wanted to own my own car rental company. After working in a retail game store, I wanted to create board games for a living. After working in a windshield replacement clinic, I thought I was going to make a fortune searching for dime-sized cracks from unfortunate motorists. After working at a market research company, I thought I was going to form and host focus groups surrounding new products being introduced to the market. My mind was racing a million miles a minute in a million different directions. Everything excited me. Everything still does. The difference between now and then is that now, I have a crystal clear understanding about where my talents and abilities are and how I can use them to bring maximum glory to God and contagious joy to the people in my life.
8. Crave constructive feedback. I realized that I was not fit to turns shacks into chateaus, like my father was able to. After writing hundreds of essays in high school, college and grad school, I realized that few things in life bring me more pleasure and joy than writing. I also realized that I can form at least a few sentences together and say something useful for others to hear. That last part can of course be debated. I am still in the process of learning. If you want to achieve a maniacal level of clarity, you must become exclusive in your focus. This won’t happen overnight, but it will happen over time. You just have to be extremely intentional about uncovering what your focus should be. Here is how to do this: Ask your spouse, your family, your friends and your co-workers. Remain humble to receive constructive feedback. They have a better perspective and are well positioned to tell you what you should focus on. They can tell you where your abilities are most apparently visible.
9. Remove the clutter. I cannot work in an environment that is messy or unorganized. When I sit down in my office, I make sure that the table at which I am sitting is free from any debris and distraction. When my work space is cleaner, I breathe easier. If I have a pile of paperwork on my desk, I usually go through it, arrange it, shred what I don’t need and continue on with the task I was about to start. If my office is unorganized, so too will be my thinking process when I begin to write something. The first thing I do is remove the clutter. Clean your room. Clean your office. Arrange, organize and situate everything in a way that will make the environment conducive for maximum output. Thankfully, my wife helped me recently to rearrange my office. We removed all the clutter and created a simple environment with minimal distraction. The same way that we must do this with our physical work space, we must also do with the space in our mind. What is cluttering your mind right now? Is there something you need to repent of of? Is there a reconciliation that needs to occur? The bible teaches us to lay aside lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1). Before you can remove the clutter from your life, you must clearly identify that which clings to your life, disallowing you to achieve maximum clarity.
10. Maintain narrow focus. What one thing in your life right now is preventing you from achieving maximum clarity? What is that one thing? Remove it. Get rid of it. Clean it up. Dispose of it. If you want to gain clarity in your life, you must remove the clutter from your life. Start with something small like cleaning your office or work area. Delete the apps off of your phone that you never use. Clean out your wallet, purse or murse. Remove yourself from activities that are burning you out. Avoid over committing to events that you physically do not have time for. You are going to feel a sense of relief after you do this.
Jesus sacrificed His life so that you could live your life, with maximum clarity and precision – rendering to Him the glory He so deserves. My prayer is that the above items will help you live a life full of clarity in which Jesus is the absolute focus of your existence.
Question: How are you currently maintaining maximum clarity in your life? What do you still need to do in order for maximum clarity to dominate your life?