Weekends bring an added element to our Labrador’s morning routine.  When Adi reaches the porch stairs, she receives the command to “bring.”  Immediately, she turns to gaze down our driveway.  As soon as she spies the newspaper, she’s off.

One Saturday morning, Adi’s sudden appearance on the driveway interrupted three squirrels.  One shot up a tree, another crossed her path and dove into the honeysuckle, and the third scampered across the road.  A brief turn of her head was the only evidence that she had taken any note of them as she maintained her straight path down the driveway.  Carefully she picked up the paper, turned, and began trotting back, her tail a waving banner of “mission accomplished.”  

As I watched her, I couldn’t help but admire my pup’s focus and her ability to stay the path and ignore those sidetracking squirrels.  Too often, the “squirrels” of my life redirect my focus.  An over ambitious to do list keeps me from actively listening to my family or friends.  Finishing curriculum becomes more important than grabbing teachable moments.  Getting the household up, going, and out the door on time diverts my attention from my precious quiet time with Jesus.

Lord, may I be like my Lab and maintain my focus, completing what you call me to do- love You and love others. Amen 

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.   Give careful thought to the paths of your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.”

Proverbs 4:25 & 26

© 2019-2023, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.


For your reading enjoyment and a story complimentary to this lesson, I am sharing with you the link to the story titled “Paws and Reflect” written by my blogging buddy David at David’s Daily Dose.  Enjoy this account of Jesus calming the storm from a Labrador’s point of view.

Paws and Reflect

32 thoughts on “Focus

  1. I love Adi, and I love what she teaches you about your walk with God so that you can share it with us. Isn’t it interesting how many times God tells us in His Word to walk a straight path? I need Adi’s focus every day, especially in my quiet time as I tend to lose my train of thought just as if I have multiple squirrels running through my brain. Thank you, Beth, for yet another great blessing from Adi and God!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The story goes: A tourist to NYC stopped a wag to ask if he knew how she could get to Carnegie Hall. “Practice, practice, practice,” the wag replied. Though with snark, he spoke true.
    But first, one must focus. To seek Christ, we must concentrate the way Adi does when she is sniffing a trail of its scent and bringing the paper. Thank you for this always needful reminder, Beth! And to Adi, also!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An old chorus came to my mind also as you shared the lesson from Adi’s focused delivery: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face; and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” Thank you, Beth!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this comment Rainer! You hit on a key point of concentration. A lot of training went into getting Adi to the point where she could successfully retrieve a paper without any mishaps between command given and task completed. Concentration is developed from training and definitely requires listening to our Master to determine which competing priority is the one He wants us to stay ourselves on.

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  4. Nancy

    This is another great post, Beth. I’m reading but don’t often comment lately as journeying through grief takes a lot of focus and energy but with Jesus I’m healing. I love the image of not being distracted by the “squirrels in my life.” Another wonderful lesson I’ve learned from Adi and your inspirational way of communicating what you’re learning through her. I think I’ll tell myself ‘It’s just a squirrel, don’t be sidetracked’ if my attention is averted from where it should be.

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    1. Thank you Nancy for leaving this lovely comment. It’s so good to hear you are staying your focus on Jesus in this journey and being mindful to give Him and the healing process your energy. I am always blessed by your example of humility and surrender to Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Lord, may I be like my Lab and maintain my focus, completing what you call me to do- love You and love others. Amen”

    So tough to do well when the winds of the world blow us about …worth persavering though

    And, yes David’s poatavwere superb!!

    Andy B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like how you worded that Andy B- “the winds of the world blow us about.” I’m visiting my parents right now and my Mom and I were chatting and about how we never imagined things could look as they are now. Sometimes I think I stare too long at the wind trying to figure it out rather than focusing on the Lord who is the calm in the storm.

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  6. “Focus” An oft repeated word to me throughout life. teachers, coaches, bosses and one of my daughters. I am more like our dog trying to go 3 ways at onceafter eating the newspaper) when there are 3 squirrels. maybe that’s why I had 8 careers (or none, just jobs). A great post Beth.

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    1. Thank you, Gary! In full disclosure Adi ate her fair share of newspapers in the training phase. She’d get to shredding and then gleefully race around the yard spreading papers all over the place. Summer is still in that phase and there are days when I’m not sure we’ll ever get her to make a successful delivery, but we’ll keep trying. As a matter of fact, we have to be careful that Summer doesn’t snatch the paper from Adi and try to run amuck with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent post!!! How I love that photo! You are right…maintaining our focus is everything. I will remember this post! The steadfast love of the Lord never wavers, When we focus on His love and faithfulness, our own paths become so much easier to navigate.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Seeing Adi deliver the newspaper must be the best part of the newspaper Beth. What a great lesson she teaches us, to not succumb to distracting “squirrels” in our path each day. I must confess I often watch the acrobatics of Sid Vicious our resident squirrel on the bird table.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It most certainly is, Alan. When she was young and I first began training her to bring in the paper, she would get only halfway up the driveway before her puppiness would kick in and she would stop and begin to shred the paper then race around in excitement. She’s come a long way. LOL The name you’ve given your squirrel cracks me up.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I love this, Beth, and can easily relate to the “Squirrel chasing” temptations you describe. May we all be like Adi, well trained and able to “Fix our eyes on Jesus,” as it says in Hebrews 12.

    By the way, I am a big admirer of your writing style: you make one good point and then let the reader fill in the blanks. Kudos to you, and thank you for sharing the link to my story!

    Have a blessed weekend and God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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