Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of Christian spirituality and sport.
“It is impossible, then, to attend deeply to something and not be changed.”-Jeffrey Bilbro, Reading the Times
It is only the first week of 2024 but for many, the year’s focus is already taking shape. For some of us, our attention is on work-related goals, while for others we may be concentrating on things of a more personal nature. What is guaranteed, though, is that something is getting our attention.
Sometime during the pandemic, I listened to an audiobook entitled, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James Smith. This is what inspired the title for today’s blog. Smith’s book was referred to in another book that I am re-reading called Reading the Times by Jeff Bilbro, which I cited above. One common theme in both books is that we are shaped by the things we focus on.
Bilbro makes a compelling case both for managing technology and being selective in how we consume the daily news. I was particularly moved by the following excerpt: “What we attend to reveals and shapes our loves, so if our attention is fixed on the thin stratum of the daily news, then we are guilty of a kind of idolatry, of misdirecting our love and even worship.”
The idea is not to disconnect completely from what is going on around us, but to be conscious of our mental and emotional appetites. When we focus intently on something, whatever it may be, whether good or bad, it changes us. That includes the daily news, celebrity gossip and social media content. We must strike the right balance.
Last week, I encouraged us to renew our minds and to consider changing the way we think. The themes are connected. What we think about regularly will affect our choices, our behaviour and our character. If 2024 is going to be a great year for us, we must be conscious of the things that we are attracted to. It’s often obvious to others what consumes us. We are the ones with the blind spots. Remember, we are what we love.
Attrition of values-centred living is real. Be conscious of what influences you.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.