Distractions! Let’s call them what they really are

How was your day yesterday? I know. Do we really have to bring up yesterday? Don’t we love the words in Philippians 3:13 “Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind”? I’m all about kicking yesterday to the curb and starting fresh every day but let me revisit yesterday so I don’t repeat it today. First – yesterday was a good day; nothing bad happened. Let’s just say it was an instructive day because God answered one of my long term prayers. You see, I have been asking God to reveal things in my own life that are getting in the way of my own life. Does that make sense? I’ve prayed so many times as it says in Psalm 139:23 ”Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
Last Monday I spoke with a new friend on the phone. I mentioned then that God was convicting me of being unproductive and using my time unwisely. This isn’t a new thing. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little slow on the uptake. As my dad used to say to me, “Janie sometimes I think God needs a bigger brick for you.” He was kidding but 50 years later, I think he was onto something there. Yesterday I had a run-in with that mammoth brick! You’ve heard about the new ‘reveal parties’ where the gender of an unborn baby is revealed? Well my reveal party with the Lord was not so exciting – but it was revealing. Early in the morning, I considered skipping Mom’s Prayer group at my church so I could dive head first into my work. God had something to say about that. “Be devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2 Spending time in prayer for families is a reward, not a distraction. That started my day, my week, on the right path.

The rest of the day though, God kept pointing things out to me about where my heart is, what I treasure – the distractions I can’t avoid. If you’re laser focused, work on one thing at a time, and are not crippled by distractions, this will make no sense to you, but distractions are my enemy. I kept thinking about 1Peter 5:8 “Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” Seriously? Pretty revealing isn’t it? I took out my notebook and started writing things that came to my mind that were distracting me from what I should be doing. Email, my cell phone, community interactions through Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn – you see none of these distractions are bad. They aren’t in any way immoral or corrupt. In fact given the right priority, they have value and even have virtuous implications.

Yesterday afternoon, I realized that I have some pretty serious idols in my life. In the proper context and given the right priority, things that distract me have merit and add value, but when uncontrolled they become a distraction, a clanging symbol, a disruption – all time I can’t get back. My great reveal? I asked for it, and God confirmed “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.” Psalm 11:4 I sat down right then an prayerfully, open hearted, asked the greatest advisor of all to help me work out a schedule for my day to keep me on track and focused on the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons.

The time of yesterday – of all my yesterdays – can’t be recovered, but I am comforted by the words of Solomon in Proverbs 3:11-12 “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” I can go forward and not repeat the sins of the past. What can we do with the past anyway? Not one thing – except learn from it.  So today, you’ll love this. I woke up earlier than my natural waking time of 4:45 am and these words were repeating in my mind like a track that replayed over and over. My child, if sinners try to entice you, do not consent! Proverbs 1:10 I wasn’t sure why so I got up to start my day strong. The first thing I did? You guessed it. Checked email. And remember those online communities that collectively post over a hundred articles every day? These two titles were like a magnet and everything in me wanted to click, read, and respond.

  • Where to get the knowledge you need ….
  • Is fear holding you back ….

Wait a minute! What does it say here in Romans 8:6? The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

I’m not biting! If I still want to read those articles, I will, but not until 10:00 am when it’s time to do exactly that. Choose to read and respond to 2 or 3 articles —- in the time allotted for those tasks.

Well, daddy, God used a bigger brick, and it’s likely He will have to use it again, but I am taking Proverbs 1:23 to heart and responding first to God, then to articles. “If only you will respond to my rebuke, then I will pour out my thoughts to you and I will make my words known to you.

Yesterday was disappointing, but it’s gone, over, no more. Today is new, a blank slate, an opportunity. What will you do with it?  Ready team? Let’s get out there!

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4 thoughts on “Distractions! Let’s call them what they really are

  1. It is true Jane for myself also, keeping life in perspective and focus is a challenge for people of passion and creativity. It is a discipline I also am learning to do better, and truly said by you, the peace does come and stays when we are in our Lord’s will. It is the sacrifice of sweet surrender to rest in the midst of our busyness and hear the still small voice which calls to us to keep focused. As I think is was one of your businessmen that said ‘The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing’. or something like that. Thanks for sharing your heart again, it touched mine again.

    • You’re awesome. Thank you for your encouragement. It’s a gift. It was Stephen Covey, author of The 7 habits of highly effective people and other books. Definitely an expert in time and self management.

  2. What a great post! Thank you so much for writing as you do, Jane… each day I feel that you are working side by side with me… Some mornings, I only read your posts inside of my email window… but I sure love coming here too.

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