3 Lessons I Learned About Distractions
In a flurry of summer energy coupled with the shame of cluttered closets and cabinets, I decided to fill boxes for the donation center. “Ridding out,” I called it. It felt so good to let go of things that had long lost their appeal and usefulness. I piled the boxes in the kitchen to move to my car and then the donation cent
Three months passed and the boxes remained in the corner of the kitchen and on the breakfast table. A thin layer of dust reminded me of how time much time had passed.
“Oh, well,” I thought to myself as I walked through the kitchen, “another day won’t matter.”
I would move the boxes to the car as soon as I took care of…
And so it went.
Days passed, weeks and, sadly, months were gone, and the boxes remained in the kitchen fifty feet from the garage and my car.
So close yet so far.
Four months later, the boxes were moved to my car and delivered to the center. When I walked into the kitchen later, I felt a sense of relief.
Ignoring them was hard work.
Justifying their presence was tiring.
I learned three valuable lessons from ignoring those boxes:
Once the distraction starts, it becomes a habit.
After a while, I didn’t notice the boxes. They became part of the landscape. That's how it happens. You lose focus on one thing, like reading scripture. “I’ll read my Bible later,” you say on a busy morning. Then, a month later, you haven’t opened the Word of God. Your joy is gone, and your attitude stinks. The Word of God is the bread of life. Without it, we lose our direction.
When a distraction is allowed to keep going, a habit is forming.
One day, you realize this isn’t working.
What started as a good thing--cleaning out closets--turned into a diversion. Anything that turns our focus away from Jesus will become harder to maintain. We have a longing inside that yearns for Jesus, to be in God’s presence, to know we are loved. Nothing will replace it, The distraction will never satisfy like knowing Jesus does.
It’s time to move those boxes (or whatever is in the way)!
“Ridding out” distractions and resulting habits is freeing.
Once, the boxes were gone, I felt a great sense of relief. In the kitchen, there were open spaces where clutter once lived. I was free of the distracting boxes!
Great satisfaction comes when we get rid of the things that turn our focus from Jesus.
Are you involved in things maybe God didn’t tell you to do? Are you spending more time focusing on the temporal instead of the eternal? You will have to choose. You cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24)
Through His prophet Zechariah, God tells the people who had turned away and become distracted by their own desires,
"Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you...” (Zechariah 1:3)
James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and he will come near to you."
How do we do that? James says to purify your heart, ask forgiveness and turn away from those things that distract us from seeking Jesus. Set your heart and mind on Him. (Colossians 3:1-2)
Are distractions keeping you from time with Jesus? Maybe you are going in a hundred directions. I know how that feels! But, those things can wait. Slow down and take five minutes to say and reconnect with Jesus. He's waiting and willing to start again right where you are.
Are you ready to reconnect with Jesus?
Determining to carve out time with Jesus is the first step. A quiet time habit of prayer, scripture and journaling helps maintain our focus on the One True God.
If your quiet time has taken a vacation, join me for Journaling in June. It's a 30 day journaling challenge to help jump start a journaling habit. By journaling regularly accompanied by prayer and scripture, you have a record of how God is faithful and working in your life. Each week you will receive journal writing prompts with scripture to help you focus on what God is doing in your life.
Jesus, thank you for calling us to you and for your unfailing love. Show us what stands in the way of a closer relationship with you. Reveal to us the good intentions that have become distractions. Even if it is a good thing, help us to remove the obstacle and draw near to you.