Dealing with Distractions

If anything prevents us from moving forward on our journey deeper into the heart of God, it must be distractions. As people who have chosen to give our lives to Him, our struggle with priorities is not from a lack of desire. We’re on this journey because we want to be here. Nobody forced us to believe.

But even though we’ve chosen this path, we still struggle to stay on the path steadily moving forward with consistency and passion. And I think the problem is distractions.

Distractions are defined as a thing that prevents you from giving your full attention to something. It’s a diversion, interruption, or interference. A distraction is anything that shifts our focus.

Doesn’t life seem to have a lot of distractions?

There are always things that pop-up in our line of vision attempting to move Jesus from the center to our peripherals. Things that slip in and shift Him slightly off center, allowing something into a space that He alone should occupy. The list of things is endless. Situations that capture our attention, holding our thoughts hostage as we work to resolve them. Problems that seem never ending. Pain that is persistent. The everyday grind that requires so much of our physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Some of those things are just a natural part of life. I think of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus. They were friends of Jesus and lived in the town of Bethany. Luke 10 recounts the time Jesus was in town and visited their home. He was in the living room teaching and Martha was in the kitchen cooking. In verse 40 it says Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She is not doing anything wrong. There’s nothing sinful or wicked about cooking. In fact, making dinner is important. The problem was her focus. She gave her attention to dinner instead of Jesus.

There’s so much to see in this event. But here’s something I’ve been meditating on; she was making dinner for Him. She was doing something for Him. Butwhat she was doing for Him distracted her from being with Him.

Doesn’t this sound familiar? I know I can relate. There are important and necessary things in life that can become a distraction – like our job, parenting or making dinner. And, there are things we do for Jesus that can shift Him from the center. There can be times when doing for Him distracts us from being with Him.

Then there are distractions intentionally inserted into our life by the enemy. I like to refer to them as some of the fiery darts lobbed at us by the enemy as referenced in Ephesians 6:16. There will be times when the enemy strategically places things in our path for the purpose of slowing us down or halting our journey all together.

Regardless of where they come from, we must deal with distractions if we are going to purse the heart of God with consistency and passion.

So how do we handle these distractions that come in all shapes and sizes? The Bible is full of wisdom on dealing with distractions. Colossians 3:1-2 is just one passage that gives us clear direction on how to take care of diversions and interruptions. It says: Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. (NLT)  

I really like the way it’s paraphrased in The Passion: …. fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm.

Dealing with distractions really boils down to choice. We choose what we will look at.  We choose what we will think about. When distractions surface, we must choose to set our thoughts on Jesus.

Doesn’t that fly in the face of rational? Doesn’t it seem like the best way to handle a situation is to give the situation your fullest attention? But we’re living in the upside Kingdom where everything is opposite from how the world functions. In the Kingdom of God, we overcome distractions by moving them to our peripherals and placing Jesus in the center.

I know this can be difficult, especially when the distraction is life altering. But whether the distraction is a tsunami or the constant drip-drip of the daily grind, the only way to position our self for provision and direction is to keep Jesus at the center and look only at Him. When Jesus is at the center, and everything else is in our peripherals, we are positioned to hear and see His solution for the distraction or receive His help for managing it.

Philippians promises us that we can do all through Christ (4:13) because He is working in us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him (2:13) Even though it’s hard, we can choose to live with distractions on the sidelines and keep Jesus in the center.

So, it’s up to you. Will you allow your journey to be diverted or delayed by distractions? Or, will you choose to move the distraction to the peripherals and focus on Jesus so you can steadily move forward with passion?

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