In the middle of my morning devotional time my phone dinged with a incoming text message. Several minutes later I looked up from my phone, not even sure what or where I had been reading before I received that text. Distraction.
I'm a notorious multi-tasker. Because of this, I have been known to do silly things like leave a cup of cold coffee in the cupboard where I keep my vitamins. I was drinking coffee while doing my morning kitchen clean up when I remembered to take my vitamins...and, well, you know the rest. Distraction.
Being a pastor's wife for over thirty years, I know that at any given time there is always someone experiencing some sort of life crisis or spiritual problem in our church. Sometimes, instead of bearing other's burdens to the Lord in prayer and trusting Him, I let concern and even anxiety preoccupy my thoughts as I think of ways to help or to try to fix the situation. Distraction.
Distraction is defined as something that prevents us from giving our full attention to something else. My phone keeps me from giving my full attention to my Bible reading and prayer time. My tendency to multi-task keeps me from focusing and giving my full attention to one task at a time. The needs of an individual in crisis in our church can distract me from the big picture of what God has for our church as a whole and from trusting God and letting Him work things out instead of letting myself become distracted with anxiety.
Jesus was an expert in not letting Himself be distracted from the mission the Father had for Him. Everything He did was in deliberate obedience to the Father. He didn't let Himself become distracted by His own will and desires, the things around Him, or even the needs of others. Though He was fully God, He was also fully man. He was subject to the limitations of time and having a physical body that could only be in one place at a time. Jesus lived a focused life. His focus was to do the will of and pleasure of the Father. At times, He actually had to walk away from people and their needs in order to rest and spend time with His Father in prayer, seeking the Father's will and direction.
In my journal I wrote, "Father, keep us from distraction, from that which would get us off track in 2017". That's what distraction does, it's like a bunny trail that gets you off the path of God's plan and purpose. Sometimes, smack dab in the middle of that path, is someone that God wants you to help. It takes discernment to know the difference between a distraction and a divine appointment. For example, Jesus had a divine appointment to meet with a certain Samaritan woman by a well. Through the prompting of the Father, He knew He needed to go to Samaria. All along the way on His long walk there, don't you think there were other broken, wounded, sick and hurting people? Sure there were! But, Jesus was not distracted from the Father's assignment.
I don't want to lose my focus in 2017. I don't want to waste time wandering along some bunny trail that's not the path God has for me. It's hard to follow someone that you're not watching, so a key part of being a Jesus follower is obeying the admonition in Hebrews 12:2 to look away from distraction and to keep my focus on Him. Look away from all that will distract and keep focused on Jesus. Sounds easy doesn't? But, even in this I need the help of the Holy Spirit. Thank God, He's a more than willing Helper! Let's ask for His help to keep us from living a distracted life in this new year.