The trap of DISTRACTION. Between peace and focus is the sea of distractions, both invisible and destructive. Is it possible to avoid them and live abundantly?
In this first installment of “Barriers to ABUNDANT LIVING ” one of the barriers is the lure of falling into the trap of DISTRACTION.
Steven Gan, in his blog post on “Verywellmind” noted,
PTSD can contribute to problems with attention, making it difficult to concentrate on information. They may also have difficulty concentrating and are easily distracted which makes it hard for them to pay attention when doing tasks.
What is the essence of abundant living
Indeed let’s make it very clear what we are referring to when speaking on the subject of the abundant life. According to the road map for living, the Bible, abundant living is not about money, possessions, cars, homes, or land. If the Lord himself did not possess these things, how can we arrive at such a futile conclusion that we would need them?
Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20
As we see, abundance in it’s essence is not the filling of things that rot and rust. Abundant living is about being able to interact with God, yourself and people in a way that’s interactive, loving and meaningful.
The Bible has given us some insights on the matter. “KEYS” that will allow us to move beyond the barriers that keep us from it. Barriers like distraction.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10b
It is true that distractions plague our lives. There is hope beyond it. Hope cultivated by observation and identification of its root cause. Then, making it possible to avoid and overcome.
Outline of our discussion:
- DISTRACTION as seen today
- Martha – Captive of Distraction
- THE ROOT OF DISTRACTION
- Avoiding DISTRACTION
- Overcoming DISTRACTION
Distraction as Seen Today
No missed deadlines. Perfectly planned work at 8 a.m., lunch at noon, family time and in the bed by nine. Yet, the morning begins, the alarm sounds it’s 6 am. The oppressive yet alluring thought creeps in, to sleep longer, there’s time. The snooze button is pressed. Navigating the sultry, slumber of DISTRACTION is like tip toeing through a field full of landmines.
Then there is the allure of Facebook, it’s Susie birthday. Susie, hmm, haven’t seen her in a long time. Happy Birthday Susie! Next walks in curiosity, “is she’s married now? She is and has two kids! Never knew. Alarm sounds. Just a little longer, it’s only 6:30 am
Subsequently bombarded with random thoughts like “was the light bill paid?” Next the demand to pick up the phone to confirm. Alarm sounds its time to get of the bed. The heart starts to beat at the realization that the time to pull back the covers and actually get out the bed has arrived.
What’s the weather forecasting? Briefly catching the current headline news. Little time left, the alarm sounds. It’s 7am! Ten minutes to dress and start the day. The rush begins, leading into a state of overwhelming anxiety and frustration due a our well known enemy, DISTRACTION.
Martha – Captive of DISTRACTION
We can learn a lot from the story of Mary and Martha as it pertains to the destructiveness of DISTRACTION.
40 But Martha was the jittery type and was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Sir, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! 42 There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!” Luke 10:40–42
As we see in Martha, distractions often cause priorities to shift. Standing busily moving about, not realizing the moment we are in. A moment that will not be repeated. Without question, Martha was robbed by the thief of distractions and lured into busyness over worship.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
The wall of distraction kept Martha imprisoned with the temporal when she was in the presence of the eternal.
At the root of distraction, is neglect and idolatry. Neglect to take care of our emotional, spiritual or physical bodies. Paying close attention to those times when we are HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY and TIRED.
Idolatry is as Pastor Piper was noted to say that,
I think to cover all the cases, we should probably define an idol (and I think this is a biblical definition) as anything that we come to rely on for some blessing, or help, or guidance in the place of a wholehearted reliance on the true and living God. https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-is-an-idol
The devil who is our arch enemy.is liar and deceiver. Let’s examine, Matthew 4:1-11 as Jesus was led into the wilderness by God.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.3 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
The Desire to Follow the Sinful Nature rather than the Spirit of God
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[c]”7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[d]”
Not having the Lord in his RIGHTFUL PLACE – FIRST
8 Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’[e]”11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. Matthew 4:1-11
As stated, distraction has serious consequences and should not be taken lightly.
7 If you do well, [a]will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:7
Avoiding distraction is possible through a lifestyle of purposeful living, discipline, study, prayer and ongoing relationship with the Living God, Jesus Christ.
Be purposeful. Purpose in your mind that distractions will no longer misdirect your life through careful planning.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12 Therefore, [g]strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 13:11-13
Plan your schedule and stick to it. Include in that plan time with God, time for yourself and time with your love one’s. Embrace the realization that it will not be easy, it will take determination and discipline.
Engage in the discipline of prayer:
Plan time for prayer. As we begin the war against distraction, prayer brings clarity about priorities.
Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Habitually Study the Bible, God’s Word:
There is always hope in God’s Word. If you are experiencing fear, anxiety or distraction, the bible addresses it. He promised he would bring it back to memory right it’s needed.
Don’t just read God’s word like your favorite novel. Study it. Use commentaries and bible dictionaries. It’s not your average book on the shelf. Ask him for understanding. It is a spiritual book that will bring volumes of value to you. Use online bible applications like BibleGateway.
Other practical tips:
It’s vital that you get a handle on the external triggers around you because they don’t just interrupt you for a moment—they can derail your workflow for an extended period. Research shows that when people are interrupted during a task—to answer a message or check their email, for example—they’ll try to compensate when they return to the task by working faster, but with higher stress levels. External Triggers
- Buy a paper planner and plan your day regularly.
- Take frequent media fasts.
- Turn off all the notifications on your phone.
- If you are need of clinical assistance, seek it out. It is no shame in that.
- Visit a therapist or a licensed counselor.
- There are many places that you can get help for free like your local church or community center.
- If prescribed an anti-depressant, get it, take it!
The Battle against DISTRACTIONS can not be Won without him.
There is nothing that we go through that God does not know how we feel.
Finally, avoiding distractions will be painful. Yet, as we go through the transformation, as with any good physical exercise, the transformation will be delightful.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even [a]when faced with death. Revelation 12:11
Many of us have heard it said over and over “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”. Although, I wonder have we heard and understood it in context to God’s FULL intended meaning. It is for the Believer only. Do we hear that to OVERCOME is through him? Him being the person Jesus Christ. If it’s going to be quoted why not include the two verses above it?
11 Not that I speak [g]from want, for I have learned to be [h]content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
“Learned” to be content. “Learned” the secret. He learned from THE teacher, Jesus Christ. Abundance and suffering, God wasted nothing. Paul was no superhuman. Not religion or Self-Will Power.
Distractions induces a spirit of what I call “Gotta Syndrome.” “Gotta see…,”, “gotta know…” and “gotta do…” The truth that “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. HE makes me lie down in green pastures and he leads me beside the quiet streams. He promised that his yoke is easy and burden light.
Conclusively, keep going to God and asking him for his help. Distractions are avoidable and manageable.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us Romans 8:37
Jesus and Therapy! We can make it, let’s do it together.
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