Living Focused Amidst the Danger of Distractions

A distraction is defined as something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention.

Wow, anybody?

Distractions were robbing me every day of focus, joy, clarity, calling, and the “present” of the present.  Every ping, ding, pop-up, notification, reminder, email inbox, or text message demanded my attention, and I found I was losing traction with every distraction that popped up.

For me, it’s been more than just a loss of productivity or my belief in the myth of multitasking. I realized I risked losing traction in my relationships.  More importantly as a person of faith, I risked losing traction in my relationship with Jesus.

In a message by Pastor Steven Furtick called “Death by Distraction,” he shared that in medieval times there was a barbaric, horrible torture tactic called “drawing and quartering.” Each of a person’s four limbs were tied to four ropes, and each of those ropes was tied to four horses, who were then commanded to run in four different directions.

Do you know what the French called it? Distraction.

He goes on to say these four things pulling us apart can even appear to be really good things, but they are actually pulling us away from the core focus of our life – our time with The Creator and living out his plans for our life, not our plans with his nod of approval.

As a faith-based life coach, I often have young women coming to me in complete exhaustion from the everyday distractions and self-chosen distractions which rob them of so much. They’re often too weary to battle centering and focusing on conversations that matter with loved ones, friends, and God…but they desperately long for it.

In her book, “Present over Perfect,” Shauna Niequist explains, “I’m learning that both body and soul require more tenderness and attentiveness than I had imagined. It’s easy to be liked by strangers. It’s very hard to be loved and connected to the people in your home when you’re always bringing them your most exhausted self and resenting the fact that the scraps you’re giving them aren’t cutting it.”

Distraction isn’t only the technology in our phones which lure us away from attentive driving. It’s the moments and relationships we lose out on because what “pops up” seems more important than what is present in front of us. Distraction is dangerous when you are behind the wheel, but it becomes even more dangerous when it turns your attention from potential train-wrecks occurring in your marriage, children, friendships, work, or personal life.

So where do we find the “Pop-Up Blocker for Daily Living?”  

In the Prince of Peace himself, Jesus.

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours],” Philippians 4:6-7, AMP (emphasis added).

When you are in relationship with the Author of Peace, through prayer he will set up a guard over your heart and mind against distraction!

Joshua 24:15 says, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”  That’s right, we can choose to eliminate distractions as much as possible! We can shut off notifications, schedule times to return emails when the kids are sleeping (as Pastor Furtick did), remove all social media on our phones, or schedule our own study or workout times on our calendars first! God is not nearly as interested in our productivity as he is in our faith.

Do you feel your life is being tortured like the ancient French practice of distraction? Like your life is being pulled apart in every direction?

The good news is, Galatians 5:23 includes self-discipline as a fruit of the Spirit! (Meaning, when we are in a close relationship with Jesus, this fruit will flourish and we can experience discipline in our lives!)

Where is your life losing traction? Can you identify when or where things “pop up” that distract you? Want to block those distractions? Invite the Prince of Peace to guard your heart and mind today!