This topic of "distractions" has been the theme of 2013 for me so far, specifically distractions that keep me from the "One Thing". You can replace the phrase "One Thing" with the "Better Part", which Mary of Bethany discovered, or the "First Commandment", which is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Whatever you want to call it, it is the place of prayer, connecting with God our Father in the secret place.
Because it is so easy to "do things" many of us believers find ourselves doing more ministry to people than to God. I have my theories as to why, and I wrote a little bit about it in the post Martha Got a Bad Wrap, but this post is not about Martha. Let me say that "doing for God" is not bad, but "being with God", I mean just sitting with God enjoying Him, enjoying me, is the better part, and its also the neglected part for many believers. What keeps us from just sitting and spending time with God? Distraction.
Lets be honest...Many of us allow ourselves to be distracted, we actually like to be "busy". We like the feeling of importance "busyness" gives us. Busyness is an art-form of juggling life, also known as "multi-tasking" or the non so popular term, "attention deficit disorder".
Being distracted is not our fault after all, right? After all, life around us is moving fast and enticing us to partake in the busyness. Here is an example:
"I need to take my child to a party the same day as attending a baby shower, then have people over for dinner that night, find a time to get to the store for the things I need for dinner, prepare my Sunday School lesson for the next morning, call my mom, get an hour of time with my husband before we crash, oh and I forgot to return some emails from Friday, because I work full time, and did I mention I have five children?"
I wish I could say this was something I just made up as and exaggeration, or an isolated incident, but this is pretty much every Saturday for me. So when I set out for a 21 Day Fast Unto my family, it was more than just extra time praying for my family.
I am daily at war fighting against the distractions of life, navigating the clutter and the real life of a Mom in full-time ministry. In the midst of it all, trying to focus my energies on what really matters.
What really matters?If you have ever done a specific fast like this for your family, children, or loved ones, you may have experienced an awakening of "what matters most". When we really look at what our family vision & mission statement is, and then we consider how we are spending our time and daily "walking it out", it can be sobering at the very least.
I have been in circumstances near death where my life was "re-booted" and I was given a second chance, a few times actually. It's in those circumstances we take a cold, hard look at life and make the decision to live on purpose.
I am reminded of this old song by Cheri Keaggy.
The chorus goes like this:
What matters most
Is how much we love
What matters most
Is how much we give
What would it matter if we just lived
Without loving our God, without loving each other
Faith, hope and love, especially love
That's what matters most
What matters most
After listening to that, it really puts things into perspective and I am faced with the reality that I have bowed down to the distractions of life, and that I continue to fall victim to them day after day.
How do I get focused again?This may or may not work for you, but what I do is go on a fast every quarter or so. This 21 day fast I am concluding was different because of my unique focus and goals. However, I generally will take 3-7 days, or more, and specifically look over my schedule, my family life, my commitments, my ministries, and dialog my "life" with the Lord.
I will spend longer time in prayer, time in solitude, and try to get away or my family will get away so I have the house to myself. I will increase my private prayer and worship time. And can I tell you how faithful God is? He always shows up. Always.
If you desire shifting and re-focusing in your life right now, I want to encourage you to set apart time unto God and put it all out there before Him. Weigh and measure all that you do before Him and ask Him for wisdom from on high so that you will get all out of life He created you to have. So that you will find joy and peace in your comings and goings, and He will be the center of it all.
If this is something bearing witness in your heart right now as you read this, you may want to read my post on The Power of a Focused Life.
And as always, I'd love to hear from you on this topic.