Avoiding Distraction and Staying the Course

I don’t know many people living leisurely, stress-free lives. Probably none, actually. Jobs, kids, obligations, activities–all of these keep our foot on the gas, going and going at a pace that’s not sustainable.

While we may not be able to scale back some of the more fixed aspects of our lives, we do have some level of control. Some of the time thieves we encounter are of our own design. I know I’m the architect of my own time leaks more often than not.

Distraction sometimes feels like rest when it’s actually destructive. Scrolling social media, watching television, and not being selective about our yesses for non-essential activities all add up. We must be resolute in how we spend our time in order to get where we want to be. Discipline–one of my lesser-developed skills.

I’ve been reading a devotional this week about Nehemiah. His resolve to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem was a response to his distress at hearing the wall had been destroyed. Worse still, it remained in disrepair for over 50 years. Feeling a tug at his heart from God to be part of the solution, he set to work.

While working, he encountered opposition from those who sought to distract him and detract from what he was doing. Enemies who meant him harm attempted to lure him from his task. However, he maintained his focus and remained devoted to the project he’d begun.

When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.”

But they were scheming to harm me;  so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. (Nehemiah 6:1-3, NIV)

These words reverberate through me when I read them–“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

When I feel the call of God to spend time with my family, or work on my writing, or tackle an overdue household project, these words seem fitting. Why should I be distracted and discouraged by lesser things? Why be influenced by people and things not in step with God’s will?

Yet I do get drawn away sometimes–often by things designed to rob me of my joy and halt my purpose. Only by pausing to recalibrate and consult with the Lord can I hope to set my face like flint (Isaiah 50:7).

As I struggle to banish distraction, I know the Lord can help me. I can pray for wisdom and clarity. I can rest in His grace. But I can’t do it in my own strength. When I try, I fail every time.

Lord, help us to focus on You. Help us to know Your will, Your purpose, and Your voice. Teach us to hear you above the noise of life and to rest in Your arms when we are weary. Amen.

With Love and Gratitude,

2 thoughts on “Avoiding Distraction and Staying the Course

  1. “all of these keep our foot on
    the gas, going and going at a
    pace that’s not sustainable.“
    Such truth! How often do we
    keep going till we run out of
    gas? Thank you for your
    words of wisdom!

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