I get distracted pretty easily. Spanish, sweets and small animals will turn my attention pretty quick. Earlier this week I was half-way through my morning devotion when I thought that it would be a good idea to look up images of cute animals, and then spent the rest of my time there. Last week when I was doing discipleship, there was a beautiful florescent green grasshopper on the table. He had large white eyes and toothpick legs that propelled him towards me. I was afraid that I would squish him if he jumped on me, so I scooted my chair just the slightest scooch back, which resulted in the back left leg falling off the porch and me gracefully tumbling to the ground. Both of those distractions might not seem extraordinarily significant, for we all lose track of time on our phone, we all fall backwards out of a chair at some point (right?). Upon closer inspection though, it was my quiet time that was sacrificed in that moment. It was a moment of close connection in discipleship that was lost. At a conference I attended last week, Kevin Queen said, “Of course you get distracted when you pray. If prayer is the most powerful force to connect you to God, the enemy is going to do everything he can to stop it.”
In the garden of Eden Eve too was distracted. The serpent deceived her. He told her to try the fruit and she noticed the fruit was “good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that was desired to make one wise.” While the fruit might have appeared a delight and used to make one wise, it was not good for food. She played two truths and a lie and lost.
Deception distracts us from the truth.
Other times we get distracted by our own busyness. We don’t want to do homework so we clean. Don’t want to clean so we Netflix. Don’t want to take notes so we research which Disney princess we are. We create things for ourselves to do. Or maybe the coalition of discipleships, worship, church, Sunday school and the tutoring of the underprivileged and underappreciated is wearing you thin.
In Luke 10 Jesus encounters Mary and Martha also having the same problem. “But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
When looking at the 5 Love Languages, Quality Time is at the top for me. It means so much to me knowing that people want to spend their time with me. Jesus shows that here too. He sees the good works Martha is trying to do, but sees how that makes her worried and anxious. Martha values her works while Mary literally sits at the feet of Jesus.
When Jesus’ disciples came back from all the works they had been doing, Jesus called them into a time of rest. They left the people and all of their good works to spend time alone with God. This allowed them time to hear God and be with Him. Jesus frequently stepped away to a quiet place to pray. Even though He was God, He was also fully man.
Our distractions can keep us from what God is doing through us.
So how do we manage our distractions? Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” We may not be able to eliminate our distractions, but we can manage them. We can step away from the world and step towards the Word. Join Mary and taste the good portion. Consume a life that delights in the Lord.