Be careful what attracts you; it could distract you! This statement popped into my head repeatedly the past few weeks. I have woken up at night with these words on my mind. I have been walking the dog and the words come to mind. Initially, I kept relating it to things of the world. I was thinking about all the things I did that could distract me from the Lord. My biggest struggles have been related to food, shopping, and obsessive compulsive behaviors (primarily cleaning). I began evaluating those areas one at a time.
I looked at eating habits first. Do I get too attracted with food that it is making me unhealthy and being a distraction to time with the Lord? Yes, I love Ballreich® potato chips and can only get them in certain parts of Ohio. I was going out of my way to buy them and have gained a good 8 pounds of salty, crunchiness since June. Hmm, maybe this has distracted me a bit from my new healthy eating life style. I concluded it was time to focus on eating a little better and to save the chips for special occasions.
I then looked at my spending habits. Am I spending too much time shopping when I don’t need or really want anything? Is it taking time away from reading the word and communing with the Lord? No, I am doing much better in this regard since I got some nasty over spending habits in order. I readily checked that one off my list and felt a little sigh of relief!
Next I looked at my activities in general. I am attracted to a well-organized, orderly home and have been guilty of spending hours cleaning drawers in the bathroom to remove every microscopic dust particle I could find. One box of toothpicks and q-tips later, I would close the drawer with satisfaction of a job well done. Is the time I spend cleaning and organizing becoming a distraction to the things God has for me to do? Does my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder get the best of me or is it in proper alignment? As I reviewed my recent activities, I began to realize that I spend more time some days on cleaning and organizing than in having quality time with the grandkids and just being cheerfully available to them. I have been distracted with keeping everything in order and have missed out on some precious moments.
Being an extroverted/introvert, I truly enjoy being by myself, undisturbed in the quietness of my surroundings. As I began to look more closely at my daily activities, I realized I spend too much time alone. My preference for solitude is causing me to lose out on precious times with family, neighbors, friends and strangers. Yes, I understand I need silence and solitude to help me rejuvenate, but my life needs to be balanced. If I desire to share Christ’s love with others, I need to engage people. It is hard to share Christ’s love with others when I am living in solitary confinement. I have to force myself to get out and socialize more and be a light to the dark world. It is too easy and comfortable to distract myself with being alone.
Finally, the biggest “Ah ha” moment for me was this morning. I finished my morning quiet time and looked at pictures on my phone. I began pulling up all the pictures of my beloved. I was reminiscing and laughing when, all of the sudden, I felt a tug at my heart. It felt like someone was trying to pull me backwards down into a dark tunnel. My heart began to beat faster; my mind began to race, and deep sorrow tried to grab a hold of me. I recognized it for what it was for me. It was a distraction of the enemy trying to reverse the gains I made in my grief journey. I could literally feel the tug and the pull becoming stronger. At the very moment when I realized what was happening, I thanked the Lord for my husband and the time we had together.
I immediately thanked Him for the memories and the journey and began to rejoice in how far I have come. At that very moment, my heart quit racing; my mind calmed down. I closed the photos thankful I realized what was happening. The enemy was trying to use the memories of my beloved as a distraction to what the Lord had for me today. Had I gone back down the long dark tunnel, the rest of the day I would have missed much that the Lord has for me. I would have missed seeing the robins and cardinals chasing each other around the trees. I would have closed myself in my room full of grief and sorrow and missed hearing about the great day my grandchildren had at school. Memories are important and I cherish each one, yet I will not allow them to distract me from the hope and the future I have as I live each day of this new journey in my life.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I don’t want distractions to get in the way of my service to the Lord, and I do want to seek Him with all of my heart! This journey is not easy, but it is worth it knowing that my Savior poured out His life on my behalf. I continue to ask the Lord to reveal areas of my life that have distracted me, and I know He is faithful to answer my plea. Dear friends, be ever so careful to assess what attracts you to ensure it does not distract you!
His Beloved Warrior Bride,