War Against Distractions

distractions

It seems like the faster our world moves, the harder it is to get anything done.  Maybe I’m just particularly susceptible.  After all, a co-worker once told me I had the attention span of a fruit fly.  But I don’t think I’m the only one.  Our world is increasingly littered with distractions.  There’s always something trying to pull us away from the truly important.

I’ve realized the only way to accomplish my goals and be faithful to what God is calling me to do is to wage war on distractions.  I need to consciously, systematically and brutally battle against them.

Here’s just a sample of the distractions I’m warring against these days:

  • Email.  I only check it at three designated times per day.
  • Facebook and Twitter.  Two designated times per day for these.
  • Mindlessly surfing the internet. I use Google Chrome as my browser and Stay Focused to limit my amount of time online.

Here’s some distractions I’m trying to avoid all together:

  • Unresolved conflict.  It’s hard to be productive with a low-grade conflict grinding away in your mind.  The Bible is on to something when it says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” (Eph. 4:26)
  • Gossip.  Why are you wasting your time with someone who has nothing better to do with theirs than gossip? (Prov. 20:19)
  • Comparison & Envy.  Shouldn’t we be so busy doing what God told us to do that we don’t have any space to worry about why and how He’s using someone else?  (John 21:22-23)

There are a number of practical strategies to fight each of these distractions.  Most of them involve removing temptations from your situation or removing yourself from a tempting situation.

But what really works is focusing your heart on something greater than these petty little distractions.  You were made by God.  We’ve been given the privilege of knowing Him, relating to Him and being used by Him.  He’s given us work to do and fruit to bear.  Focus on that and all of the sudden distractions seem to matter less.

Your call.  You can spend all of today on your Facebook newsfeed envying people you hardly know who are on vacation or you can plunge yourself into everything God has for you today.  You just can’t do both.

On The Field

team

Sundays are my favorite day of the week.  Our church gathers to worship Jesus.  My family is there and I’m surrounded by people I love.  We sing, we celebrate, we hear from God, we invest in each other’s lives.  In a lot of ways, I wish every day could be Sunday.

But Monday comes every week.  The church scatters throughout our city.  Life starts happening.  Meetings, soccer practices, commutes and projects threaten to overwhelm us. It’s easy to leave the message of Sunday behind.

What if we learned to see Monday – Friday differently?  What if they become every bit as important as Sunday?  What if we believed the worship of God is carried out through the mission of God in a city desperate for the hope of God?

Here’s how I think of Monday – Friday.  I feel like a coach whose team is on the field while I’m on the sidelines preparing for our next huddle.  Sure, I try to get in the game in my own ways – developing relationships with neighbors and people at the coffeeshop.  But I spend a lot of my week with Christians.  You have the privilege of carrying the name of Jesus to people who know nothing of the gospel of Christ.  They’re in the cube next to you right now.  You had lunch with some of them.  You’ll go out with some of them after work today.  Maybe you’re in a meeting with some now.

Church – you’re in the game!  God has you at your job for reasons that go so much deeper than earning a paycheck and getting health insurance.  You’re an ambassador of Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).  You’re there to work with excellence (Col. 3:23), to put others ahead of yourself (Phil. 2:3) and to be salt and light. (Matt. 5:13-14)  You get to carry the hope of Jesus to your world today.  That’s every bit as big a deal as singing songs and hearing a sermon on Sunday.  In many ways, that’s the point of the songs we sing and the message God speaks to us through His word.

So, as you’re on the field today, know this:

  • I’m thinking about you and praying for you.  I care how you’re doing on the field.  The stakes in the game of eternity are huge and I’m cheering you on every step of the way.
  • Don’t waste this gift.  Jesus has done so much to put you right where you are today.  He gave you an education, a job, the ability to get out of bed this morning and the gift of eternal life.  Don’t waste that by withdrawing from the very people He’s sent you to reach.
  • I want to be the best coach I can be but I can’t take the shot for you.  You are the one God has put in your office, not me.  But He’s given you the power of His Spirit.  That’s a billion times better than having me tag along to answer the tough theological questions people will fire at you if you start talking about Jesus.  You have the resurrection power of Christ in you.  He’ll make you adequate for the task at hand.

Play well today, team.  I love you.  I’m cheering for you and I’m praying for you!