It doesn’t matter where you are; it comes at you from umpteen different directions and before you know it, WHAMO, you’re sidetracked. We all get broadsided by life from time to time, sometimes by good things; other times, by shiny things. You wake up in the morning and the day’s tasks begin running through your brain. You start laying out your time, blocking out this portion for exercise, a few moments here to snack on your breakfast. You give yourself 5 minutes to sit and look over your Facebook timeline and that turns into 30 minutes of scrolling past cat memes and political posts and duck faces and beauty tips and 5-minute recipes.
Before you know it, what you set out to do this morning when you arranged your schedule now lays in rubble at your feet and you begin to scramble to get just one thing in your mental list accomplished.
It’s a fact.
Bills show up and your minds drift to money. A routine doctor visit leads to a serious phone call and a follow-up appointment with a specialist and your heart leaps to trepidation. Teachers send home notices asking for chaperones for the upcoming field trip and our hearts thump out of your chest at helping to supervise 20 kids at the zoo. Your father “has a dizzy spell” and your thoughts race about whether or not there’s enough space in the house for him to move in with you.
Big or small, life chucks distractions at you constantly.
Rippling through our lives, the undercurrent of “success” drives what we do. It is part of the landscape of western culture. We live in an action-driven society where who we are is defined by what we do. When we accomplish what we set out to do, we call it success. When we get distracted, we call our day a failure.
In our eyes, our faith rests on the same wobbly foundation. We see ourselves as dutiful Christians who are to pray, evangelize, grow, serve, love, worship, and so on. When we find ourselves not doing it, we call ourselves failures. On occasion, that leads us to despair because we realize we will never be good enough.
God sees it differently.
God knows we can never be good enough, that’s why He sent Jesus. God understands our desire to “do”; He created and charged man with duties (Gen. 1:28-30). But God never intended for man to be the one who provides. That obligation falls on His shoulders. It is why Jesus teaches against being anxious in the Sermon on the Mount:
Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:25, 33-34)
God has it all sorted out already. Everything that takes our focus off of Him is a distraction. Putting your faith in God is focusing on what He has done at the cross to reconcile you in His eyes and what that means for the rest of your life here on earth.
In this life, you will encounter troubles, struggles, fears, doubts, trials, temptations, obstacles, distractions, joys, sorrows, frustrations, successes, and failures. In this life, you will encounter…well…life. You can choose to focus on the troubles, struggles, fears, doubts, trials, temptations, obstacles, distractions, joys, sorrows, frustrations, successes, and failures…
You can choose to focus on the cross where the God of the universe stepped out of heaven to show you how much love He has by overcoming this life to bring you into the next.