Dealing with the Distractions

Published on 30 November 2023 at 14:42

The Window Incident.

This is what we will refer to when we one day tell our son about some of the parenting adventures he took me and my husband on. It is Monday morning, and I am working through my normal to-do list to prepare our home for the coming week. I step away from my son to locate my wandering one year old, and return to find a glaring crack in our living room window, courtesy of a rogue toddler and a Paw Patrol phone. Immediately, I experience frustration, and panic. When will we be able to repair this? How much will this cost? The intrusive and distracting thoughts pull my focus, I feel a drowning sensation, and all of a sudden, I don’t know which way is up. I’m Peter on the sea, distracted by the storm just long enough to forget the one who not only was in the storm with him, but who knew the storm was coming. I was distracted from God’s faithfulness until He revealed to me that he was using this broken window to actually reveal to us information that would later save us thousands of dollars. As I am praising God for having a greater plan, I am laughing at myself thinking, “you sat in so much stress and anxiety all day because you forgot your faithful Father”. I was so distracted by life’s present state that I forgot God’s ultimate and good sovereignty.

Distractions can come in the form of inconveniences and unfortunate circumstances. There are minor and frequent distractions; the work conflict, the temperamental children, the social media scroll, etc. Then there are the major, less common distractions; the medical report, the job loss, the circumstances that are thrown out of left field that leave us scrambling. These events and life circumstances are distractions because they tempt us to believe that we are alone in the storm, and are responsible for its ceasing, rather than trusting God to move and waiting on His work to unfold. Our circumstances have the power to distract us from God’s ultimate sovereignty and faithfulness by pulling our focus away from Him, and onto the uncertainty of the present.  When these distractions show up and grab ahold of us, relentlessly tugging us every direction away from Christ, how do we deal with them in a healthy and biblical way? How do we face distractions in a way that we stay following after, being changed by, and on mission for Christ?

God and His living word give us an image of this in Joshua 4. After God creates a way through the Jordan River for his people, He tells Joshua to set up stones that would be a future symbol of what the Lord has done. We look upon stones of remembrance that God gives us so that when the distracting circumstances of life come, we don’t avert our gaze or divert our path, but remember to follow Christ’s lead. The people and Joshua could have been so distracted by the torrent of the river or the impossibility of the situation that they abandoned all hope and turned the other way. But rather than succumbing to the distraction, they watched as the Lord played out the rest of His plan that He had already set in motion before they even made it to the river’s edge. Because just as He went before, alongside, and ahead of them, He goes with us. 

When we recall our personal stones of remembrance and refocus on the Lord in the midst of distractions, we become stronger disciples. Not only do we stay following after Christ by remembering His faithfulness and not straying during distracting circumstances, but we make room for the Holy Spirit to use those circumstances to mold and refine us more into Christ’s image. Our faith in the midst of one trial now looks different, maybe even stronger, through remembrance. Whereas before our faith was easily distracted and swayed. We can also remain on mission for Christ as we disciple and speak into the lives of those trusted ones around us. We can encourage our brothers and sisters to build their own memorials on stones of remembrance by navigating distracting circumstances alongside one another. 

That crack in the window made way for an incredible move by the Lord to set up a stone of remembrance in my life. He saved us from a future burden much greater than the present inconvenience, and He called me to pay attention for when the next season of life comes, and the crack in the window is even larger and more detrimental. What stones of remembrance has the Lord set in your life? When the next distracting event arises, will your faith look stronger or more unwavering than before? Will you testify on His behalf and encourage those around you to remember to focus on Him as well? Let us stand surefooted at the riverside and keep our focus on God as the storms around us rage. Let’s remember to remember Him.

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