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The Dilemma of Distractions
REFOCUS, RENEWAL, AND CELEBRATION
Terry R. Baughman
“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess” (Deuteronomy 5:32–33).
There are so many distractions that cause us to lose our focus. There is no time to be quiet, reflective, or contemplative. There’s just too much to accomplish. Our days are filled with activity and we sigh that we are so busy … and yet we have time for social media, a chat with friends, or we squeeze in enough time to spend an hour catching up on the latest installment of a show. Obviously, if we have time to do some of those things we are not that busy!
This is not to suggest that we shouldn’t chat with friends, stay connected on social media, or have some down time for something relaxing in our lives. This is to illustrate how that we all have time … it is just a matter of how we choose to use it.
Everyone is equal in the time allocation. Even Jesus said, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him” (John 11:9–10). He spoke of the contrast of walking in the light as opposed to walking in darkness, but He acknowledged that there are twelve hours in a day. If it seems that some people get a whole lot more out of their allotment of time than others, perhaps they have learned to manage their time better … or perhaps they have learned to minimize distractions and stay focused on the more important tasks they wish to accomplish.
Time management is a skill that we should learn and practice, but how much more could we accomplish just by putting down the phone, logging off of our email account for a couple of hours, or creating a prioritized todo list. Now that may sound as much fun as developing a weekly budget, but both are practical ways to accomplish a desired goal. One is to get out of debt and the other is to become more productive with our time.
As we enter the midpoint of another year, take a few minutes to evaluate what has been accomplished in the first six months. By July 1st we should be halfway to our goals for the year. If we have much more to reach at that point, then we have either set our goals too high or we have become distracted from our progress and failed to finish the intermediate steps toward our ambitions.
In several passages of the Old Testament there are similar references to our text, “Be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32). The admonition is clear. In order to do what the Lord commanded there must be forward motion, we must avoid detours and distractions, and continue doing what God requires. It’s not difficult, but progress is essential. Avoid the temptation to look one way or the other. Put on spiritual blinders that block out movement and commotion on either side. Look ahead, focus on the prize, “Reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).