Shifting The Power of Distraction In Your Favor
Donna Renay Patrick
Are you having a hard time staying focused?
You know exactly what you want; in your mind’s eye, you see it very clearly. You are even taking steps to BE what you SEE. You are operating in the now, but you envision the not yet. So all of your efforts are geared toward your future destination, but certain pieces of the journey have produced confusion, uncertainty, and frustration. You have a plan, a strategy, and you’ve committed your way to prayer. You believe God is ordering your steps, and has gifted you with a vision for business or ministry that is so big, it’s scary.
As focused as I am on walking in my calling, and staying prepared for victory (Proverbs 21:31), the enemy of my soul is just as focused on derailing me from my purpose. I have learned that distractions are powerful, in that they have a grave tendency to send you down the road of negativity and self-doubt. Distractions can disguise themselves as a very well-intentioned activity.
There is no harm in watching TV to unwind, surfing social media in moderation, or even going out to have fun with friends. But if I’m not careful, those well-intentioned activities can turn into time wasters when it comes to pursuing my calling and purpose. What can you identify as distractions in your own life? Only you can answer that question. So how do you manage your distractions so that they work for you and not against you? I have a few suggestions:
1. It is vitally important to be firmly rooted in your relationship with Jesus Christ because that is what will keep your purpose and calling at the forefront of your mind (Romans 12:2). Painful circumstances can shake you to the core, but stay rooted.
2. Be careful of the “freeway” to success. On a natural freeway, there are delays, noise, and a LOT of traffic (distraction). You may reach your destination faster, but what did you learn on the way? Sometimes in my travels, whether by choice or divine providence, I will exit the freeway and take the back roads. Taking the back road is not always a bad thing because it is the road less-traveled. On the back roads, you have more alone time to pray, keep (or regain) your focus, de-clutter your thinking, and there is less noise.
- Embrace the “back road” experience. Sometimes on the back roads of life, God will teach you some lessons you won’t necessarily learn on the freeway. Because of all the activity on the freeway, we risk missing valuable cues and wisdom that only come from God. God can’t get your attention on the freeway like He can on the back roads.
There are lessons I have learned on the back roads: the grace to wait, God’s trustworthiness, and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
A very wise woman I once knew said, “There’s never been a road that always went straight.” I think she was right.
Donna Renay Patrick is an award-winning author of two praise and worship-themed devotionals; At All Times, and It’s In Your Praise. She also co-authored two other devotionals; one to encourage women in the workplace, and the other a stewardship-themed devotional called,The Perfect Seven. She is a musician, worship leader, transformational speaker, and host of The Donna Patrick Show, an internet-based segment on The Fishbowl Radio Network. With ministry-focused guests, her show emphasizes the priority of worship in the 21st century church, and how to tap into next-level personal and corporate worship.