Thursday, February 20, 2014

Driven Distraction

This post was written a few weeks ago, but I didn't get around to publishing it until now. A testament of its content for sure...

In a culture where distractions lurk around every corner, desktop, handbag, and back pocket, I find myself searching for sanctuary. 

Maybe I'm doomed. You see, I am a naturally distracted person. I find it difficult to focus on any given task or idea for a long period of time or to focus on more than one thing at a time. I'm that type-A person who needs lists, schedules, and alarms because if that structure isn't there it doesn't happen!

You could say I'm a very organized procrastinator. I require order in my environment to function well, but, since I'm also given to distraction, if I am not motivated enough to stay on my mission I will put it off. Add it to tomorrow's list. Reschedule it. Then before you know it, my to-do list is 12 pages long, and I eventually implode or explode (thankfully not physically, because that would be one monster mess to add to my list!) because of the sheer magnitude of all that needs to be done.

Some people call it "mommy brain," some might call it ADD, I'll call it driven distraction. Why driven? Well, sometimes an idea or task presses SO heavy on my mind or to-do list that I am power-driven like a V8 engine to carry it out & accomplish it. For instance, today I was baking bread (not one of my favorite past times, but one I try to do on a regular basis for my family none-the-less) and while it was in it's final rise, 20 weeks of pregnancy hit me like a Mac truck and I was suddenly exhausted -- I mean flat-on-my-back, can't-keep-my-eyes-open, slurring-words-like-a-drunk tired. I HAD to lie down and close my eyes for a minute. And why not? The kids were playing wonderfully together in their rooms, our delicious, wholesome bread still had 10-15 minutes to go before baking, and the dog (a.k.a. God's handmade foot warmer) was already at my feet ready for an afternoon snooze. Perfect scenario. So I laid down on the couch for a quick siesta. Aaaand I fell asleep. Not long, mind you, but long enough to miss the peak rising time for that aforementioned bread! I jumped up upon the realization that my perfect sandwich loaves would now probably come out looking like a very large rectangular brownie & tended to them promptly, only to confirm 45 minutes later that they did, indeed, look like a very large rectangular brownie. My V8 ran out of gas. Disappointment galore.

"But that's understandable," you say. "You're pregnant. You have 3 young children. No doubt you're tired!" Why, thank you for your gracious concern, but this is not the only example from today. After pulling my sad, browned bricks from the oven, I "re-revved", started a load of laundry, swept the basement floor (where a certain toddler had dumped detergent earlier that morning), carted 2 baskets of clean clothes upstairs to be folded... and as I was returning the broom & dust pan to their rightful post, why not sweep the dining room & kitchen while I'm at it? Then I met with the dish pile that was by now looming very large in the kitchen sink. It was at this time that I began to think how very distracted my afternoon had been. "I should write a blog post about this," I thought. And here I sit. I literally left the sink, full of sudsy bubbles, because I know that if I do not begin writing out these thoughts immediately, they will be forever lost to the black hole in my mind -- that dark and mysterious place where high school math lessons, what I ate for dinner last night, and the loci of my cell phone and car keys go. So I had to deviate, right?

What can I do? I'm constantly being bombarded by chores & tasks, requests from little ones, and my own desire for "me time." Don't even get me started on social media, email, texting, and the lure of all the other propaganda the world throws in your face at every check-out stand or in TV shows, movies, and advertising of all kinds. It leaves my mind spinning! No wonder I'm so distracted.

I have a dear friend who is not like me. She is focused, driven, a "doer." She sees a task to be done, & she handles it swiftly with skill and force. I love this about her! It's everything I wish I could be! But it's not my nature. I'm not her. And she gave me some wonderful & much needed encouragement today. She told me I'm a good mom. Me?! Really? But I'm so harried & scatterbrained! However, what she said she observes in me is that I can anticipate the needs of others (namely my children) and see to them effectively with patience, tenderness, & loving kindness even in the midst of busyness. I'm not here to brag. Her words today both humbled me and blessed me tremendously. You see, I want to be her, but it seems God has gifted me in a different way.

But here's the crux of the matter: No matter where I am in my walk and no matter how many distractions capture my attention, it is my fervent prayer that my life will be a portrait of obedience to James 3:21-25,
"So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." (NLT)
This I must cling tightly to & never deviate from! Because when it comes to obeying God's Word, there are no excuses. My personality, tendencies, short-comings, strengths won't hold an ounce of water when I finally come face-to-face with my God and King on that glorious day to be judged for the things I've done (or haven't). He created me. He knows me (Psalm 139). And yet He's still called me to obey His Word. I'm incredibly grateful that I am more than a conqueror in Christ (Romans 8:37) and that nothing can separate me from the love of God (vs. 39), but perhaps the most wonderful & necessary gift for me in all my diversions and preoccupations is the awesome power of the Holy Spirit, who, as I surrender to Him, is transforming me day-by-day me into the glorious image of my Lord and Savior (2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Romans 12:2). All praise be to God!

No, it's not a good thing to be distracted & it can certainly be detrimental to myself & others at times, but if I faithfully give my attention over to the Lord I have to trust that He will work that out in me over time. His time. And right now, I sure am thankful for how He's grown me so far because apparently my kids are benefiting from it, and, prayerfully, so are my husband and others around me.

Where do your attentions lie? Do you live a life of motivated movements, driven distraction, or rapacious roaming? Please share. I'd love to pray for you as we strive to be more One-minded together!