Distractions are everywhere. If we’re going to do something significant for God we must deal with distractions.
David tells us that he had to deal with the distraction of negative fear-based thinking:
Ps 55:2,4-5 “My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught…My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me, fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.”
It is a distraction to think negative thoughts that aren’t designed to get us through the situation, but only serve to immobilize us. I’m talking about thinking thoughts like “What’s the use? This project will never get done on time.” or…”What’s the use? I’ll never get over this problem.” or…”What’s the use? I’m doomed to fail anyway. I’m in over my head; I’m outmatched; I’m bound to lose.” All of us feel this way from time to time. The danger of this distraction is that it keeps us from thinking Godly thoughts.
Another distraction David dealt with was those who wished him harm…
Ps 55:10-11 “Day and night they prowl [the city’s] walls; malice and abuse are within it. Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.”
One of the sad facts of life that we learn growing up is that there are people in this world who, sometimes for no apparent reason, do not want to see us succeed. They want us to fail. They want our team to lose. They love to see us fall flat on our faces. They want to take what little money we have for themselves. I hope you don’t know what I’m talking about but I bet you do! People like this are a major distraction. They complicate our lives. Those out to hurt us are a distraction.
Another distraction David faced was disloyal friends…
Ps 55:12-14 “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.”
Few things in life hurt as badly as getting stabbed in the back by someone close to you. I can tell you from personal experience that this hurts a lot worse than being libeled by an enemy. When a friend is disloyal it is devastating.
When I was 18 I had an experience I will never forget. I was part-time youth minister for a church that went through a nasty split. Some disgruntled members broke away and started their own church. One of the charter members of the church was the leader of the splinter group. The church had about 300 members, and only about 30 people left, so it wasn’t as if the split could cause irreparable damage, but our minister and the man leading the split had been best friends for many years. The day this all came to a head I was in the church building late at night, working. As I walked by the minister’s office, I could hear him sobbing through his closed door. I couldn’t believe it. Here was a man I thought of as a King David, as one of God’s mighty warriors, and he was sitting at his desk crying like a baby.
If I had had one ounce of discretion, I would have gone on my way, but like I said, I was 18, so I knocked on the door. When he invited me in, I asked him if he was all right. With resignation, he said, “Yeah…this just hasn’t been a good day. I guess you know about it.” I admitted that I did. What he next said to me caught me by surprise. With a breaking voice he said, “The worst part of this nightmare is that I have lost my best friend.”
I thought he was crying because of the split, but he was sobbing from the pain of getting stabbed in the back by his best friend! David knew this pain, too. That’s why he said… “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it…But it is you…my close friend…”
Just like David, disloyal friends is one of the distractions we have to deal with from time to time.
David also faced the distraction of escapism….
Ps 55:6-8 “Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest — I would flee far away and stay in the desert; I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and the storm.”
Have you ever wanted to fly away? I certainly have. No doubt everyone has. The problem is, we can’t focus on fleeing, and fighting at the same time. Yet Paul described the Christian life as “fighting the good fight”. Escapism causes us to change majors when we really have no idea why. It causes us to peruse the want ads when we really have no intention of changing jobs. It causes singles to day dream about being married and married people to day dream about being single. It causes us to spend more time watching TV than we should; it causes us to spend more money than we should; it causes us to eat more than we should; drink more than we should; or even to abuse drugs. I’m not talking about looking forward to a much-needed vacation. I’m referring to a desire to escape so strong that it causes us to compromise our values and avoid our responsibilities. Escapism is a major distraction.
Distractions are a fact of life. David had them. I have them. You have them. There are distractions that come from over spending, over-extended schedules, over-priced books, over-booked social calendars, impossible to-do lists, and overly needy friends. If we are not careful, we find ourselves in a cycle where everyday starts with a bang, and ends with a whimper.
Life can be overwhelming can’t it? We can’t escape distractions but we can resist every distraction that we have entrusted to our Heavenly Father. The key is to have a living relationship with the living God who is our loving Father. When we are convinced that God loves us then we are eager to give Him control of our lives. Only then can we do something significant for God and not be distracted from being salt and light to the Shadowland.
What distractions do you need to overcome?