The Fight to Stay Focused
“Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines…” Song of Solomon 2:15
Distraction dis•trac•tion n. – that which divides the attention or prevents concentration; the drawing away of the mind from it’s original focus or interest
Lately I’ve been finding myself distracted. Instead of praying about the many things I need help with, I’m on my phone. Instead of reading my Word to find the answers to the questions I have right now, I’m watching a re-run of a show I’ve seen dozens of times. Distracted. I can’t even write this post without having to fight the urge to flip over to Facebook and scroll through my timeline. So I can’t help but be concerned, not only about what is distracting me, but what am I being distracted from?
I’ve found that there are two things distractions keep our attention from: hearing God’s voice and being productive.
So many people complain about not being able to hear God’s voice. We need to quiet our spirit to hear that voice within but our minds are constantly either consumed by thoughts or being occupied by meaningless activity. I’m convinced that we don’t hear God not because He’s not speaking, but because we’re too distracted to be able to hear what He’s saying.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. – John 10:27 (NKJV)
Secondly, distractions inhibit us from being productive. While I’m distracted, I’m idle. I may not be moving backwards but I’m not moving forward either. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to be idle. We should be actively producing something in our lives at all times. There will never be a time when we are called to do absolutely nothing. Our adversary is certainly not taking any breaks. He understands that time is both precious and limited and there is work to be done, so why don’t we?
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
When you know what you are being distracted from, it’s a lot easier to say no to the things that are actually doing the distracting.
The case could be made that these things are harmless, but the Bible says it’s the “little foxes” that destroy the vine. The things that go easily unnoticed, the little occurrences that slip under the radar since they seem so insignificant. What’s an hour or a day in the grand scheme of things right? We would easily be able to guard against distraction if the damage came all at once but it doesn’t happen that way. It’s a slow erosion, and you look up a week, a month, a year later and realize you haven’t achieved your goals or made forward progress in your life.
Distractions come in all forms. I’ve been in places in my life where friends were distractions, a romantic interest was a distraction, and I’ve even been my own distraction. Not sure what’s distracting you? Think of what you use as an excuse when trying to explain why you haven’t gotten something done. Starting there, you can most likely trace that excuse down to a distraction. Anything that takes your focus away from fulfilling your intended goals and obligations is a distraction and the first step to getting back on track is to recognize it.
I find myself most tempted by distractions when I’m making the most progress towards achieving my goals and even more when I’m nearing the completion. I negate those distractions by setting daily goals that I must complete before I do anything else. I know my generation and those behind me have grown up in the technology age so we’re used to having our attention divided but setting smaller goals can help train your mind to concentrate on one thing and see it to completion. This is one of the techniques I use when I find myself struggling but you have to take the time to identify your own distractions and figure out what will work best for you.
So what’s distracting you? You’re not alone in the fight to stay focused. We would all be much farther along in life if we spent less time engulfed in things, people, and activities that were subtracting from us without adding anything. Starting now, make the conscious decision to get back to the things you started and see them through to the finish. Fight the urge to be idle, you are called to remain active and fruitful at all times and in every area of your life. And lastly, always be alert; ready at any moment to catch the little foxes seeking to destroy your harvest.