As I was meditating in my devotional reading this morning and spending time in prayer there was a word that ran through both of them—distraction. I know I could go to a dictionary meaning, look up its language roots, and even consider the biblical usage of equivalent terms. But before doing this, there were a few different pictures I had of the word.
The first was to think of a distraction as a dis-attraction, with dis- being a common prefix meaning to pull or tear away, to separate. In this sense it is when my attraction to something is broken, even if momentarily, by something else. Something coming into view which is very appealing to the mind or the eyes would be classic examples of this. Once the picture is there, you start to play with it and maybe even act on it.
The second and then the third, which grew out of the second, were dis-track and then dis-traction. In being dis-tracked I thought about being thrown off track. Here maybe our thinking is replaced by another thought which pops into our mind or a phone call or anything else which takes us from the course we were on and for a time moves us somewhere else. And growing out of this, I thought of losing traction or the drive to move ahead. The occurs when the object you are focused on maybe appears daunting or less appealing, and you want to give up, or maybe even when one of the other senses of the word becomes more appealing and you give more effort to the new attraction or course.
I imagine that all of these are appropriate considerations in thinking about the word distraction. Even considering the word itself was a distraction for me, as what I really sat down to do was to spend time with my God. Emerson Eggerichs at a live Love and Respect seminar spoke of his daughter grabbing his face in the dark and turning it back to her, and saying something to the effect of, “Daddy, you’re not listening to me.” Even in the dark she could tell that he was not giving her his full attention.
Our lives are so full of things that grab our eyes and our minds, whether it is a task undone, an imposing obligation, a lack of time, something more appealing at the moment. The list is endless. But the answer for all of them is to turn our eyes back to the original attraction. Even in writing this, I thought of a song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” in which the first chorus and refrain read:
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s a light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;” (Colossians 4:2, NASB95)
The best answer for a distraction is to refresh our attraction. So, having been on the rabbit trail and letting God even in the rabbit trail speak to my heart, it was nice to turn my eyes fully back to where I had intended in the first place, at least for a few more minutes.
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (11/1)
Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on Me. I know that your heart’s desire is to be aware of My Presence continually. This is a lofty goal; you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life. Don’t let feelings of failure weigh you down. Instead, try to see yourself as I see you. First of all, I am delighted by your deep desire to walk closely with Me through your life. I am pleased each time you initiate communication with Me. In addition, I notice the progress you have made since you first resolved to live in My Presence.
When you realize that your mind has wandered away from Me, don’t be alarmed or surprised. You live in a world that has been rigged to distract you. Each time you plow your way through the massive distractions to communicate with Me, you achieve a victory. Rejoice in these tiny triumphs, and they will increasingly light up your days.
“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” (Romans 8:33–34, NASB95)
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14–16, NASB95)