One of the practices I am trying to get into the habit of doing is having established and planned Writing Days. Essentially, it is a chunk of time that I have set aside to write. Phillip is watching the kids, I have no other commitments and I can fully focus on writing. One of these days, a book will come out of these Writing Days.
For me, a block of time with no other responsibility is hard to come by. Or if I do end up having time, if I am in the house, then I will often see work that needs to be done, something needs cleaning and I will feel the pull to that work instead.
Well, last week was different. I had made space for a 2 hour chunk of time while my youngest was napping and Phillip had the kids out of the house. I had pushed aside the urge to clean, even though my house desperately needed it and I sat down to write.
Deep breath in. Exhale. Write.
Instead of the silence that I was hoping for, there was a loud beeping sound that started outside. I thought it was just a truck backing up initially but after several minutes of listening to the constant beeping, I got up to investigate. A neighbor was having his house painted so he had rented a lift. Every time he moved the lift, even an inch, it beeped. He clearly did not know how to use it.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
How often does that happen to you – you set out to do something and get distracted?
One of Satan’s favorite tactics is distraction. If the enemy can just distract you away from what God has asked you to do, with just a little noise from the outside, then possibly you will be so distracted that you won’t follow through with what God asked you to do. That’s a win in his book.
One of Satan’s goals is for believers to conform to the world and therefore discredit our testimony for Jesus. He often does this by distracting us. If we can be so consumed by worldly pursuits, possessions, activities, pleasures, that we have no time or space to live out the life to which God has called us, then Satan is accomplishing his goal.
Distraction can come in many forms. Satan is clever and will often use a distraction that is perfectly suited for you. What is your tendency? How are you most easily distracted?
We may think that we are immune to the “big” sins. I’m not looking at pornography, so I’m fine. I’m not embezzling money, so I’m fine. I’m not having an affair, so I’m fine. But Satan often uses the little things to distract us, which end up reeking havoc. If you have a tendency towards greed, then most likely Satan will distract you with a business opportunity that you can’t pass up. If you have a tendency towards lust, then most likely Satan will distract you with a flirtatious glance from a coworker. If you have a tendency towards fear, then most likely Satan will distract you with a vision of a tragic accident where your whole family dies. If you have a tendency towards gossip, then most likely Satan will distract you with a juicy piece of private news. If you have a tendency towards comparison, then most likely Satan will distract you with social media. If you have a tendency towards perfectionism, then most likely Satan will distract you with anything that you can try to be perfect at. If you have a tendency towards listening to the noise outside, then most likely Satan will distract you with a loud, continuous beeping sound!
Satan knows that if he can just get you to take your eyes off Jesus and distract you with whatever worldly thing it is, he will be winning.
The distractions that come your way will not always be a bad thing. It may be your kids or your spouse or your responsibilities or your work or your parents. You name it and it can be used as a distraction.
Some might say that any distraction is just life happening, to which I would say, possibly. Sometimes it is, but Ephesians 6 tells us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” There are things that are happening in the heavenly realms that we don’t know about. So whether or not your distraction is just from life happening or from spiritual forces of evil, Satan is pleased when anything distracts you from what God has called you to do.
That day, when the beeping just kept coming, I let the sound distract me for a good 20 minutes. Not that big of a deal. But what if during that 20 minutes, had I not been distracted, God had prompted me to text someone who desperately needed a friend at that moment? What if during that 20 minutes, had I not been distracted, God had led me to a scripture that caused me to fall deeper in love with Him? What if during that 20 minutes, had I not been distracted, God had given me a clear word on what book He wanted me to write?
Satan uses anything and everything to distract us. How do we stand against it?
The next section in Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the armor of God (v 13-17) and to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…be alert and keep on praying…” (v.18).
Satan may have all sorts of tactics to distract us but he can’t stand against one who is praying in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. If we are in constant communication with God through the Holy Spirit, then our heart and our mind will recognize the distraction and we will get back on track with whatever work God has given you to accomplish.
What a blow to Satan!
Pay attention to your distractions. What leads you on a rabbit trail? Is it distracting you from the thing that God has asked you to do? Ask God to show you and trust that He will. And keep on praying!
“If God is for us, who can stand against us?” Romans 8:31
God, keep us from distraction. May our heart and mind be set on you.