Distracted By The Mundane

Do you ever have those days when you know you need to be doing something, but you are distracted by so many other things?  It seems no matter how many times you start, you are easily overtaken by something else. I remember back in the days before laptops and wifi, I was most distracted by the television. Oh not now!  Do you know how many fonts and graphics there are out there, or how many cool things there are to pin?  Just in case you didn’t know, there are tons of amazing websites to look at, with  equally amazing things to buy.  It is the Easily Distracted’s best and worst playground. Even right now, I want to click a different tab and look at some t-shirts that I think are cool and read an article I found.

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My distractions are taking me away from homework that I need to get done and from getting my blog posted in a timely manner; these things, though important, aren’t end of the world issues, but it did made me consider the other things that we don’t do because we let unimportant things get in our way.  Do you ever find yourself daydreaming? Have you ever thought, “I’m just going to check my social media real quick,” and some time later, you realize you’ve lost an hour, or two?  Have you ever went to the store to get a quick something only to leave several hours later?  We’ve all done it.  I like to call it task avoiding; you know you have something important to do, but you chose to be distracted by other things to avoid the task that really needs to get done.

Sometimes I feel like the queen.

I was reminded this morning of one of the first scriptures I memorized as a teen, that didn’t come from a Sunday School teacher.  

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” ~ I Corinthians 10:13

At the time, and probably into most of my adult life, I thought it was just for bad stuff.  You know, those of the “thou shall not” category, but it’s not.  There is such beauty in this scripture, such a lack of condemnation.  Let’s stop and think about this for a minute; the first sentence basically says that your temptation, your distraction, your test, is common.  You are not alone, others have this same issue.  That statement all by itself should bring you tremendous peace. (And causes Kari Jobe to start singing in  your head). For me, regardless of the issue, knowing that others have battled and won, gives me hope.

God Is Faithful

Then there is the next sentence. Cue clouds parting, sun shining, angels singing. Three little words that could change your life if you let them, “God is faithful.” Oh, yes He is. Those words required nothing after them to be the most pivotal words we could read, but because God is faithful, He allowed Paul to explain it to our doubting selves.

I have heard it said many times, “I don’t know if I can take any more of this,” or “God knows I can’t take this.”  He does know.  And at those times, when we think we are at the end of our rope, He may allow a little more, to stretch us.

Romans 5:3-5 says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

God is making you strong, but if you are struggling and need a “tap out,” He has provided that too.  You see, Paul writes that with any temptation or testing, God provides a way out. I’m smiling right now at the beauty of this because it almost seems to easy; just call on Him. Carrie Underwood did a great job in reminding us that all we need to say is “Jesus take the wheel.” It’s that simple.

Stand on the promise that God is there for you, regardless of the temptation, regardless of the test.  He is there for you if you are struggling with eating a piece of candy or with something so monumental, your name would end up on the news.  Jesus has been there and understands your temptation.  Call out to Him and then listen.

Father, how awesome it is to know that you are there for us.  That you know everything that we could ever endure and you use it to grow us and to bring you glory.  Help us to remember that you are only a breath away when we are being tested and that you are so very faithful.  Help us to remember that nothing is too big or too small for you. We love you Lord and give all glory to you, in Jesus precious name, Amen.

I Corinthians 1013

Off The Grid

I was thinking the other day, what would it be like to be ‘off the grid’?  I thought, how nice it would be to not have to color my hair, I would have plenty of time to write and read books, I would exercise. Oh, my worship would be go good, because I wouldn’t have all of those distractions. I would live off of fruits and veggies and seafood in my tropical, coastal home; my health would be better, my outlook would be better, I would be better.

Of course, I wouldn’t be totally disconnected, because I would still want to be in contact with people and would need to do research.  Pinterest is research, right?  But I wouldn’t have internet in my home, I would have to go into the village to use it at the library or coffee shop. I would go into the village just enough for the folks to know my face, but not remember my name.  Such an awesome picture I was painting, it my mind, I was picturing the place where Jason Bourne lived at the very end of Bourne Identity.

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However, I more I thought about this picture, the more I realized that I had created this perfect life, complete with hammocks and coconuts, but devoid of a very important element in God’s design for me: People.  In my dream retreat, I had isolated myself, apparently, even from my family.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy being around people, but I also love to go on trips.  Weekend trips, weeklong trips; as a family, we took a two-week vacation last summer and that was the greatest for me.  I love to travel, see new places, meet new people.  I’ve always said, if money were not an issue, Molly and I would be on short-term mission trips all the time. We love being around people, so the idea of actually being without people is foreign to me.

This is because, God did not create us to do this life alone.  Even in the garden, with life as perfect as it could possibly be, God saw that Adam was lonely.  Genesis 2:8 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” This always blows my mind just a bit, because Adam communed with God, but God could see that Adam needed someone more like Adam and less like the Almighty. I can picture it now, God telling Adam, “I love you little one, but you need some friends of your own.”

I can hear all of my introvert friends screaming now, “but I like being alone!” Yes, you do! I do too, sometimes, but total isolation isn’t healthy.  Through many of the stories I’ve read, even those of people who may have lived well off the grid, they still had contact with other people.  One man, who only talked to one person 27 years, still had contact with other people when he would go into their camps and stole their property.  Even in my own dream of living off the grid, there are still people.

There are countless studies about the effects of loneliness or being alone; depression and poor health are at the top of the list. English author John Donne said the very famous words, “No man is an island entire unto itself,” and Tenth Avenue North even have a song about it. But the Bible, God’s word, says a lot about it.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~ Hebrews 10:24-25

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” ~ Romans 12:4-5

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” ~ Psalm 133:1

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~ Matthew 18:20

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” ~ Proverbs 27:17

My favorite, coming from Jesus himself:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Matthew 22:36 – 39

 There are so many more scriptures in the Bible about being with other people; God did not intend for people to be alone.  He created us for community, He wants us to live with and learn from and love other people. You are not alone and you don’t have to be either.  Join a Bible study, go out with friends, make some friends.  Go on a date, go to a family reunion. You are not alone.

Father, you are so amazing, you created us to be a people that live life together.  It is your desire that we are with people who will lift us up, encourage us, and walk with us in our journey.  I pray Lord, that you will open doors of opportunity for us to meet new people, be in new places, grow in the knowledge that You designed us with two purposes, to love you and to love other people. I pray this in Jesus precious name. Amen.

He wants us to live with and learn from and love other people.