Lizzie loves a good shopping spree. She finds peace in the endless rhythm of browsing the racks, and trying things on, and spending hours in search of the one perfect item she is looking for. She usually does not know what she needs until she finds it, but then, she knows. She jokes that Target has a memory erasing device at the entrance of their stores—she comes in for milk, and leaves with 3 trendy pillows, a pretty dress, and a new kitchen gadget. And then she has to send her husband to the store after work because she forgot the milk. Oh, her husband. He’s a good man.
Lizzie loves to spend hours on social media. She’s been known to let dinner to burn, or forget to get it started, because she was down a rabbit hole on Twitter. Good thing she can order takeout at the click of a button. Her husband is very supportive.
Her favorite evenings are spent with a glass of wine—or two—watching her favorite shows. Yes, she has been known to binge watch. She just can’t resist the pull of a good story. She loves to bury herself in the comforting world of make-believe characters and their fascinating stories, especially easy romance. Her own life is dull and humdrum—nothing like those exciting adventures. Married, kids out of the house, not much to report. Well, on the surface at least. She doesn’t really want to think about the long evenings her husband has to work to provide for them. All this stress is exhausting.
Lizzie loves the little cocoon she has woven for herself—all those well-deserved, innocent comforts to escape reality. She remembers a time in life when it seemed like she could handle a lot more—more stress, more activities, more relationships. Maybe it’s just part of aging. That’s why Lizzie loves to take naps: there is nothing like the feel of drifting away from reality to embrace the sweet comfort of sleep.
She just decided to quit her job as a part-time administrative clerk; it is just too much pressure. Yes, it is going to put financial stress on her hard-working husband, but her wellbeing is important, right? He keeps telling her that God will give her purpose and passion. That sounds like too much work. She’s not interested. She’d rather stay home and get some rest.
Distractions build a smoke and mirror kingdom that will take us away from God’s calling on our lives. Because we are wired for joy and hope and faith, we need to see the danger of distractions, even “innocent” ones. Accumulated distractions will build for us a small world of delusion and fantasy. Lizzie is seeking refuge in her little make-believe bubble of comforts. This small escape world only exists in her mind. It is the sum of her misplaced loves.
The Book of Proverbs teaches us that wisdom is placing our love in God Himself. No less, no more. God invites us to live out the fullness of our identity in Him. Lizzie is too distracted to care about identity, calling and purpose. She has numbed herself into the comfortable oblivion of manifold distractions.
So, unlike Lizzie, let’s dare to diagnose our distractions. Let’s dare to refuse self-deception and self-numbing. Let’s seek to cultivate the root of our hope, our faith, our joy in God Himself. Let’s be ruthlessly honest and see distractions as they really are in our own heart, even when comfort beckons. Especially when comfort beckons. And let’s dare to ask ourselves: what if God was using our uncomfortable circumstances to personally mentor us into deeper intimacy with Him? Would it make difficult seasons worth it?
We have a choice. Our circumstances can distract us away from genuine faith, hope and joy, or they can draw us closer to God. We cannot grow closer to God while building our own little kingdom through self-numbing and worldly comforts. Instead, God invites us to join His bold and ambitious work to build His larger, infinite, eternal Kingdom.
To accomplish our purpose in this life, we need to be laser-focused on God’s calling over us, and shun the worldly distractions. What the world needs most right now is our personal intimacy with God. Only then will we be truly equipped to reach the world in His Name.
Take a listen to Gospel Spice Podcast Episode 90 to find out many more ways that our world aims to distract us from God today.