Originally published Friday, 29 June 2018.
I run and often to get through a long run I listen to music. I don't necessarily need the music, but I've convinced myself that running with music makes it go faster, more enjoyable and less painful. The reality is, it's all in my head. How do I know? The other day, while on a long run, I realized how much I was missing by being distracted. On this particular run, I had no headphones and soon realized that there were benefits to running without the distraction of music. I could focus on the road ahead, I could hear traffic and nature, and I could literally smell the roses. Because I was "present," I could adapt quicker - I could adjust my breathing or my stride, and what I thought was scary or daunting, actually was not - it was all in my head. Sometimes, I think we use distractions as a crutch.
Our Christian walk is like a run on a long winding road; a marathon, not a sprint. Many times on this journey we rely on distractions to get us through - music, computers, books, friends, jobs, money, and church involvement; anything but spending time in His presence, with His Word, meditating on His goodness. We're not on this journey alone, so it's sometimes baffling why we feel the need to distract ourselves in the first place. The distractions aren't horrible in and of themselves - we can listen to Gospel music, find Christian websites, read great devotionals and have crucial conversations. But sometimes they distract to the point of replacing and this is where the danger lies. We rely more on our distractions than on Him.
When I'm distracted, I don't focus well; my communication is a little off, and there is fleeting attention on my part. This distraction impacts my prayer life and time spent reading His word resulting in doublemindedness and instability. My distractions shift my hope to me instead of Him.
Removing my headphones on my long run made it more enjoyable. In the same vein, I'm eliminating distractions in my Christian walk so that I can truly focus on the Lord. I want to bask in His presence. Therefore, I need to be present. Distractions are always a challenge, but with God's help, I’ll stay focused on Him.
I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. Psalms 119:15, 16
Don’t let distractions deter you.