When my children were young, there was a time when money was tight as a one-income family. I had been wanting new furniture for our growing family, so I decided to get a part-time job in the evenings to make it happen. Jason agreed to this temporary arrangement, and I quickly found a job close to home in a Christian bookstore that worked with my schedule.
It had been years since I had worked outside of the home, and I remember being so nervous about my new job. The day I was to begin, my mind raced constantly about whether I had made the right choice in leaving my family to fend for themselves several nights a week, whether my coworkers would like me, and even if my mind was still sharp enough to keep up.
To make this work, I had to pick my son up from school by 3 pm, get the kids home and settled, wait for my husband to arrive home, and head to work by 4 pm. Thankfully, work was 5 minutes away, but it was still a hectic hour. If everything went according to schedule, it would be all good.
But, as life would have it, my husband was delayed in traffic, one of my children needed bathroom assistance, and the other needed to show me some important papers from his teacher. The clock seemed to tick faster than usual as the time to leave loomed.
I remember running out to the garage for something my son had left in the car, sliding on some house slippers since I was still barefoot in the house. Then another distraction came as kids were pleading for snacks. In my mind, I was panicked that my husband was later than normal…and on my first day!
At this point, I was questioning my whole decision-making process. As Jason pulled up, I grabbed my purse, kissed everyone goodbye, hollered some last-minute instructions about dinner and homework, and drove away for work.
Shortly after arriving, clocking in, and making my way to the front register, I was summoned into the manager’s office. The long walk to the back reminded me of being called to the principal’s office. He asked me to come in and gently told me that I would need to have appropriate footwear for working on the floor. Confused, I slowly looked down to see that I was still wearing my house slippers and never changed into my dress shoes! I looked ridiculous, but I had to laugh as he looked at me like I was losing it. Maybe I was!
I apologized and explained how distracted and frazzled I had been getting into this new routine with my family. Then I assured him that it hadn’t been intentional, to which he chuckled. He said that he thought it was quite a fashion statement but seemed out of character for me and what I was wearing. From his office, I reluctantly called my husband to bring me some work-appropriate footwear. Talk about embarrassing! Ten minutes later, walking in with our two kids in tow, Jason held my shoes with the biggest smirk across his face. I think my look warned him that teasing me was not a good idea in this moment, so he handed them off without a word.
Isn’t it crazy how distracted we can become, missing out on so many important details of our lives?
As Christians, it is a challenge to be connected to God while walking through this chaotic world in which we live. It’s equally challenging to love others better than ourselves when there are so many things to see and desire. So how do we keep our eyes on Christ and our hearts on the eternal while still engaging the world with purpose?
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.”
Luke 21:34 ESV
If I had taken a moment to look at the necessary parts of my work outfit, I would have seen my error. But, I was so distracted in mind and body, that I was blind to what my boss quickly recognized.
In Luke 21:34, we are warned to be watchful for the day and not be weighed down by earthly distractions that keep us from living into our full purpose in Christ. Not only do we watch for the way sin can sneak into our hearts and minds, causing destruction, but we also must look for the return of Christ in preparedness. We want to be found faithful when he returns. Jesus cautions us against being entangled with the cares of this world. Not ignoring our responsibilities…but avoiding self-centeredness, drunkenness, and squandering of our time, talents, and energy on things that have no eternal value.
In an age of distraction, it is hard to keep our eyes on what is most important.
Fixing Our Eyes
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
Psalm 119:15 ESV
What we think about is what we become. It guides our motivations and behaviors. So, one way to fix our eyes on the right things is to meditate or think on truth. It also requires us “to be set” or “fixed” on what truth is.
It might require some wrestling through your thought life to weed out error and hold fast to truth. Use a journal to think through your beliefs.
Maybe you need some accountability in some area of your life where you tend toward distraction. Pray that His Spirit will point out areas of weakness.
Instead of Netflix for three hours at a time, maybe you could set your intention to read a short passage of Scripture, find a truth-filled podcast that can challenge your mind, listen to praise music, find a way to serve someone, etc. Don’t be dissipating your life on a steady stream of empty entertainment.
When I started my job, I needed a better plan. The following days went smoother, because I had snacks ready. I had my outfit ready to go. A place to communicate with Jason was established so last minutes needs weren’t being hurled at frantic ears.
How does this apply to our spiritual lives? How can we overcome distraction in our relationship with God?
Plan for obstacles/hindrances. Be aware and watchful. (Look up Hebrews 12:1)
Set them aside. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Pray in a distraction free zone. (Matthew 6:6)
Slow down long enough to hear, actively listen, and respond appropriately. (James 1:19)
You can bet that I never forgot to look at my feet before leaving the house again. I was intentional, because I didn’t want to relive that experience. I wanted to present myself well. Thankfully, though this situation was embarrassing, it didn’t have serious consequences in my life. But, if we aren’t careful, we could be like Moses and miss out on God’s best plans for us because we are so consumed by what feels good in our flesh. God cares about our obedience and attention.
There are bigger failings of life than wearing slippers to work, and I want to live fully in all God has for me. Don’t you?
Moses missed out even after all the times he chose well. He missed the earthly promised land due to disobedience but still went to the eternal promised land because of his sincere faith.
We serve a compassionate God.
Let’s lay aside the cares of this life to live fully in the presence of God. His mercies never fail and are new every morning.
What is one thing you can do to fix your eyes on Jesus today?
Do you have an embarrassing story from a time you were derailed by the distractions of life? I would love to hear!