→Have you ever made your mind up that you were going to focus on completing a goal or get something accomplished, and you are bombarded with distractions?
I had a busy Summer, entertaining and hosting family in our home, home repairs that needed to be made, several family birthdays to be celebrated, and reconnecting with a wayward family member. Yes, a lot of these activities can be joyous, but as I often say, “Too much of any good thing, can be too much!” I found myself getting off track by not keeping routine and structure. Not having a routine or structure is not necessarily a bad thing, but when your lacking routine and structure for an extended period of time, will you lose focus.
After our family left and most of the home repairs have been completed, I set my mind this week that I was going to get back to a routine by sticking to my daily schedule as much as possible. This is especially important for me because I work from home as a writer, so having routine is imperative. If you work outside the home, your routine may look a little different than mine.
I began my week by writing out my daily and weekly schedule. I had a productive day on Monday and was getting much accomplished. I guess you can say I was getting my momentum back after my long, unstructured Summer. But then Tuesday came, I set my alarm clock on my phone to get up at 5:45am to start my day, and for no particular reason my cell phone “died” during the night and did not sound to wake me up. I know what you are thinking,” Your must had a low battery.” Nope, my phone was 100% charged before I went to bed. So, I woke up late Tuesday and that through my schedule off that I was determined to stick to. I did not let that stop me, I tried the best I could to keep a good attitude and adjusted my schedule to adapt to getting up late. I receive a text from an extended family member at 8:30 am asking me if I want to celebrate another family member’s birthday Friday night (I just celebrated this family member’s birthday at my house on Sunday so I was a bit confused). I hate telling people, “No” so after I informed this person I would not be there Friday night I felt a tad guilty which causes me to feel distracted. Everything is well after this text, and then as I am getting ready to post an article I had just written to a contact I have in South Africa, my internet goes out just on my laptop. I took about 40 minutes trying to do everything I knew to do to get my internet connection back up-more time is wasted because the internet never came back on and my power would go off and on for the next 45 minutes. In complete frustration, I now realized I am nowhere near keeping my schedule for the day. I cannot seem to get much accomplished because of the distractions.
I go to bed Tuesday resolving I will get back focused on Wednesday. I get up early Wednesday morning, hoorah my cell phone is working again! I go for my morning walk and I notice my neighbor has their car parked close to my house. This annoys me! Why? I am already feeling a little frustrated by the distractions from the day before and did I mention I entertained my family on Sunday ALL DAY including a wayward family member that had been away for a while? When I saw their vehicle, I become distracted by thoughts such as, “Where am I going to put my trash can tomorrow?” (their car was right where I put my trash can!), and “They are rude and inconsiderate people.” But, I breathed and prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to please HELP ME to get on track. Afterwards, I began my preparation for writing the article I was to post later. Before I began to write I received a phone call at 8am for prayer from a family member. I stop and pray for this family member, and I then get on a roll with my writing, and THEN about 8:30am in the morning I begin to hear the loudest banging and hammering coming from my neighbor’s yard (the same neighbors who I mentioned early with their vehicle). I went outside and obviously, there was some repair work being done on the outside of their home. I could hear the banging and clanging in the office that that I work in. I turned the radio up and played bird sounds from my sound machine, but I could still hear the muffled noise in my neighbor’s yard. I became increasingly frustrated as I needed quiet to be able to write. This distracting noise from my neighbors went on from 8:30am-5:30pm! At lunch, I decided to get some fresh air and take a walk in the park, during my walk I get a random text from my mom asking what shoe size I where. This normally would not bother me but today it did! After 5:30pm I decided to take a little break, eat dinner, finish my writing and then watch a movie. I finally wind down after a long day of disruptions and I began to watch a movie based on a true story, and I was really beginning to enjoy the movie and relax, and in the middle of the movie I hear a loud popping noise and my electricity goes out again! This time nightfall is upon me, and my husband is out of town. The electricity stayed out for about an hour. While my electricity is out and I am trying to find the phone number to call my electric company, a girl that I mentor was texting me and calling me. Normally hearing from her is a good thing, but at that moment I thought I was going to pop! Okay I thought after this, I’m ready to go to bed and to bed I went!
I was more than determined to awaken Thursday and start off on track once again. As I go for my morning walk to pray and connect with God, I notice my neighbor still has their car parked near the curb of my house. There is no need for my neighbors to have their car parked so close to my house when they have a driveway and a curb of their own. Today I have to wheel my garage car to the curb for garage pick up and I don’t have the space to place my trash can because of my neighbor’s car. If you are wondering if I handled this situation like a “loving Christian,” The answer is, “No,” at least not at first. I become so distracted about where I was going to put my trash can I could not even enjoy my walk. So, I did a non-neighbor thing and placed my trash can right in front of their car. It felt so good to do this, I was like “ha,” got you! But after my “revenge” I rolled my trash can down further. Afterwards, I realized I needed to spend some quiet time with the Lord for the way I was acting and feeling. I hear God the most when I am outside. I begin having my quiet time with the Lord and just beginning to settle down and sawing, drilling, and hammering started again in my neighbor’s yard. I go inside to a room I have in the front of my house away from the noises so close to my home to spend time with God and another truck pulls up at my neighbors to run a very, very loud hose in their yard to treat bugs. I could hear this loud noise in almost every room in my home.
The internet on my laptop is still not working so it has made posting my articles difficult, and the jump drive that I have when I went to use it this morning to hopefully copy my articles to another laptop I have said there was an error on it and I could not use my jump drive.
Distractions come to keep you tense, cause you to lose peace, and derail you from making progress in what God has intended for you. Yes, distractions come to all of us, it is just a part of life, but when the distractions come in high frequency and duration, there is a good chance the enemy is trying to stop you before you even get started.
The good news is, if you are being stumped like I am the enemy does not want you are about to do to happen. PUSH THROUGH THE DISTRACTIONS. Don’t magnify them but TURN AWAY from them, and do whatever you need to do to keep focused until God sends the enemy packing. Yes, I prayed daily for God to stop the enemy’s barrage of attacks but they were allowed, and I believe allowed for my good. You see, I am learning how to IGNORE THE ENEMY’S ARSENAL OF WEAPONS that are being thrown at me.
How to overcome distractions in your life:
1. Move away from your distraction-QUICKLY!
2. Don’t magnify the distraction. The distraction will end and eventually go away.
3. Focus on things that are lovely, a good report and praise worthy.
4. Do whatever you need to do to keep the distractions from bothering you-turn your phone off, play music to muffle the noise or wear headphones, and continuing praying.
5. No matter what comes your way in the form of distractions, keep pushing through and don’t give up!
6. If you are feeling overly stressed or anxious about distractions that come your way and are losing focus, STOP. Breathe, pray, and take a break. Go for a walk. You can feel tension and stress in your back, stomach and your head. One or two distractions will not cause you to get stressed but multiple distractions over a length of time can cause aggravation and irritability that leads to stress.
7. Put your cell phone away as you need to and get off social media at a certain time at night and have days that you disconnect from your phone, emails, and social media.TAKE AUTHORITY over the enemy if you believe you are being spiritually attacked with nuisances, hindrances and distractions. How do you know it is a spiritual attack versus normal everyday distractions? The duration and frequency of the distractions. In the name, power and authority of Jesus the enemy must flee. Resist the enemy and he will flee from you. Give him no power of your day by the thoughts and actions you have as a result of distractions.