Multi-tasking and wearing multiple hats are just a normal way of life these days. Even in Biblical times, we see an example of a woman who loved Jesus but became so distracted by cooking and hosting, that Jesus himself gently admonished her. Instead of praising Martha for all of her hard work, Jesus emphasized her sister’s ability to prioritize what was most important at that moment: sitting at the feet of Jesus.
There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42
You may be wondering, “How do I know if I’m truly distracted or just very busy?”
Let’s first clarify what a distraction is. Google dictionary defines a distraction as, “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else, or an extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.”
Do any of these statements describe your life?
- I have difficulty completing important tasks.
- It’s hard to get started on a task or know what I need to do first.
- Sometimes I’m in the middle of working on something, but my attention gets pulled away.
- At times I feel overwhelmed by all that I have to do.
- There never seems to be enough time in the day to do all that I need to do.
- Although I’m always busy doing something, I never seem to get where I really want to go.
Although we can’t avoid them completely, if left unchecked, distractions can be big-time derailers from accomplishing our goals and dreams. They can be silent killers of achieving our life’s purpose. That may sound harsh, but think about it this way:
Imagine a beautiful candle shining brightly (that’s you, by the way). If you place a glass jar over the candle, the lack of oxygen over time, will cause the flame to go out. Because you can see straight through the clear glass, you can easily forget that it’s there until the flame gets smaller and smaller and slowly distinguishes.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. Matthew 5:15
When we are constantly running and working feverishly to keep 5,000 balls in the air, we can work ourselves into such a frenzied state that we don’t even see the impact of distractions on our health, relationships, careers and spiritual growth until something dramatic happens.
So, what’s a busy girl to do?
The remedy to a distracted life is focus and accountability. Here are some suggestions on how to streamline your to-do list and gain momentum in the areas of your life that matter most.
Five Steps to a Purpose-Driven, Distraction-Free Life
- Get clarity about your life’s purpose. This is not an overnight, flip-the-light-switch process. It takes much prayer, study of the Word of God and guidance by the Holy Spirit to get clear about your purpose. However, don’t let that overwhelm you or stop you from doing what you know you should do. For example, we know we are supposed to love others as ourselves and love God with all our heart, mind, body and soul. If you don’t know your calling yet, that’s okay. Start with love.
- Take inventory of all that you’re doing. Literally write down everything that’s on your plate right now. Every volunteer activity you have committed to, every home improvement project you want to get to, that doctor’s appointment you need to schedule, and the school play you want to attend for your child or grandchild.
- Look for ways to streamline your focus and energy. We are much more effective and productive when we focus on one or two things versus 10 to 20 things. Sometimes, it’s not that you can’t accomplish all 20 goals, it’s just that you need to pace yourself and establish a healthy and realistic timeline that you will get it done. Does it really have to all be done by the end of next week?
- Ask the Lord for guidance. Take your to-do list to the Lord through prayer. Ask Him to help you prioritize, and ask for wisdom to know what supports His purpose for your life. Proverbs 3:6, says that if we acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our path.
- Be open to accountability. A purpose-driven life is typically not a breezy walk along a rose petal-lined trail. There will be seasons where the path is foggy, unclear and uncertain. Surrounding yourself with godly friends who also make it a habit to seek the Lord daily is a great way to stay encouraged and focused. Use discernment to confide in those you can trust and ask them to help you see your blind spots since we all have them.
How is this resonating with you? Please send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments section below.