In a world of distractions, it is hard to maintain focus. Have you ever been sitting at Sonic getting ready to place your supper order for the fam, you know you have to get it right, or all “you know what” is going to break loose? Mac wants chili cheese fries with grated cheese . . . not the sliced; a Sonic cheeseburger – cut the lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and mayo . . . add ketchup (because it can’t just be plain and dry); and a large green tea – add mango, light on the ice. Bekah wants popcorn chicken (the family size, because of course she was going to share with everybody); chili cheese fries with sliced cheese . . . not grated cheese; and a large Dr. Pepper. Alisa wants a foot long cheese coney . . . no onions; Ched ‘r’ Bites (not cheese sticks; they are not the same); and a Route 44 Diet Dr Pepper – because they don’t make a Route 45. Last but not least, comes mine. Sonic cheeseburger – cut the onions and add mayo, chili cheese tater tots, and a Route 44 sweet tea, add raspberry.
I have asked each of them for clarification AND repeated their order to them to make sure I got their order right. Now, to get it right requires laser focus and determination. I am focused. I know what I need to do. I have done it a thousand times before, but man holding on to that focus at that point and time and not getting distracted, that’s the key. I stare down the red button, watching as my finger inches closer and closer. As my finger makes contact with the button, it begins to glow. Just as the car hop comes on and says, “Welcome to Sonic. May I take your order?” BAM!!!!! A sudden jolt of pain pulses through my arm, and I swear I now have whiplash like I just got t-boned driving through an intersection.
After I finally get over the shock of what just happened, I look over to the passenger seat, and my wife is laughing so hard, she actually has tears running down her face. She has just thrown a Mike Tyson punch into my upper shoulder and thinks she’s funnier than Jeff Foxworthy at a redneck convention. I have obviously lost all my focus, am totally distracted, and have no idea what anyone’s order is. When the car hop says “Sir, can I take your order?” with a little frustration in her voice, I could barely stutter through “I’m going to have to call you back. Sorry and Thanks.”
Many times, our walk with God is very similar to this. We are trucking along laser focused on God, and what He wants from us. Then all of a sudden, we get distracted. It is almost like it comes out of nowhere. Although it may not be as violent a distraction as I described, we have lost our laser like focus on God because of it.
Many people give up and don’t even try to maintain their focus. They normalize the failure, make an excuse, and then they quickly forget or ignore the whole event. They are doomed to repeat it. So, what can you do? First you have to realize that you are distracted and then, for me anyway, I need to quickly identify the distraction and what is keeping me from being focused. There are a number of things that can be a distraction: TV, phone, money, work, being uncomfortable, perfectionism, jealousy, fear, and my ego. Anything that keeps you from including God in your everyday life is a distraction. I have no doubt that there are many many more, but these give you an idea of what to look for. After identifying the distraction, and if you want to regain that focus, you have to start working on your relationship with Him.
There are two ways I build that relationship. That is through prayer – a sincere conversation with God – and reading the Bible. Then be patient and wait upon the Lord and He will answer. I have been on my phone or TV for way too long; read my Bible. I am not sure if I have enough money; “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19). I have all these projects that need to be completed; “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31). It is hot/cold, my back hurts, I’m tired, I don’t like my situation; “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. And he delighteth in His ways” (Psalms 37:23). I can’t think about anything else until I get this perfect; “God is my strength and power and He maketh my way perfect” (2 Samuel 22:33). I wish I had what that person next to me had; “Every good gift and perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father” (James 1:17). I am afraid; “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for though art with me” (Psalms 23:4). I can do it my way. I’ve got this all figured out; “A man’s pride shall bring him low, but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23). Prayer is what brings these types of answers. Yes, they are all scripture, but that relationship developed through prayer is what leads us away from distractions and back to focusing on Him.
Remember what we focus on is our witness. If we focus on being a witness of Him, it doesn’t matter how hard that punch is, we will get the order right.
— Written by Chris