Summer is almost upon us and the time is here for the amusement parks to open and the carnivals to begin popping up in the north. Walking through the midway at a county fair or local carnival is a totally unique experience. Oh the smell of greasy hot sausage simmering on a dirty, fly infested grill! The sweet, lingering odor of cotton candy wafting through the breeze! Neon lights flashing all around!
And to complete the experience are the continuous calls of the carny workers. “Step right up! Get your tickets to see the three-headed lady! There’s no one else like her.” “Hey buddy, why don’t you prove your manhood and win a stuffed animal for your babe?”
From a spiritual perspective, carnival season never ends here in the U.S.A. The carny voices constantly clamor for our attention—promising joy and happiness, but rarely, if ever, delivering.
How many voices constantly call our names? Some of us have our families and all of the attention that they require (and deserve). Some have our jobs that sometimes demand long hours. Others have school work with the never-ending chant from the text books. “Study! Study! Study!” There are homes and all of their maintenance—not to mention our cars. And these are just the necessities of life.
There are our hobbies and the need for diversion from the daily grind. Our investments. Our social networking. Our pets. Our TV shows. And of course, the carnivals and amusement parks.
And while the vast majority of these things are in no way bad within themselves, the cumulative effect spells DISTRACTION. Before we know it, all of the money in our time-banks has been spent. Even without intention, it’s so easy for God to begin to take second place (or even lower) place in our lives. The result is that we slowly dry up spiritually and a low-grade guilt begins to cloud our minds. We know things aren’t right and that our personal needs aren’t really being met, but we feel overwhelmed by our wants and by the complexities of life.A simple truth can really help us to navigate these treacherous waters. Distractions are natural and come without effort. Focus must be intentional. In other words, I can expect that there to be a zillion things shouting for my attention on an almost daily basis, but walking with God will not happen unless I make a deliberate choice to pursue Him.
Jesus put it this way, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NASB)
The process may indeed have its challenging aspects, but the secret is to build our lives around Christ and His purposes. The value really is far greater than even an opportunity to see the three-headed woman!