The Distracted Soul

Good intentions. Some say that the road to hell is paved with them. So is the winding path to spiritual anemia.

Don’t almost all Christians have good intentions? Don’t we all want to draw closer to God, live out the reality of the Christian faith, and make a deep, long-lasting impact on this lost and broken world? But making the transition from wishful thought to real action can be more difficult than getting God’s truth from the head to the heart.

We can call people a lot of things—lazy, self-centered, apathetic—and I suppose that those labels can be true to a degree. I think, however, that one of the most appropriate labels would be distracted. The great problem of our age is that good intentions are too often derailed by a thousand desires that grab our attention.

For example, I begin my day by crawling out of bed and glancing at my smart phone: blink · blink · blink, flashes the green light. Obviously, an important message awaits, but, as usual, a widow from Nigeria wants to give me money, or a Russian bride named “Svetlana” seeks to make my acquaintance.

After a pit stop in the bathroom, I head for the kitchen, stopping along the way to open the living room blinds with a quick glance out the window. Arrgh, there goes some guy walking his dog up the street after making a rather large “deposit” in my yard! That’ll put me in the mood for a little Bible reading!

Upon grabbing my morning oatmeal, I notice an interesting headline in a leading consumer magazine. How I hate to get ripped off by unscrupulous retailers! And what about those recommended gifts for Christmas? It’s getting so much more difficult to find good presents for my aging in-laws!

I can’t help but wonder how the Pittsburgh Penguins did last night—they have a really good team, you know. Sadly, they haven’t been able to peak during the playoffs in recent years. And, really, the same could be said for all of the Pittsburgh professional sports teams—although the Pirates did finally end their 20-year losing streak.

I’d like to turn on the TV to catch the weather, but I’ll avoid the distraction and check my tablet instead. Darn! The internet is down again. Will I have time to fix it before I head off to the office? I was hoping to spend some time this morning praying for our government leaders, but, once again, more vital issues have captured my attention. Is that another important email that just came through on my smart phone? It looks as though toner is on sale this week. I hope that I’m not running out of data for the month.

PhoneUndoubtedly, we continue to be blessed with abundance in our nation, but material blessings can become a curse if they hinder us from drawing near to our loving Father. One thing I can promise you—the distractions in our lives will not simply evaporate like a puddle of water on a sunny day. No, we must deliberately turn our hearts toward God and turn off the non-stop parade of voices that clamor for our attention. Will we be perfect in our efforts? Of course not. But we can be persistent.

The things of this world continue to promise much but deliver little and those who fail to intentionally seek after God will pay a steep price in the end. Thankfully, His mercies are new every morning—and so are my efforts to seek after my Savior! If I mess up today, I’ll seek God’s forgiveness and start all over tomorrow. In due season, I’ll get it right. You can too!