We so often are sidetracked by our focus. It’s not that we are unfocused, but that we become focused on the wrong things. We start out strong, but then one little tumble, or maybe a giant one, can derail us. We become distracted by the success of others and wonder “why not me?” We allow our effectiveness to be limited by the opinions of friends, coworkers, or even complete strangers. We are crippled by our fears and overwhelmed by needless drama. And, we are robbed of time, energy, and finance by our addictions; all with just the turn of a head. As a result, our distractions appear increasingly more overwhelming.
As our focus continues to shift to anything and everything but the one thing we set out to accomplish, any memory of our goal is soon dismissed as an impossible dream, a fleeting hope, or an unrealistic expectation. Ultimately, with our field of vision completely cluttered and our fears increasingly validated, we either lose ourselves in a hopeless struggle to rise above them or we buckle beneath their weight, give in, give up, and exchange the road less traveled for the path of least resistance.
All the while our heart’s desire remains as nothing more than a disappointing ache: but it doesn’t have to be this way. Recovery begins when we make the decision to turn away from our distractions and rush headlong into our purpose. Learning to ignore our distractions requires effort. The apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Renewing our minds, retraining the way we process and respond to life’s squeaky wheels is an essential part of moving forward in our purpose. Squeaky wheels are difficult to ignore, but in order to hear God’s still small voice we must fully focus on Him. Learning to not just listen with our spiritual ears, but also with our spiritual eyes, straining not just to hear His words but to read His lips. The more we are able to do this the fainter life’s squeaky wheels become.
So, how do we focus fully on God? How do we discern His Word, His will, His calling? It starts with the faith to believe our true purpose is found in Him. We often try to make sense out of God’s calling, but God – from our human vantage point – seldom makes sense, He does, however, make life! And enjoying that life to the full is to rest fully in Him.
As I look back on my life I am able to identify a few decisions that, at the time, seemed inconsequential. However, these seemingly small decisions altered the course of my life. From this vantage point I see clearly the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6. When we seek God He directs our paths in ways we can never imagine, turning small decisions into game changers, and making giant roadblocks just a blip on the radar of our lives.
In a world of squeaky wheels, in all their many variants, it is easy to allow life’s distractions to pull us off course. And while these distractions may not in and of themselves be sinful, they will – if we continue to indulge them – at the very least render us less effective and at the worst lead us into a place of idolatry where we focus on the distractions rather than the goal.
In the end, we will be happier, healthier, less stressed, and more successful when we focus on God’s purpose for our lives and not on the struggle it takes to get there. Focusing on our distractions only serves to empower them, but when we focus on God He empowers us.