André Baard

Distraction is the Word

Just as reset was the word last year March as covid reset us and forced a recalibration of priorities, ‘distraction’ is the word now. As we enter the civil new year as per the Hebrew way of time keeping in September, let us be mindful to not let the painful reset of the last eighteen months be wasted.

Distraction is something that directs one’s attention away from something else and comes from the Latin verb distrahere: dis- ‘apart’ + trahere ‘to draw, drag’. It literally means to be dragged apart unwillingly.

“Distraction is the primary spiritual problem in our day.” Richard Foster famously asserted. Quite an astounding claim to give ‘distraction’ first place among the problems besetting the healthy development of our (spiritual) lives. I think the profound truth of those words are becoming clearer and clearer as the world races around us, especially during this pandemic. The forced slow down has been a golden opportunity to focus and spring clean the mind, priorities and focus. Distractions are the bespoke activities authored by the Father of Lies for us. Undivided devotion to the Lord tears up those scripts and zeal for Christ burns up the devilish screenplay. Distraction is the weapon of choice of the satanic hosts to keep us engaged in good things, noble causes but not the One Thing. Let us not lose our gains, let us cut off the devilish distractions and focus alone and the One and the One Thing He requires of us.

“The race is not to the swift …” as Solomon observed about 3000 years ago. We have placed productivity on a pedestal and efficiency prances around like a god in the workplace. Hyperactivity is called servanthood, in and amongst the church pews. Ritual attendance to numerous church services is wielded by many as some sort of obscene Nicolaitan Trophy. As Covid lingers on and many become more frantic and desperate to ‘make things happen’, it is good to know that the battle is not to the strong or wealth to the brilliant … Let us not become slaves to fear or bully our own soul with our unlimited digital distractions.

Busyness is not a virtue. “Busyness is not just from the Devil, it is the Devil.”, Carl Jung noted. It is not hyperbole, distractions are devilish. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Let us become acutely aware and conscious of the distractions that unwillingly trap us – list, name and journal them. Expose them to the Light. Let us rediscover the power in the screaming, exposing power of prayerful silence. Prayer is like sunlight for the soul. Prayer sterilizes, sanitizes and re-orientates our thinking toward Christ. Prayer connects us to our Spiritual Compass Christ. Prayer is like the telescope, its an instrument of targeting. It zeroes in on the Yes and Amen and fades out the peripheral. What about the benefits of slow food and extended fellowship? There awaits unparalleled effectiveness in life from the discipline of maintaining absolute focus on the One and the One Thing.

‘Slower’, she is not the answer either but she holds a bunch of keys in her hand to doors that are too rarely opened. ‘Speed’, that imposter, kills. Speed will have you bypass many treasures as they appear a blur and uninteresting because you’re flying past life itself. Speed, that hater of Slower, loves the thrill of a car chase.

Isaac Newton shared a profound similarity with his namesake of the bible – both discovered their treasures while sitting under a tree. Being seated has the benefit of its path leads to vaults full of revelation and penetrating insights. Slower, the great friend of Patience, well her wine and slow baked bread is just superior. ‘Ephraim is a cake unturned’, Hosea said … Speed burns the one side and leaves the other undone. No more toast burnt on one side, thankyou!

Wilna van der Merwe used a beautiful term recently … “unhurried rhythm“, it rings true for the season were in. Hurrying around doing many good things but unwittingly avoiding doing the ‘One thing’, as Jesus reminded the rich young man, is the age old lie of Satan. Look not to Egypt and her fast chariots, the Lord will save those that trust in Him.

The world has the best chance of changing when changed Christians enter it. Us Christians love “good deed distractions”, so it keeps us away from the real issues on God’s mind for us – being transformed inwardly to the image of Christ. Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves.” We love our sweet distractions like we love our sweet little lies … they are both strategies the flesh uses to avoid the cross of self-denial. So long as we are in hurry-scurry-mode fixing everyone else’s issues we can confidently and triumphantly avoid our own!

We surreptitiously hold onto and guard our trauma’s like a hen her chicks through the smoke screen of our myriad distractions as we avoid the pain of healing our old ways because we convince ourselves of the lie that the trauma of the cross is for other people that really need it more than we do. We need to find the brutal honesty that comes in the slowing, quietening, and stilling of a lifestyle of prayer … if we fail to resist the seductions of our noble distractions, we will fail finding destiny as we miss the treasures in the path before us and find ourselves living the scripts authored by our enemy!

2 Responses

    1. Appreciate the comment Marianne. You are right, its a choice the Lord gives us. It’s an extravagant price that needs to be paid, in the giving of our time for lingering fellowship at the feet of Jesus and with one another. True fellowship of the saints in the light is being restored though! (1 John 1:7)

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