I am not sure if I coined that phrase this morning when I sat for my Quiet Time and ended up in a digital conversation on my phone or if it’s a well-known (to everyone else) phrase. Either way I had some thoughts about it.
Like I said, I sat down to read, study and pray and decided to check my phone first. The reason I reasoned to myself was to check if the prayer bulletin I get on Fridays had arrived. Now, let’s be honest here, I know better. Too many shiny things on my screen that come through the night, updates on Facebook, texts, messages. I know better. The best time to have checked would be after I studied, as I started prayer. But no, ten minutes later I was trying to extricate myself from a lovely conversation because time was ticking.
I picked up my journal (where I write God stuff not another distraction :)) and began to write about mind clutter. It’s a big problem for me. As soon as I try to still my mind in pop little things to distract me. As soon as I promise to pray for someone and set my heart to do it right away along come the little things to distract me. Not just prayer, I can be reading a book and suddenly realise I have been staring at the page thinking about something completely different. I guess I just have one of those sort of minds.
That’s fine when it’s a book or a movie, not so fine if I am mid-conversation with someone… but not at all fine if I have an appointment with my Father.
The things I am distracted by aren’t sinful in themselves. A pile of laundry or an unswept floor or a coffee cup or the thought I need to call my mum or a text message from a friend or the thought of something to add to the shopping list or the memory of another book/conversation/movie/thing are not sinful. Neither is it sinful to have those thoughts. Neither is it sinful to get distracted by them and lose a few minutes of prayer time. God’s not an ogre with a stop watch.
I want to pray. I want to read. I want to spend time in His presence. The distractions are just that, things that move my attention off Him and onto other things when I need to be focused on Him. See I just did it then, email popped up and I went and read and then commented on a comment someone had made to my comment. Sin? No not at all but wise? Not so much.
So what to do? Suggestions are welcome but I’ll tell you what I have already thought.
Piece of paper to make reminders so I can put the thought aside (this blog is roughed on a scrap of paper – thank you dear realtors for these lovely free notepads you have delivered to my door).
Remove distractions. I need to decide if having the prayer bulletin is so important I risk spending 10 minutes on my phone. Maybe I print it off and pray through it on Saturday instead.
Be disciplined. Bottom line here, be disciplined. Sometimes it is just simply a temptation that needs to be resisted.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
These things that distract aren’t necessarily sinful – they can be of course but more they can become sin as we wallow in them and forget our true purpose: to know Him and make Him known.