I went to bed a few nights ago feeling good, centered, all was right. At 4:11 a.m., I abruptly woke up with a sense of urgency, but I didn’t know why. I was wide awake, restless, and began hearing a still small voice saying, “It’s very important to discern and overcome distractions.”
I know we cannot rid ourselves of distractions, but the message I received in that moment was: We need to know the difference between “constant noise distractions” and “still small voice distractions.” In other words, some distractions prevent us from giving our full attention to a mission and throw us off track; other distractions are a sign or diversion that we need to pay attention to. We need discernment to tell the difference.
I often start my day by watching or reading the news—a sea of talking heads giving their opinions on various topics, often in the flashbang style (click here: flashbang journalism ). That morning, I declined the impulse to look up the news on my phone as I usually would.
Instead, I went to the gym with my workout all planned out. I was going to do six exercises, four reps with a minute rest in between, but before long I found myself watching the news anyway, only to discover that President Trump and First Lady Melania had tested positive for COVID-19. Every place I looked was talking about it. This should not have concerned me, since the death rate numbers down, hospitalization rates down, and the presidential family has the best healthcare in the world.
Yet, I feel myself drawn into the narratives of the talking heads, which reached far beyond the simple facts. Before I know it, I was spending three to four minutes between sets, when I should have been working out, watching the news. It wasn’t even 6 a.m., and already I felt distracted and overwhelmed! Clearly, I hadn’t followed the early-morning advice of the still small voice.
As we go about our days, we’re often drawn off task by various scenarios, situations, and thoughts that were not part of our original plan—just as I was that morning. This is true in our personal lives, at work, in our parenting and family relationships. All areas of our lives, we face the onslaught of distractions, of things that would divert us from the main task at hand. The question is: How do we navigate these traffic jams? It is critical that we learn to discern between things that are not as they seem, yet are part of God’s plan, and things the enemy throws at us to get us off our mission.
We need to remember that we are in charge of distractions. If we don’t pause to discern what’s really important, what’s really the mission, and if we don’t do something about the distractions, we give them free reign in our lives. That’s our choice.
Instead of allowing the distractions to fly at you with no resistance, take note of the recurring distractions that attack your daily life and take you away from your mission in life, and then make a plan for counteracting them.
I have a friend named Jim who is a pilot. One day he told me that flying off course by a single degree will cause a pilot to miss the target landing spot by approximately 92 feet for every mile flown. This amounts to about one mile off target for every sixty miles flown. He calculated that without correction, at a certain point, a pilot could end up traveling in the opposite direction.
The longer you travel off course, the further away you will be from your destiny. We all have a mission, and we all face the barrage of news, gossip, dysfunctional relationships, television, social media, work issues, and self-confidence issues that attempt to put us completely off course. Are we willing to allow that? Are we willing to let the plane drift off course without correcting it?
The question is: What are you accepting in your life? What is your tolerance for being off course?
I like to call these distractions “one degree distractions.” Just as it is hard to recognize when we are one degree off course while flying at 30,000 feet, it is hard to notice these “one degree distractions” in our daily lives. That’s why we need discernment, immersion in truth rather than facts, and clarity on our mission. For me, as someone who loves a little of everything in life and not a lot of anything, I needed extra help and have engaged someone who cares enough about me and pays enough attention to me to hold me accountable.
Don’t allow the flashbangs of life, the distractions of both friends and enemies, to force you into operating on auto-pilot. If you have set your course even one degree off, you will never get to your God-given destiny of “life more abundantly” in the here and now.
Have you ever driven to work, and suddenly you’re there, and you don’t remember the drive? We often allow and establish routines to help us manage daily pressures and distractions, but in this, we are at risk of losing ourselves and our purpose. Instead, we must remain alert and focused.
If we can identify and learn the difference between “constant noise distractions” and “still small voice distractions,” and use discernment to manage those distractions, we will stay on course, focused on our mission in life. Now is the time to free-up our minds to take action on past innovations and dreams.
Right now, our minds are filled up with distractions. “Does she/he like me?” “Do I have on the right outfit?” Why didn’t anyone like my new Facebook post?” And so forth.
One of the best ways we can stay on track is to guard our minds and our self-perception. If we keep our mission always before us and learn to define ourselves by our mission and our identity in God (not by other people’s perceptions or opinions), we will not be shaken when details don’t go our way or a jealous co-worker makes a nasty comment or a project we worked hard on tanks. Focus on the goal will enable us to shake these details off and keep moving forward confidently.
We cannot base our confidence on other people’s opinions. Confidence is an internal reality. It comes from knowing we are warrior queens (or kings) of the Most High God. (Another story for another day.) If we allow others to distract us from who we are, the whole day will go awry. Don’t let that happen.
Keep your goals, your mission, your plan before your eyes. And next time someone, or something, attacks you, tries to drag you down or shake you up, remember what’s going on. See it for what it is—MIND TRAFFIC. Stay out of the traffic, remind yourself of who you are, and keep moving.