(Squirrel!) Dealing with Distractions

God has been trying to help me recognize and understand the distractions in my life.  In fact, I’ve learned: “Whatever is not your assignment is your distraction.”

You might think this would be a simple lesson, but I have found it to be a difficult one. Every day we have opportunities before us, but which to choose?  How do we know for sure which is an assignment from God and which is a distraction?  The simple definition of distraction is “anything that distracts” (obviously).  But more specifically, it is anything that divides the attention, prevents concentration, diverts, or entertains.

There’s my problem. (Squirrel!)

I am by nature a thinker. I like to understand how things work. I can get deep into my work and have a hard time changing gears.  Thus, I have purposely created “distractions” in my life–things to divert my attention off work and deep-thinking.  A good book, a good movie, a game of solitaire, social networks, etc. are just a few of the ways I rest my mind and “chill.”

But therein lies another problem.  These things, although individually not bad, can drain me of creativity and devour my time.

The Bible says, “Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you…” (Colossians 2:4). 

Deceive… Now there’s a word I have spent most of my Christian life trying to expose and explain. The Apostle Paul was doing the same. He wanted to expose the ignorance and deception concerning that which keeps believers from growing in spiritual wisdom.  But what he was really trying to say was: “…lest anyone should distract you…” 

The original language in Colossians 2:4 uses the word “beguile.” This isn’t a word commonly used in our modern vernacular, but beguilement is a synonym for distraction and deception.  Isn’t that interesting? These two words are interchangeable in meaning and purpose.

When I read the Apostle Paul’s warning, I immediately understood that if a person can distract and deceive another, so can a thing, such as a book, a movie, a game on my phone, etc.  “Now this I say lest anyone [or anything] should deceive [distract or beguile] you…” (my emphasis).  Paul continued warning believers to keep a steadfast faith in Christ: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware lest anyone [and I’ll add: or anything] cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8).

In other words, the devil can and will use anything to distract us from God’s assignment.  We must beware. 

But does this mean we have to always be at the church or in prayer or in the Word twenty-four/seven? No, not at all.  It doesn’t even mean we can’t enjoy a book or a movie or a game. What it means is that we must be cautious of how much time we give to those things.  I’ve even had to learn how to say no to good and profitable things. [Tweet “Remember, if God didn’t call you to it, you’ll have no promise of a reward from it.”] “And this I say to your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35).

So stay focused. Pay attention to how you spend your time. Remember, if the devil can’t deceive us with evil things, he will do his best to deceive (and distract) us with simple things. (Squirrel!)


3 thoughts on “(Squirrel!) Dealing with Distractions

  1. Hi Daphne!

    God had you write it for me today … honestly, probably a lot of others but I need it today! Does God speak to any of you as well? Just nod if you’re worried about being considered odd … we all are I think because we are unique! I’ve been upset with Him of late as I have made little or no progress on my book “What have you got to Lose?” ; 1/2 way through and stuck or sidetracked a lot (squirrel)! I was going to ask you what the heck are you talking about with this squirrel thing, as you’ve used it before! No clue! I even did a cursory check to see if it is in the Bible. Many use ‘squirrel’ in teachings, but not too many of them interested me. Other than 2 male and female of unclean and 7 male and female of unclean they are not mentioned (another time).

    Anyway, I was standing in the bedroom sorting clothes (after 4 days) as I was talking out loud. Should I kneel down or even bother? This is serious Lord! I need to move forward right now and I need money! I need continued healing as well. I need to hear you more loudly like at the Newman Center! I said, ‘oh, what’s the use!!!’ I can’t focus and if I could what exactly am I to focus on!! I used to focus for hours and then go on to the next thing. I had a direction maybe is what kept me on track, but now I worry I won’t finish and so I say why bother! (squirrel) And then I get down and angry and yelled back at Him I will write some and clean a little. I can’t seem to clean either .. partly because I am in pain and again what’s the use!? I used to like to clean! What do you want and what am I supposed to do, ‘cause I can’t figure it out!

    So I came back and rather than work on my blog or write on my book I checked emails which is often a big waste and (squirrel) distraction and destroys productivity but what the heck! Then I saw you posted and your title.

    ARE YOU talking to me and what do you want me to do — when I get a gnawing I am learning to pay attention. I’m not good at it but it is a high point in my life when it occurs because I find it almost always helps (probably all the time) when I pay attention. Those times I acknowledge it I end up smiling out loud myself.

    Darn those ‘squirrels’ and the Devil and his minions as they evil and not to be taken lightly (something our children need to be taught)! Those are definitely not the cute ones but the only ones it seem our kids hear about?!?

    I pray that this might help even just someone like me to keep questioning and reading His word! Thanks for letting me come by! Rick =)e to keep questioning and reading His word! Thanks for letting me come by! Rick =)

    PS – I know I talk too much – help! =)

    • I always enjoying hearing from you Rick! You’re honest and authentic. I appreciate that. I wrote this article because it’s a serious issue for me right now too. Something I’m working on and trying to be aware of. You’ve heard me say it before but don’t quit. The devil can wear you down or YOU can wear him down. And as for talking with God, I think you’re right on track to be that real with Him. Look at the Psalms. David did the same thing. And just like you (and me), he always ended up praising God for His faithfulness. I believe God loves our honesty as long as we never become disrespectful or forget His majesty.
      keep coming by!

      ps… did you click on the “squirrel” links above? That’s where the term comes from. Should make you smile 🙂

      • Hmmm … I feel like Tweety! … I did , I did, — I did see it!- (“Squirrels”) – I did smile out loud! I did! =)

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