Distractions…those things that get in the way of doing the right thing. You have every good intention…and then something turns your eyes away from the better plan that God has for a situation. Sometimes it’s plain ole’ frustration that clouds the right response. Other times, it’s just busyness. In either case, I believe distractions are tools the enemy uses to get us off track–to keep us from hitting the target, so to speak. For most of us, our heart’s desire is to enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season but there’s just too much on our plates. The to-do list gets in the way of taking delight in the simplest joys of the season. The peace and goodwill that Jesus came to give us is pushed to the back burner, and we miss the highest and best path God has designed for us.
When I was a young mom, I often allowed the preparations of running a household distract me from my highest calling. If company was coming for dinner and I had just cleaned the house, you could hear me say things like, “Don’t make a mess. I don’t have time to play a game. You can’t eat those cookies…we must make sure there’s enough for our guests.” While children need to learn they’re not the center of the universe, they also need to learn they’re more important to us than our to-do lists. How many times do we allow “things” to get in the way of what’s really important in life..like paying them some undivided attention.
It took a bout with breast cancer to cause me to stop and smell the roses. I was pretty driven toward an orderly life until I realized there was nothing more important than time with my husband and children. I had allowed chores to take precedence over the higher things of life until the possibility of losing it all was presented to me. In my book, nothing is more important than family. I know a mother can’t sit and play games all day when she has the responsibility of providing for her family, but neither should she forget what’s really important in life…a little time spent with those she loves.
If you’re a mom, let me ask you a few questions. Do you ever stop to look at your child? I mean, really look. Why is it so hard to give them your full attention? Can you stop long enough to intentionally gaze at them when they’re talking to you? Do you notice the flecks of color in their eyes when they’re trying to get your attention? How about bending down to their level so you can really examine their faces! Check out the length of their eyelashes! Try to count the freckles sprinkled across their noses! Take note of the way their smile lights up the room, and see if your spouse’s eyes can be seen in theirs. Do you really know your child? Have you looked inside of them?
I heard it said years ago that we should become a student of our children. We need to get to know them and what gifts God has put within. Do you know what your children like and dislike? Do you understand their natural bent? Are their strengths obvious? What about their weaknesses? God put those things there for His higher purposes. What are you doing to help fan those gifts into flame? These are things to ponder and pray over…for these are the real treasures of life. I don’t want your kids to grow up before you notice. You’ve got to be intentional. Determine not to be distracted from what’s really important in life.
I love the prayer of Paul in Philippians 1:9-11 and often use verse 10 in the Amplified Bible to specifically pray against distractions.
“May your love abound…so that you may surely learn to sense what is vital and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value, recognizing the highest and the best…”
May the Lord help each of us to sense what is truly vital. May we learn to recognize the highest and the best God has for us. My prayer is that the Lord blesses you with the ability to sense those things that have real value. Step away from the frenzy for a few minutes. Spend some one-on-one time with your child. Don’t miss those teachable moments…for you and them. One of these days the kids will be grown and gone, and there’ll be plenty of times for those chores. Approve and prize things of real value. Push above and beyond the distractions toward the highest and best God has planned for you. You’ll never be sorry you did.