” If I were your enemy, I’d disguise myself and manipulate your perspectives so that you’d focus on the wrong culprit – your husband, your friend, your hurt, your finances, anything or anyone except me. Because when your zero in on the most convenient, obvious places to strike back against your problems, you get the impression you’re fighting for something. Even though all you’re really doing is just ….. fighting. For nothing.” – Priscilla Shirer
I can tell you from personal experience that focus is a delicate thing and that one of Satan’s most cunning techniques is distracting you in such a way that you dont even know that you are distracted. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 2:13-14 You can be focused on good things, even things of God and still be distracted and the Enemy wants to convince you that you your intentions are right, your focus is on point. He tricks you in to thinking that the only reason that things arent going better or God isnt answering your prayers is because either YOU are the problem; you arent good enough, smart enough, working hard enough OR because He doesnt care, isnt listening or was never there to begin . A complete undermining of your foundation of confidence.
I love this strategy. This week was a light bulb moment for me as God started to reveal to me the ways I have been distracted over the last 3 months especially but over the last year and a half. Last January I began really seeking what God had for me. What purpose, plan and paths He had specifically for my life. This journey has been full of ups and downs and victories and confusion but I have learned more about myself and His love for me than I truly thought that I ever imagined. But I have also experienced the pain of distraction more than ever before and it wasn’t until I read this chapter that I started putting the pieces together. The truth is is that the slight difference between focus and distraction can be so slight that you can miss it all together, spinning your wheels and slinging the mud and muck of confusion, resentment and bitterness all over yourself and not even know it.
March of 2016 I joined my first Beachbody Challenge group. Already loving Shakeology, the workouts and the community that challenge groups created I decided to sign up to coach, feeling that God was leading me in that direction. I had no idea what this would bring or what He held for me in this journey I quickly understood the prayers it did answer a community of positive women to surround myself with who were all working for the same goal, to be better and show up for ourselves and each other. Before I knew it I was setting goals and creating plans and fully diving into the business and culture and all of the go-getter pedal to the metal things. There was one problem I got distracted. I took my focus off of Gods plan for this adventure and I made my own plans. This is one of the most cunning tricks of the Enemy, to take our focus off of the things God is leading us to and distract us just slightly enough so that our focus becomes the task and not of God Himself. Because we are just slightly off the mark slightly, just enough so that you at first you don’t even notice but before you know it your joy is stolen and you are questioning not only can you hear Gods voice but at times have you ever. The wonderful thing is is that as focus is restored so is joy!!!
Here was my problem: I was distracted and I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!! Here is what I did know that something that I once felt God calling me to was now a source of frustration and what should have been growing me was wearing me down.
Here are 5 questions that you can ask yourself to gauge whether you are distracted.
1) Have you lost joy? Just because we are setting out to do God’s work doesnt mean that things are going to be easy. In fact often things seem to come out of the wood work of crazy when you are exactly in the center of what God has called you to. But, its your JOY that should always remain!! Have you lost the sense of purpose within your Godly task? Often our belief in purpose is tied to our joy! So if your joy is slacking it could be because of your waning belief in purpose which comes from our focus shifting from God’s goals to our own. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield. Psalms 5:11-12
2) Are you verbally stuck? How about when I phrase it this way…. Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?? Ouch. My answer for this would be a big fat NO! I ran my confusion and frustration into the ground with anyone who’s ear would bend as if to listen. Its obvious in our conversations that we are stuck and distracted from the rest of our lives when all we can talk about is one thing and in our minds everything, even the totally unrelated, somehow links back to one thing. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22 NIV and Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7 NIV
3) Are your feet stayed? are you moving forward in other areas of your life? “So you shall observe to do just as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left Deuteronomy 5:32. Are you moving forward as a mom? Wife? As a friend? How about in church? Are you active in Church ministry? Serving others?? Are you contributing to the body of Christ? I believe that God has important work for us in different areas of our lives and proof of this is the Proverbs 31 Woman. She had different tasks that she is completing. She is a follower of God, a wive, a mother, a business woman. She is proof that seeking God in only one area of our live doesnt work because they all work together to take care of the blessings that God has given us!!
4) Are our prayers one sided? Are you pouring out your issues on to the Lord and then closing and calling it a day? When we are stuck or our focus is off our prayers can definitely give us away!! They shift from being focused on the promises of God and the spending time with His to us just rambling on and on about one issue. Asking His to lead and guide in one area and reveal in on area……stuck on one issue. Where are the true heartfelt prayers and petitions for our loved ones and our friend and family who are in need of prayer? What about God’s guidance in other areas of our lives? When we don’t know what to pray, when we feel like we arent in a position to clear our minds and go to God in prayer in the wholehearted way that we should Paul writes these comforting words in Romans! In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
Now that we have gone through those questions:
How can we restore our focus to the one who created us? To the Cornerstone??
We must change not only our words but our thoughts! We must replace our distractions our words of failure, defeat, bitterness with the Promises of God!!! Get in His Word and find specific promises that are for you and what you are going through. Here are a few to get you started!! If you missed last weeks Fervent post click HERE and you can also check out my sweet friend Stephanie Miller’s blogging journey through the book Fervent as well at Butterfly Beginnings .
Feel FREE to Pin Share or repost any of the verses or quotes that hit home to you!!! Keeping these things close will make redirecting our focus back to the Lord easier as we speak His promises over our lives.