Kayla DuBois – Social Media Coordinator
The TV is on. I’m five episodes deep into a new show. One more episode is fine, right? It’s not like I’m going to watch the whole first season in one night…
Typically, when we think of distractions in our lives we think of TV shows, the internet, movies, social media, etc. But there’s more to being distracted than binge watching a show on Netflix.
Consider distractions in a different light–a friend group that’s always available to do something even if it’s not the best influence, a purchase you feel like you deserve to make after a long week, a career or workplace that asks you to compromise your morals but pays well.
What’s the common denominator in all of these examples? The feelings you provoke in yourself designed to bring temporary happiness.
What if TV and the internet aren’t our biggest distractions? What if they are in fact, our emotions?
Maybe you’re thinking these aren’t really distractions but rather choices that are just unwise. Yes, in fact maybe they are unwise choices, but each one of these instances also provide a temporary sense of contentment, happiness, or distraction from something that causes you to FEEL something you want to feel instead. For some reason we’ve convinced ourselves that if we just ignore a circumstance we’re unhappy with, it will disappear on its own. Maybe we can survive by doing small things that bring short-lived happiness instead. The danger in going through life this way is that not only do you distract yourself from things in life you should address, but you also start distracting yourself from things God might be telling you to address. Distractions can become a lifestyle and nearly an addiction that begins to numb you to the promptings God has placed on your heart.
Here’s an example:
At a previous job, I can remember sitting in my car eating my lunch because I didn’t want to be where I worked unless I had to be there. I was thinking to myself, “I’m stuck here. This is it. I’m going to be doing this job indefinitely because it’s the best thing I can find.” I would come home from work and think about work, think about all of the ways I had been wronged that week and all of the things I would fix if I was in charge. I developed a frame of mind that left me in a constant state of negativity, became so distracted by unhappiness, that I wasn’t asking God for His guidance anymore. I wasn’t looking for His prompting. I was focused on my unhappiness.
I’m not saying you can walk away from your job at any time and find a better one, that buying expensive things is a bad decision every time, or that your social group has to change. What I am saying is that your frame of mind and how you choose to control your emotions can easily become a distraction. I may not be able to change my life circumstances in the moment, but what I can change is how I see them.
I’ve learned from this and other experiences that I am the only one preventing God from doing work in my life and showing me what is next. If I remain distracted by things that make me feeling better for the short term, I remain blind to the vision of what God has for the long term. It isn’t easy to fix your emotions and mind on God when the environment you are in beckons you to feel negative emotions. But ultimately God has gifted us with the ability to choose how we feel in any situation.
Now I read Romans 12 in a different light:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. THEN you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” Renewing my mind means not allowing my thoughts and emotions to become a distraction. Because only then will I be able to discern what God’s will is.
Stay strong. Keep your emotions in check. Trust God. And don’t feel so bad about watching that full first season.Click here for the photo credit on this post