One challenge I face in life is being distracted or allowing distractions to influence my path. So I have been pondering how to help myself in this area. Sadly it has taken me getting to the point of being so frustrated and anxious that I really have to do something now. Every week demands get more not less so we have to find a way though. I am sure I am not the only one facing this.
Having thought and looked from different angles as to whether it is people, places or situations that cause me to get so distracted I end up achieving nothing some weeks. I have come to the conclusion that it is actually myself at the root of the problem. So even that is hard to hear it actually means I can do something about it.
Firstly it is important to say that I am not feeling down on myself and neither should you. I recognise I get distracted due to having a big heart of compassion and kindness. God flows through this gift to bring his kingdom but I do not think it is his plan that we are destroyed through the gift it is supposed to be a blessing. I also have another mixed blessing in my personality, I am highly spontaneous and I have to work on guarding that side of my nature. The positive side of spontaneity is that I can be very creative and open to functioning out of the box.
Avoiding the distraction pit requires a few boundaries and self-respect of those boundaries to be put in place. It is important to recognise that we are not responsible for other people’s actions, words or lives. Being in ministry can be a mixed bag sometimes as we often feel the pain of others and want to help. Actually it is the one in need who can help them and it is up to God to grow the seed of faith planted in someone. As leaders we may carry a sense of over responsibility toward others that can cause us to be distracted. It is vital we reflect regularly on the fact that it is Gods mission, Gods ministry and His Church so He is responsible we just get to witness some amazing Kingdom things happening sometimes.
Time boundaries are the main thing to work on and then implementing them. For example I like to write, study and think in the mornings so no point having appointments to see people first thing. The reality is though I always have appointments in the morning as it is always more convenient for the other person. I seem to believe when we are in ministry it is always people’s needs above mine which of course is a false economy as when I meet them I am exhausted before I have begun as am functioning outside my preferred rhythm.
So planning time and listening to our energy zone is vital. I know this is not always possible but even Jesus managed his time wisely by getting up early to go and pray or knowing when he needed space and heading to the other shore even though the people were wanting to see him.
The second area to work on could be living by vision rather than “I ought to.” Each year I tend to sketch out a plan for what God maybe calling me to do this year and then also some things I have a desire to do and not all spiritual things either. Once I have the focus for the year then I have a target to hit. The how to get there can be flexible but the vision should direct how I use my time, friendships, who I spend time with, places I travel to, what I read and so on. I have done it the other way of letting the year unfold but as I can get distracted so easily I get to the end of that year look back and think I have just lived everybody else’s vision. A clear sense of direction is vital for purposeful living, leading others and our own self-esteem.
So to ease frustration and anxiety I am going to deal with the root of being distracted, myself and bring discipline to the area of time, boundaries and vision. If you can sit down and have a think, your areas of distraction may be different and you may need to pay attention to different areas in your life.
A great couple of questions to ask to kick off this process are :-
Am I investing in what God has called me to do this year?
What changes do I need to make to determine the course of this season?
I would be really interested to hear from you on how you handle this challenging problem that many of us are facing. So email me any tips and pointers that I can share with others.