I, as many of you do I’m sure, have a love/hate relationship with Legos. I LOVE that my children can sit and play with them, creating their own constructions or following instructions to build an intended creation, for hours. And, so far, I have been able to avoid stepping on too many. But, I HATE the mess. They have a way of getting everywhere and when it is time to clean up you would think by my children’s reactions that I have asked them to move a mountain.
And my daughter, bless her heart, she has a problem with cleaning up Legos. Well, really with any cleaning. She’ll start slowly picking each Lego up one at a time and then the next thing I know she is building a new creation, my instruction to pick them up completely forgotten! She has been distracted by Legos (and her imagination).
This year, the Spirit has impressed several key thoughts on my heart, one of them being “Fix your eyes on Jesus.” Over and over again, He keeps telling me, reminding me, to fix my eyes on Him. Sigh. I REALLY, REALLY want to do this! But what does that look like? Is it praying 24/7, digging deep into a great Bible study, the list could go on! Knowing my personality, I recognize that I could easily make focusing on Jesus a legalistic set of rules or routine that I follow to know – check! I have completed “Fixing my eyes on Jesus.” Yet I don’t think that’s what the Spirit is asking me to do. So, I have been praying. “Okay, Father, I REALLY want to do this! I’m just not sure what the looks like. Please show me.”
A friend recently told me that she felt God said to her, “Don’t be distracted.” It was a fitting and timely word for a situation she was walking through. But as she said it, my heart caught. That’s it! That’s part of what God is telling me. Part of “fixing my eyes on Jesus” is not being distracted by things I am not supposed to be focusing time or energy on.
The truth is, I am just as easily distracted as my daughter, or the dog in the movie “Up” (“Squirrel!” anyone?). I can be in the midst of following Jesus when someone hurts my feelings, something doesn’t go the way I planned, feelings of failure or discouragement come, children won’t do as I say, I spend too much time on social media, etc. and I completely shift course. Particularly when life is busy or I’m overtired, I can be easily distracted by the inconsequential and completely lose the momentum I had for the task at hand. Yes, I am just like my daughter – distracted by Legos.
And just think. As parents, it is easy to be distracted from guiding our children toward living in the way of Jesus. There are SO MANY opportunities for our kids these days. There are SO MANY opinions on how to parent. It is SO EASY to get caught comparing ourselves to other’s parenting on social media. And it’s SO EASY to be offended by our children’s behavior that we lose our cool and take it personally instead of taking time to intentionally correct and give boundaries (umm… I am SO guilty of this).
I believe the Enemy comes to distract us causing us to get wrapped up in things that are unimportant and temporal. This keeps us frustrated, discouraged, and missing out on God’s work in our lives and the lives of our children.
Now, I don’t say this as a condemnation. When I heard those words, “Don’t be distracted,” it was a huge relief. It is a huge relief to hear news from a friend and instead of getting myself worked up about it to say “this is a distraction I’m not supposed to carry,” pray for my friend, and move on. Or to see posts on “This is how you really should raise your kids” on social media and recognize “this is a distraction” and move on without reading it rather than feeling guilty because it is yet another thing I am not good at OR it completely contradicts my parenting philosophy and bash it in my mind for hours.
There is relief. There is freedom. There is focus and movement forward when I am moving past those distractions.
There are things in life that come up that I don’t have to carry, fret about or focus on. All of these, keep me distracted from the task at hand – allowing Christ to shape my life and my kids’ lives.
“…let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Voice)
Parents, is there something in your life right now that might be distracting you from living a life shaped by Jesus? What might letting go of that distraction look like for you? How do you feel as you contemplate letting go of that distraction? And what steps might you take to let it go and move forward?
Heavenly Father, help us focus our eyes on You. Let us recognize the distractions in our lives for what they are – inconsequential hindrances that keep us from the better things You have for us. Give us the strength to let them go. Renew our vision of You and what You are doing in and around us. And especially remove distractions that keep us from loving and parenting the children You have given us well. Thank you, Father. Amen.