My son recently turned two, and the majority of my days surrounding his birthday were filled with errands and endless tasks prepping for the celebration and a weekend away from home. The whole week felt chaotic, and the morning before our trip, I thought for sure I would lose it, scrambling to somehow get everything and everyone into the car on time.
A few minutes into the drive, I was still flustered and catching my breath when my husband so casually asked me, “What do you feel like God has been calling you to lately?”
My lazerbeam glare could have sliced right through him.
How do I have time to think about what God’s calling me to do when I’ve had so many other things going on all week?! I snap back at him in my head, and as soon as I do, I hear the words of Jesus echo gently, “(Jen, Jen)… You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. (Jon) has chosen what is better.” (Luke 10:41-42)
It feels so innocent and creeps up so quietly, but I am seeing it happen in my life way too often. Basic, good things in life, like a birthday weekend with family, somehow take over my time and distract me from Jesus, deafening the voice of the Eternal One. In Luke 10, Martha is the one who opens her home up for Jesus, but her sister Mary is the one who sits at his feet listening to his every word. And I totally get it. The food won’t cook itself, the table won’t magically produce place settings, and never in my life have I seen any bit of my home arrange itself into order. As a host, these things seem so important. As a parent, cute birthday party stuff for your two year-old who only wants to kick balloons and rip apart streamers somehow still seems important. But it can all so quickly fall into the same category that God labels as distraction when these things take precedence over our time with him.
In my small group recently, we were talking about things that occupy our schedules and resources, affirming how it isn’t sin to do things like shop or watch TV. And exactly why I love group study, one friend challenged us all, “but is it really?”
If God is real and the Bible is true, is it really okay to pour so much time, money and energy into things that don’t last? Yet it’s become so normal, even expected in our culture to watch seasons upon seasons of shows on Netflix, to keep up with everyone’s lives through social media while publicizing our own, to bring Pinterest to life in our homes and birthday parties… but if these things have no eternal value and distract me from God to the point where I can’t even answer a question about what I’m hearing from him, is it really okay?
I’m reminded of the invitation in Psalm 34:8, Taste and see that the Lord is good…
I’ve tasted and I have seen, and I know what is better. And I still get distracted. And I still find myself believing that other things matter more.
It might seem radical to stop watching TV, to take a break from social media, to intentionally shut out the things that we know distract us. But if we actively silence the noise that drowns out the voice of an eternal, loving and relational God, we might just hear from him.
Read: Luke 10:38-42
Stepping In: What does this passage teach you about Jesus? What holds you back from believing that time with him is better than something else? Tell God about it.
Journeying Further: How would you respond to my husband’s question? What has God been calling you to or teaching you? In what ways have you been at Jesus’ feet listening? In what ways are you distracted? Tell God about it.
My Response: What I see continually true in my life is the snowball effect – one TV show leads to two, five minutes on Instagram becomes ten, a few extra ideas for a party turns into researching a dozen more… little by little my attention shifts from God, eternity and loving others, to myself. My friend Danielle shared this with me:
“When I first became a believer, I was all-in. I only listened to worship music, I started reading a Bible and Christian books and didn’t watch TV or go on social media… that was the closest I have ever felt to God.”
I want that. So I’m copying her. I’m taking a break from social media, cranking up the worship music, and working on my Bible studies instead of my Pinterest boards. I’m setting aside the things that I know so easily distract me so I can soak up time with my Savior.