What’s Distracting You?

Jen’s Gem:  Stay focused to achieve your goal.

“Squirrel!” I’m not sure if you have seen the movie “Up,” but this is a line from one of the scenes where a talking dog gets distracted by this furry animal. Just prior, he was having a fruitful conversation, until his eye catches a squirrel, grabbing his attention.

Recently, my son was in a car accident and while a squirrel was not the cause, a distraction was. Thankfully he is fine. When he picked up his car from the repair shop, he said “I’m never doing that again!” Ahh… youth!

Distractions. They are everywhere. Even as I type this post, I hear sounds that pull my focus away from what I’m trying to accomplish. That’s what distractions do – keep you from achieving your goals.

Today, we have more distractions than we can count. It takes fortitude to stay on task and stick with a project through its completion. Giving up is sometimes so much easier but most often it is filled with regret.

What is it that causes us to walk away so easily before goals are attained? Here are a few thoughts:

It gets too hard. It starts to get monotonous. Progress is slow. We get bored and something “shinier” grabs our attention.

Persistence. Perseverance. Patience. These are a few of the character traits needed to achieve our goals. Without them, the “squirrels” of life can steal our victory.

When Jesus was out and about teaching, preaching, and healing the sick, He faced many “squirrels” that wanted to keep Him from fulfilling His purpose. Yet, He remained laser-focused and did not allow these distractions to get Him off course. How did He do this?

  1. He kept the dream alive. “…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus could’ve jumped off that cross any time He wanted. Yet, it was the vision of all of us being re-united with Him in heaven for eternity that kept Him there.
  2. He ignored the naysayers. When tens of thousands of people needed to be fed, and the apostles told him it was impossible as they had only a handful of fish and bread, He performed a miracle and bellies were filled (Matthew 14:13-21).
  3.  He kept at it. In Acts 10:38, it says that Jesus “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil…” Every day, rinse and repeat. He used His gifts consistently to be a blessing to others.

This is the example we are to follow if we want to fulfill God’s purpose. You may be thinking, “Well, it was easy for Jesus to do this. He’s God.” True, but while He walked this planet, He was a man, a regular Joe, like you and me.

He faced many distractions and temptations. But He did not give up. He did not let these pull His focus off of the finish line. If He did, you and I would be in deep doo-doo, not just for today, but eternity.

So how do we follow Jesus’ great example to ignore life’s squirrels? First, we need to get clear on the vision – what is it that must keep our attention for the long haul? Next, we need to identify the steps to achieve it, staying in prayerful communion with God. Lastly, we need to continually remind ourselves of the prize – the “joy set before us.”

In our own strength, the squirrels will get us every time. With God, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26).

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2022