Most of what we concern ourselves with probably doesn’t matter. Not really. Do these shoes match this shirt? Chicken or pork for dinner? What color nail polish this week? Left or right? Auburn or Alabama… Uh oh. I just crossed a line there, didn’t I?
I listen to people who spend gobs of time and expend mounds of energy on things that just don’t matter. I once watched someone spend an hour trying to decide how to place books on a bookcase. Their books, their bookcase. Who cares? As if there were a particular right or wrong way to put the books on the shelves. After thirty minutes, I wanted to say, just do it already so we can move on to something that really matters!
But I do it, too. I spin my wheels, concerning myself with trivialities and mindless distractions.
Several years ago I was shopping and found this awesome coat. I need to admit that I have a jacket/coat problem. But this coat was special. It was pink and orange and paisley and I instantly fell in love…again. But the coat in stock in that store was a size too big. I was bummed until the helpful clerk (a.k.a. Partner in frivolity) called another store to find they had that very coat in my size! All I had to do was make the thirty minute drive to get it. I was ecstatic. It was late, but if I hurried, I could still get there before the store closed and buy my coat.
Nothing else mattered in that moment but that coat. I was on a mission and I was single minded. Get the coat, get the coat. I got the coat. It is a fabulous coat. I have had that coat now for seven or eight years. It’s still fabulous, but I have maybe worn that coat less than ten times in all that time. I spent two hours of my life with my focus on obtaining a coat I would hardly ever wear. Two hours of time frittered away on nothing that mattered.
Do I think this is why God gave me life? To fritter it away on things so trivial? Things that impact no one for eternity? Is this why I live and breathe and have my being?
I think distraction is one of the best tools in the enemy’s tool chest. If he can manage to distract us from what matters, then the work of the Kingdom can be put off for one more day. If he can dangle a fancy coat in front of my eyes, I’ll not even see the hurting woman standing a short distance from me, or think to call that friend who is struggling. If I can be enticed to focus my energies on things that don’t matter for eternity, then the things that do are lost in the mix.
The ruler of this world wants our focus here, on the things of this world, when in reality our focus needs to be on the eternal things. This life is fleeting. The Bible tells us it is but a vapor, here today but gone quickly. (John 4:14)
If we are not careful, our minds can become stuck in a revolving door of focusing on the wrong things. It’s a mind trick straight from our enemy. We can step out of that revolving door if we so choose. We could try asking ourselves, “Does this really matter or is it a distraction?” And if it is a distraction, what’s the deal? Because, with our enemy, there is never such a thing as a purposeless distraction.
Ephesians 5:11-17 says,
“Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”