So far we have considered strategies for handling distractions related to technology and environment. Now I want to help you anticipate your reactions to distractions.
Recently I was reminded of a song we used to sing in the 80s ‘I want to serve the purpose of God in my generation’ written by Mark Altrogge (©1982 People of Destiny). Some of the stanzas are:
‘I want to give my life for something that will last for ever…’
‘I want to build with silver and gold…’
‘I want to see the Kingdom of God in my generation…’
This is an expression of our heart’s desire to make life count in answer to the question that Mark reiterates in the refrain:
‘What is on Your heart? Show me what to do.’
My own desire is that the priorities in my life contribute to the advance of the Kingdom of God on earth. To achieve this and line up with his will I need to be intentional about prioritising my time or else I will find it filled with ‘distractions’, things that come at me from outside and determine how I spend my days. How do I do this?
I believe that planning is a godly pursuit, provided we are in control and it does not take control of us. To be effective we need to do this attentive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we use our God-given creativity to make plans while keeping an ear open to the Holy Spirit I believe we shall be following his will (Prov 16:3).
I have written extensively about diary planning, so will only skim the surface of this important activity here. The principle is that we should seek to ‘write our history in advance’. At the start of each day we have 16 or so hours ahead of us. How we use them will be a measure of our effectiveness in advancing the Father’s will. Some time may be spent with people, other on specific tasks. It is important that we also have times of relaxation, not being driven by the need to always be ‘doing’. (My booklet on Making the Best use of Time may help you – see side panel).
Rarely does a day actually work out precisely as planned – there is always the unknown that needs attention. But by prioritising the things that we feel are important (which is not necessarily the same as ‘urgent’) we have the opportunity to use our time in a productive and fruitful way.
If we take this approach we are well set to deflect distractions, in effect telling the distraction that it is not as important as the thing you have pre-determined to focus on.
So – do it!
Next time we will conclude this short series by considering how to ‘take every thought captive’.