I used to live for distractions before I started living for Christ. I had to. I needed something to take my mind and heart off of the nagging feeling that something was missing in my soul. I desperately wanted to deny the fact that my life seemed to lack purpose, that I was simply an object floating aimlessly on a breeze. I knew who Jesus was, and I knew there was none other like him, but I did not want him to be the answer. In my selfish mindset, I was afraid that I would have to give up too much of what I loved about life, which was truly ironic since none of it was making me happy. But I had a stubborn heart, and I was determined to live as I wanted, so denial became part of my life.
I found that by distracting myself with all things other than the eternal, my heart could be tricked into contentedness for awhile. I threw myself into social events, entertainment, and busywork and relied on those things to keep me occupied. The more I had on my plate, the less I would have time to think about those nagging feelings in my soul. Above all, in my self-consumed bubble, I convinced myself to live for the moment and not to worry about what the future might bring, as if somehow consequences did not exist. Looking back now, what a glaring warning sign that should have been that I was on the wrong track, for a purpose-filled life must always begin with eyes set on the eternal.
It only took me a decade or two to realize what deception I had been embracing in my life. And when I did, I was quite sickened by the notion that I had wasted so much of my life on what did not matter. After so many years of living in denial, I finally realized deep in my soul that Jesus truly was the answer. And looking back, I could now see how Jesus had been whispering that truth to me all along. Oh how faithless I had been to him, yet how faithful he was to me! His arms were wide open as I came running back to him. The power of his love struck me with such clarity as I considered how vastly higher his love is than anything I could ever give. No one but him could endure such neglect, rebellion, and selfishness, and then in the blink of an eye, produce such forgiveness.
After being awakened to God’s love and washed clean by his amazing grace, I no longer needed distractions. In fact, now I do everything I can to run from them. When I feel that the business of life is trying to consume me and that my calendar is filled with far too many activities that could carry me away from God, I make a deliberate decision to make it stop. For I want my days to be filled up with the plans he has for me, not ones that simply keep me busy and running toward things that are less than eternal.
God, in his great compassion, has transformed my heart to turn more instinctively toward him each day. Of course there are still many other competing voices and temptations that try to lead me away, but it is getting easier for me to say no. I will undoubtedly falter sometimes and disappoint myself, but his faithfulness will never leave me and his forgiveness will always stand true. And as I walk the path he has prepared for me on this earth, he thrills me with small victories each step of the way to give me a glimpse of the eternal glory I will one day have with him. Praise be to God, for his goodness and love last forever!
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:1
Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Job 22:21