The Yellow Jacket of Distraction

I was at a stoplight today and a yellow jacket landed on the driver’s side mirror.  Before you panic, I had the window rolled up… and I’m not allergic, although I don’t like to be stung by those little things.  He wouldn’t fly away, and right as the light changed, he crawled from the top of the mirror to the back- shielded from the wind that would knock him off.

I thought nasty thoughts about him.  I used my Jedi mind control powers on him saying, “This is not the car you’re looking for.”  I thought about rigging a MacGuyver-esque contraption to crack the window and shoo him off.  I looked over every 1.3 seconds to see if he’d lost interest or gotten motion sickness and fallen off.  In essence, I did just about everything except pay attention to driving my car.

I know my life is like this sometimes almost all the time.  I have one little thing that gets me sidetracked and I take my eyes off the things that are really important.  Is this how God wants us to live our lives?  I don’t think so.  I think He wants us to be clearheaded and not prone to worrying about little things.  Jesus uses these kinds of words about worrying- “These things (worries) dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you what you need.” (Matthew 6:32-33 NLT)

Ouch.  I was so worried about that little yellow jacket that I’m not even allergic to…with my window rolled up, that I forgot to focus on a pretty major thing.  Like driving.  I became one of the crazies that I always fuss about on US 220.  Another topic for another time.

But really, we worry all the time and get so distracted by things that don’t matter.  As the writer of Hebrews states it in 12:1-2, we can run the race (a Christian life and walk with the Lord) not because of unneeded things, but because we keep our eyes on Christ.  We let Him matter more than the distractions.

So, to finish things up.  I got into the church parking lot, yellow jacket still hanging on for dear life.  I focused on parking the car and, you probably guessed it: the yellow jacket flew away.

Until next time!

Getting (Re)started

OK, it’s been a while.  No, that’s not accurate… it’s been an eternity, a blog-ternity, since I last posted anything here!  (Sigh)  I have to get in the practice of keeping up with this thing, and I promise two things:  I will do it, and I will still let the blogging community down from time to time.  OK, I said it… hand has been slapped.  Now for a short devotional thought on doing some Bible reading.

Last year (you know, the one in which I didn’t even blog?), I endeavored to read through the Bible.  I’d never done this before, and thought it was a worthwhile thing to do.  I found out some things about “read thru the Bible in a year” plans… they mean well in trying to get us to read Scripture, but the focus for many people, myself included, becomes “check the box” rather than spiritual growth.  One instance was a day in which I had to read something like 6 or 7 chapters of Isaiah.  I got to Isaiah 58, and went back and re-read it.  Then I read it a third time.  The next day, I started, not with chapter 59, but with 58 again.  It was hitting me squarely between the eyes, which is the effect God intends for us to have- not just reading to say we’ve read it.

I can read any number of works of fiction, poetry, biographies, political essays, or whatever to just say I’ve read them.  The Bible, which God has given to us as His holy Word to grow our walk with Him, shouldn’t be the same as a Harry Potter book, or a book on Abraham Lincoln.  Even books by our favorite Christian authors shouldn’t replace reading the Bible!

I’m trying different approaches on reading now.  One thing I’ve done is to take one chapter or Psalm and read that one several times a day.  It’s helped it sink in a bit.  Another thing I’ve done, to sharpen up the Spanish also, has been, starting in Genesis, to read a chapter of the NLT and then read the corresponding Spanish NTV.  There’s been a day or two, where reading the Spanish (which takes more time and makes me more deliberate) has produced an “Aha!” moment.

So, what are some of your approaches?

Until next time… (which won’t be a year!)