Interruptions, Distractions and Illusive Finish Lines

God, help me to focus on You. Help me to discern between interruptions and distractions.

Interruptions are good. They may irritate me in the moment, but more often than not, they serve a vital purpose. They re-focus me.

I can create a bit of tunnel vision in my pursuits. (My husband, if he’s reading this, likely choked on that understatement.) When I jump, I go head first, all in. Sometimes that’s admirable. Sometimes it’s foolish. And sometimes it’s merely short-sighted.

Interruptions re-direct me toward what’s most important. They provide little alerts, kind of like the chimes that called the monks to prayer. As I turn to address them, my selfish blinders falland help me to see what really matters and what I might be missing with my self-imposed tunnel vision. I want to chase after interruptions and not begrudge them.

Distractions are a completely different monkey. While interruptions often come from God or the needs around me, distractions are often my own doing. Or lack of doing. Facebook left open when I should be working. Emails I choose to prioritize even when they don’t need my immediate attention. Commitments I shouldn’t have made but did. Projects I should have said “no” to, but instead accepted. Chores I never finished. Snacks I don’t need. Errands that could have been avoided if only I’d made a list and planned ahead.

Too often I fail to see the differences between interruptions and distractions and, in each moment, with each seductive siren and encounter, I lose what I claim to really crave.

finish 2I confess my writing has drudged through a bit of a funk lately. By “lately” I mean the past six months … maybe more.

It’s been a really tough year for me personally, emotionally and spiritually. While certainly cathartic, a public blog is hardly the healthiest (nor safest) place to air grievances. So I choose not to enter the muck at this moment. Let’s focus on a broader picture.

I feel pulled in so many directions and struggle to know how to prioritize all that swirls in, around and through my calendar and life. I continue to take action steps toward eliminating some “good, but not supreme” commitments, but still feel bogged down. I still lack clear direction.

Or maybe just courage.

There seem to be two major factors contributing to the ambiguity and indecisiveness of my pathway.

  1. I struggle to harmonize the pursuit of a paycheck with the pursuit of my dreams and innermost goals and desires.
  2. I fear that any concerted effort (determined discipline) toward those dreams would prove to the world and me that I am merely a poser.

Recently while reading and praying, I called out to God: “Just show me what you want me to do!”

The gentle yet clear answer that came was this: “Finish what you’ve started.”

I don’t want to be a poser. I don’t want to be a shell of something I could be fully. I would rather finish miserably than fail by default of not trying hard enough.

Will you pray for me?

All this cryptic rambling aside, I am working on some big projects that I hope to release soon. Please pray that I remain faithful to the tasks. Pray that I gain courage in the face of insecurity. Pray that I would discern wisely between interruptions and distractions; and refuse to grow paralyzed with my imperfections, trusting always that God will be glorified even through my feeble and frustrated efforts.
I want to finish. And I want to finish well.

“Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way to win the prize. 
Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.
Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air.
Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control,
so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
— 1 Corinthians 9:24—27 (HCSB)

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