Chapter five of Self Talk, Soul Talk is titled "Tune In: Awake, My Soul". Don't worry if you are not doing this online study with us, hosted by Lelia. It is my prayer and hope that you are enlightened, enriched, uplifted, or strengthened through any morsel fed by this soul. My purpose is not to just enrich my life but also yours through sharing these studies. Let's begin...
As Jennifer talked about her diamond ring, I understood the deep value in something material, such as a wedding ring. I also knew where she was leading us. "I lost what was most valuable to me because I was distracted by the urgency of dirty dishes." Let's adjust that a little by saying: I lost what was most valuable to me because I was distracted. Period. Oh how that screamed at me. That's me! I lost one of my most valuables. I lost the second most valuable person. A circle of three was reduced to a circle of two: God and me. And now, only God can restore, replace, and resurrect what I lost by being distracted with the emotional pain hidden deep in my heart. For over two years, I slowly lost myself in my weakened walk with Jesus.
I lost. He will restore.
I was distracted. He will retract.
Wow. All that from one sentence. Thanks, Jenn.
"When we aren't tuned into what is true, we are taken in by what is transient."
Distractions come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
~~Nettlesome problems. check.
~~Selfish indulgences. check.
~~The seemingly urgent. check.
~~Menial tasks. check.
~~Fear of failure. check.
~~Opinions of others. check.
Wow. That last one can really destroy. The opinions of others combined with worrying over them...a deadly combination. I can't explain the depths of destruction that can be done by those. It truly is a distraction that takes away from the treasures(relationships) that are most important.
"Only when we allow them to keep us from our treasures do they become stumbling blocks in our lives." I had one huge stumbling block.
I want to truly treasure my treasures: my relationship with God and also His approval, a sense of purpose, and loved ones.
I love the imagery of custodial staff not placing empty boxes and cleaning supplies in the same gallery where the Mona Lisa hangs. So, should we not do the same with our thought closets and priorities? We shouldn't junk up our galleries (thoughts) with boxes (distractions) to block our Mona Lisa masterpiece (treasures).
So what in the world is the answer to avoid distractions and highlight treasures?
Focusing for a moment. Gaining perspective. Prioritizing treasures. Talking to your soul!!!
"Even a good thing can become a distraction if it shoves my treasure to the rear of the shelf." So "let's keep the light on so we can clearly see what's in there." If we don't have our own clothes closet organized and we go to reach in for an item, what will we pull out of the dark closet? We may want the dress jacket and pants but we get the painting shirt and sweats. That's not going to make a good impression at the job interview.
We know satan twists everything he touches and everything he speaks so yes he's not above using good things to distract us.
Here's a diagram I use in my head to simplify what Jennifer is saying.
Good things --> Distractions --> Displaced treasures
I love, love, love her analogy with the roaring lion. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 She posed a good question. How does a roaring lion sneak up on anyone? I never thought about this but it's so true. It is because we've become desensitized to his roar. He is always lurking and roaring at us. We just merely tune him and his roar out gradually. Like a hum in our car that fades or a buzz in the house that softens...in our minds that is. That is scary! Is it not? Do not become desensitized to his roar. He roars at the door but don't answer...you don't have to! Don't be the someone for which he's looking.
You are a loser.
No, you are a conqueror. Rom. 8:37
You are weak.
No, He gives strength. Is. 40:31
You are abandoned.
No, God is for you. Rom. 8:31
You are alone.
No, you're not separated from Christ's love. Rom. 8:35
Nobody cares for you.
No, God cares and comforts. 2 Cor. 1:4
God doesn't listen
No, God is near. Ps. 145:18-19
You have no value.
No, you are His. Is. 43:1
This can't be fixed.
No, nothing is too hard for God. Jer. 32:17
No, do not worry; pray! Phil. 4:6
Peace is not yours.
No, He gives you peace. John 14:27
You have no willpower.
No, He gives power. 2 Tim. 1:7
The picture is from my sweet Australian friend Paula. It is a Sweetpea flower from Burnie, Tasmania (Australia).