For over four years, I’ve been writing every day for “My Grace-Full Life.” Until one day, I didn’t. I totally forgot.
What on earth?! I’ve been late to post a few times, but I haven’t missed a day of writing since I started this 30-day project in 2017. I was confused one morning a few weeks ago when my previous day’s prayer wasn’t on Facebook or Instagram. I thought perhaps I just forgot to post on social media (that has happened)…but the missing prayer wasn’t on my website, either. So, I checked the Apple Notes where I write the daily prayers and, sure enough —I had missed a day. Prior to this, I wrote consistently for 1657 previous mornings, but in one moment—I forgot. I could give a whole laundry list of excuses, but I won’t. My inner-perfectionist thought about writing a prayer and putting it there to fill in the gaping hole on my website and hoped no one noticed my goof.
But I decided to leave it. It was a mistake. I got distracted and forgot to write it. That hole is a reminder that one distraction can shift our focus.
When I think of distractions, I always think of the disciple Peter. Matthew 14:22-33 tells of when Jesus walked on water. Peter, being Peter, asked to join Him. He was doing fine while his eyes were on Jesus. But verse 30 says, “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “‘Lord, save me!’”
Peter was distracted. His attention shifted from Jesus and was captured by the wind and waves. That’s when he began to sink.
What a powerful illustration of life.
It happens all the time and all the time, I wonder—will I ever learn?! I start my day in the Word and prayer…I commit the day to God and ask Him to guide me. But then, “Shiny Object Syndrome” kicks in. And I get distracted. I plow forward into decisions and activities without pausing to pray. I shift my focus from Jesus and put my eyes on something else.
Perhaps you’ve been there, too. But don’t worry… if anyone says they have never done this before, I will believe…that they are lying. We are all guilty of this sin. I mean, seriously, Peter got distracted when Jesus was literally flesh and bones, standing in front of him. He could actually SEE Jesus and still get distracted. Since Jesus isn’t visible to us (yet), we will certainly do it, too.
Even the great apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Paul! If Paul could lose his focus and do things he didn’t want to do—yeah. We all get distracted. Peter isn’t sinking under those waves alone.
This is why we’re told, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We won’t be perfect at it, obviously. Still, when we make rejoicing, gratitude, and prayer a key component of our choices, attitudes, and decisions—we stand better equipped to ignore the pounding wind and waves and keep our eyes trained on Jesus.
We can stand on matters of uncertainty when our foundation is Jesus Christ.
We may be tempted to think that the things that distract us are things God wouldn’t care about. But our once-distracted Peter finally got it…he wrote in 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” ALL your care. Not SOME of your care. Not just the cares you think will matter to God. Cast ALL your care on Jesus. It takes humility to admit we can’t do it ourselves, and God loves us enough to care about every detail of our lives… through humble surrender, gratitude, and prayer—we can lock our eyes onto Jesus and rejoice.