“Jesus said, ‘Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.'”(Mark 6:31 The Message Bible)
Most of the time, distractions are thought of as a bad thing. We do not want to get distracted from whole-heartedly serving the Lord, pursuing His plan for our lives, or from those worthy pursuits which require focus and intentionality.
However, life is not a sprint. It is the marathon of all marathons, and no one can run “all out“ for the entire race. We are still human, and we all share certain natural limitations. We can push ourselves too hard, burn out mentally or physically, and end our run prematurely if we don’t learn to appreciate distractions. For you it may be reading a book, taking a walk, or rolling on the carpet with the kids. For others it may be some quiet time in a cabin, far away from the fast paced, frenetic tempo of business. Others might like the water; looking out at the ocean or lounging by a pool or lake.
We need distractions from our pursuits, no matter how noble or important, if we are to run the race before us with endurance. Some of us are fortunate enough to do the things we love for a living. We may not feel the need for distraction in the same way others do because we find our work refreshing and fulfilling. However, chances are there are others in our lives who need us to get distracted for a while. If we don’t stop to appreciate the gift of our loved ones, we may leave them behind in the cold shadow of our ambitions.
The truth is, none of us are the Savior. Some of us can get pretty intense and take ourselves a little too seriously, forgetting that the world rotated on its axis every single day before we came on the scene to save it, and will likely continue doing so long after we are gone. That’s not to say our endeavors are not important, but regardless of what they are, we need to realize that they do not make the world go ’round. Millions upon millions of people will live and die and never know our names or appreciate our accomplishments. All the more reason to cherish those who appreciate us, not for what we do, but for who we are, and realize that God, too, is more interested in us than He is our service.
I take what I do very seriously, but I sometimes have to be reminded not to take myself too seriously. When I fail in this, which I occasionally do, I have others around me that will smile, wink at each other, pat me on the head, and tell me it’s all going to be okay. It takes me a moment sometimes to let my pace slacken, join in on the joke, and realize they are right. God surrounds us with such people because He loves us too much to let us think we’re big enough to do His job. In fact, next time you’re seeking Him for the great unfolding of His purpose, He might just tell you to take a walk, chill out, and come back after you’ve had a chance to get distracted.
It took some of us a long time to learn these lessons. Some of us are still learning, and our prayer for you is that you learn to live a balanced life; full of purpose, yes, but also full of the memories that are only made in the lighter moments of life, surrounded by those you love. So, if you’re at your wits end or running a little too hard and fast, take some time to get distracted for a while. You may even find that a few moments of well-earned distraction today, make you better prepared to tackle the problems of tomorrow.