Handling Distractions (Guest post: Cheryl Martin)
In this blog post, I’m delighted to share the wisdom of my good friend, Cheryl Martin. Cheryl is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist. She was the popular moderator of Lead Story, a Sunday news analysis program on Black Entertainment Television (BET) for five years. The show brought together some of the top African-American journalists to discuss the major national and international news events of the week. During the 2000 presidential election campaign, Cheryl hosted Lead Story from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. She has also interviewed newsmakers such as President Bill Clinton, General Colin Powell, Vice President Al Gore, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
I was so excited about getting my first car. I bought the silver Toyota Celica from my oldest brother Truman. It was only a year old. The timing was perfect. I had just finished graduate school and was moving from Chicago to Washington to start a job at the NBC-owned television station. I had the car for about two weeks when I had my first accident. What happened? I was driving along a street near my apartment with the windows down when a bee flew in. I panicked. I’m allergic to bee stings. I was determined to get that bee out of my car and fast. I was an inexperienced driver, only getting my license right before I got the car. I took my eyes off the road to conquer that bee and I crashed into the car in front of me. I did more damage to my car than to his. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
I allowed a tiny bee, to divide my attention. The results could have been deadly. That’s all it usually takes, one distraction to take us off course from our distinct God-path. It can come suddenly, catching you off guard. I know because I constantly battle distractions internally and externally. Distractions can be people, places, and things, or anything that gets us off course. They are tailor-made, suited for your bent. The devil is the mastermind behind our distractions.
Distractions never come wrapped as deadly but delectable and delicious. That’s just how cunning and crafty the devil is. He refutes the deadly consequences of distractions and disobedience and entices us with delicacies from his Devil’s Diner. All the dishes are made to order, always delicious, but deadly, laced with his slow-killing poison. They will destroy your life, sooner or later. What if chocolate cake was your favorite dessert and you were offered some by a colleague. It looked great and you’re ready to “dive in,” and then you find out, the cake is laced with crystals of cyanide inside? Would that information change anything? It should. The cake is desirable but it will kill you with just one slice. Our adversary has one mission: to kill, to steal, and to destroy us, according to John 10:10. Distractions are one of his most effective tools. We focus on the immediate gratification, not the long term ramifications. But Romans 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
I want you to pause and ask yourself, “What are my enticing delicacies or distractions? What “dish” does Satan offer me and I usually accept, but it’s destroying me, hindering me from being distinctive for God’s purposes? Study that list so you will recognize the distraction when it comes calling your name.
We can resist those deadly distractions with God’s help and a fierce determination to stay on His Path. Remember Jesus. He allowed nothing to keep Him from His God-given assignment: the cross, followed by the resurrection, and then redemption of sin for us all.
Adapted from Distinctly You: Trading Comparison & Competition for Freedom & Fulfillment by Cheryl Martin. Bethany House. To learn more about Cheryl, visit: www.cherylmartin.org.