Christopher Cook - Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

Breaking-Up with the Distracted Lifestyle

Distraction is an enemy to progress. Distraction is an enemy to emotional health. And distraction will slyly shutdown the development of your growth while tricking you into thinking you’re actually making strides in life.

Distraction is an enemy to progress. Distraction is an enemy to emotional health. And distraction will slyly shutdown the development of your growth while tricking you into thinking you’re actually making strides in life.

C.S. Lewis said, “We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable.”

Rinse and repeat: if we let ourselves, we’ll always be waiting for some distraction to end before we can really get down to work.

Dang.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve challenged myself to pull-off the rose colored glasses and not only look where I am investing my time and talent, but where I am investing my heart.

Allow me to explain.

Honestly, it is incredibly easy for me to wish I was in a different spot in life. Flat-out, I’m easily tempted to look at other people and wish I had what they had and what they are experiencing by way of their influence and given opportunities. Here’s the twist: inherently desiring to grow from the inside out is a noble aspiration for sure, but what I’m talking about is being thrown-off course by distraction fueled by—at the root—fear; fear of not being good enough at my core.

After having written this down on paper, it sounds really stupid, because, heck, I’ve had incredible opportunities and have received profound favor, especially within the last year.

But I think that’s the point. There’s a poisonous cocktail prepared and served to all of us on a regular basis. Its ingredients are comparison, entitlement, and insecurity, featured on the menu of life as “distractions.” And distractions, three in particular, not only keep us stuck, but pin us down in blindness about what we actually possess.

Don’t Get Distracted

On the subject, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us best, as recorded in Hebrews 12:2 (AMP): “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]…”

So here’s what I want to do: expose three distractions for what they are and give you and me leverage to rip those nasty things out by the roots so we can live a live characterized by authenticity and in turn, effectiveness.

1.) Individualism Fueled by Entitlement

In the 2000 hit alternative song, My Way, an anthem of self-reliance and pride is made known: “Yeah this time I’m ‘a let it all come out / This time I’m ‘a stand up and shout / I’m ‘a do things my way / It’s my way / My way, or the highway.” How many of us subtly interact with the world around us (our jobs, our relationships) having this theme at work in our hearts? You know what I’m talking about: “I think…I prefer…I feel.” Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with having an opinion and preference. But being opinionated about issues that really don’t concern us is detrimental to the long-term health of our personal and professional relationships and the overall development of our potential. More specifically, Webster’s Dictionary defines individualism as “the belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society or group; the actions or attitudes of a person who does things without being concerned about what other people will think.”

We all have limitations, and as such, allowing others’ perspectives into our lives helps us grow in areas we would otherwise miss. Point being, we don’t know what we don’t know! I believe it’s for that reason Solomon advised us that “Where there is no counsel, purposes are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished.” (Proverbs 15:22 AMP) And if that wasn’t enough evidence that we can’t successfully navigate life on our own, in Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG), he said, “By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third?A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” The second common distraction I’d like to expose is comparison.

2.) Comparison

Recorded in 2 Corinthians 10:12, the apostle Paul said, Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely.”

Paul describes those who thrive upon comparison as being unwise. I believe comparison reduces our valuable uniqueness to an overwhelming sense of insignificance and discouragement. Most often, comparison is fueled by insecurity, which has its roots in pride. Simply stated, comparison derails us from maximizing the potential God has placed upon our lives. Additionally, comparison traps us into building our own kingdom of self-importance, a situation in which even Jesus’ brothers found themselves:

“His [Jesus’] brothers said, ‘Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.’ His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.” (John 7:4-5 MSG)

Interestingly, Jesus knew that in the right time, His Father would lift Him up. How true is that for us today? We so easily take credit for our gifting, perform from that identity, take our “selfies,” broadcast our highlight reel to the world, and then wonder why we flat-line so quickly. Know this: comparison is a thief of your God-birthed identity and purpose! And not far from comparison is the third distraction common to all of us: negativity.

3.) Negativity

One of my least favorite responses to a challenge is, “It can’t be done.” I abhor it. It’s apathetic, uncreative, loaded with laziness, and flat-out unattractive. My friend, there’s always a way to accomplish a task. Having the attitude of a “can do” team member is far more than what comes out of your mouth, too. 85% of all communication of meaning is non-verbal.So I ask, “what does your body language speak to everyone around you?”

Negativity is cancer. Consistently negative people are often selfish people who “offer” themselves in order to satisfy an emotional or ego need, not a Kingdom-building need. As such, a common by-product of negativity is divisiveness. On the subject, the apostle Paul instructs, “If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them.” (Titus 3:10 NLT) Yikes! As severe as those words are, it goes to prove how important unity is in our lives.

I pray that we stir each other up to keep the main thing…the main thing. And may we realize that the root in our hearts determines the quality of fruit we all desire.

Together in this journey,

C

  • Ashley

    I really needed this — I wish I had read this a year ago. This post has really touched my heart. Thank you.