It’s Monday. The day after Sunday. Which was the day Christians everywhere vowed with one hundred percent sincerity like they do every Sunday, that this week would be different. That Jesus would be front and centre 24/7. That they would read their Bibles and pray. That they would not be distracted by life.
How long do you think that vow lasted?
For most, it was already out of their minds by the time they reached the church foyer after the service. Some may have gone home remembering their mental commitment. Until they woke up this morning and rushed off into the week. The odd one – very odd – actually took the time to sit down and do what they promised themselves they would do. To spend time with God.
The majority of us allow ourselves to be trapped by distractions. So much so that by the time next Sunday comes along, we face the cold realization that we haven’t even opened our Bibles since last Sunday’s service.
There are a million excuses, and I’ve used a good many of them myself. But the bottom line is this: the devil, the enemy of our souls, will do anything – ANYTHING – to distract us from walking closer with Jesus. We’re no threat to Satan as long as we put the latest episode of Hawaii Five-O ahead of prayer time. Same with the messy house you noticed the moment you decide to open your Bible. Or that phone call you just remembered you just have to make. Or the quick peek at your latest Facebook notification? Not that there is anything wrong with these things but recognize them for what they are at that moment.
Then you can deal with them. Make a decision. Say no. Put your Jesus time first.
He makes the difference.
I’m in the writing chair. Word document screen is open and cursor is blinking. Keyboard is waiting for my fingers to begin dancing. But the brain is racing in another direction. Several, in fact. Here’s where my mind has been in the last five minutes:
1. I had a dream last night about losing my little white canvas shoes. I was carrying a backpack and was obviously going somewhere, but every time I tried to leave, those shoes were gone. And I don’t even own a pair of shoes like that.
2. My grandson, Elijah, thinks cashew nuts are bananas.
3. I’m looking for a recipe to make something yummy with last night’s leftover mashed potatoes.
4. Called my optometrist’s office to find out when the January appointment they postponed will be rescheduled. Apparently, they are still trying to fit in patients who had appointments months before mine. Good thing it’s just a routine checkup and not an emergency.
5. There is an interesting dust pattern on the desk behind my monitor. Who dusts behind their monitor?
6. Maybe I should fold the laundry and clean up my office.
These completely unrelated thoughts are indicative of the normal functioning of my brain. My cousin Cristal posted a cute little picture on Facebook this morning with the caption, “If you ever want to know what a woman’s mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open. All. The. Time.” Yup, that about says it.
Distractions. That’s what they are. Distractions that I’ve allowed to keep me from, at this very moment, bashing out the world’s next literary masterpiece. Sigh.
I’m in the writing chair.
And I’m going to write.
Here’s how a writing session sometimes goes for me:
Sit down at desk and turn on laptop. Open Word and current story file. Read the last few paragraphs to get into the groove. Doesn’t work. Fire up Google Chrome and check Facebook. Click a few “likes”, add a comment or two, update my status. Go back to Word document. Type a paragraph that will probably be deleted tomorrow. Answer Skype video call from daughter. Say hi to grandsons, blow kisses, make funny faces, say goodbye. Make myself a cup of tea. Go back to Word document. Edit the paragraph I just wrote. Stare at the computer monitor. Change a character’s name. Change it back. Drink my tea. Answer text from other daughter. Write in journal. Read the news online. Check the weather forecast. Turn up the heat in office. Go back to Word document. Get a brainwave. Write two pages. Reward self with an ice cold diet Coke that I have to go downstairs to get. Notice messy kitchen. Clean it up. Husband comes home and wants dinner. End of writing day.
Oh come on, don’t go shaking your finger at me. You know exactly what I’m talking about because it’s happened to you.
But deep down inside you know that there is something taking place. A story has been conceived and it is growing in there. You are breathing life into characters who’ve never existed before and you, yes YOU, are the only one who can give them substance. They are waiting for you. They’re nudging each other and smiling because they know it won’t be long before you release them to take their places in the pages of a wonderful tale.
Hold on to that when you feel distracted. Remember why you are writing. YOU CAN DO THIS! Don’t let it go. And don’t give up. You’re the only one who can tell that story.
Hmmm . . . I think I just got an idea for that twist in the plot.