I am a fairly industrious person. I get a lot done. I suppose that’s partly why so many people ask me questions about how to do this whole motherhood-housewife-blogging-homeschool mom-pastor’s wife-speaker thing I like to call my life.
I appear to have endless energy and creativity. I appear to be driven toward excellence and diligence. I appear to have figured out what is important in the moment rather than being driven by the urgent.
I have a confession to make: sometimes I am driven to distraction. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. I flounder. I don’t know what to do. I set out to do what I know I should be doing, but get distracted along the way.
The other day I made breakfast for my family – usually my husband does this, but when it’s muffin day its down to me. I decided to try a new recipe for Snickerdoodle Muffins. Muffin dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar. What’s not to like?!
I put butter on a small plate to soften in the pre-heating oven and then remembered I needed something from the basement. I couldn’t find what I was looking for, but while I was there I remembered I needed to get a card out for an upcoming birthday, so I did. Then I decided I could move something to my new writing space “right quick,” so I did. I still needed my original item, which I still couldn’t find, but I thought I could make do with something from my purse, the church bag, and my husband’s box-by-the-door. I rounded up the needed items and remembered I was making muffins. I returned to find the kitchen filled with smoke.
Apparently butter melts at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. And spills off of the plate. And catches on fire in the bottom of a crumb-coated oven. And fire generates smoke. Apparently a lot more butter spills when you are trying to move the plate quickly. And that catches fire, too. More smoke.
I decided to use the bottom oven. (PTL we have a double oven!!!)
The new muffin recipe I’d decided to try was time consuming, messy, and only *meh* after all that. Plus, I was trying the recipe as the next step in a food trial for one of my kids, but I didn’t do the math and it turned out he needed to eat 12 muffins to get enough of the ingredient in question… Twelve muffins is kind of a lot.
Breakfast was an hour late. I had a kitchen full of smoke. I had an oven in desperate need of cleaning. And I had a long list of things to do that day which did not include cleaning the oven.
Thankfully my son remembered to use the bottom oven when he made cornbread later that night.
It is still dirty. I keep forgetting to wipe it out and start the cleaning cycle.
Yep. I often live distracted. And it does not go well with me.
I don’t usually live like this, though I definitely have my moments. Obviously!
But usually I live a little more clear-minded and focused. I typically exercise self-control and discipline.
So what’s my problem right now? Why am I in one of these phases of distraction?
I’d like to tell you it’s because I am in the middle of switching calendars and task management systems and things are slipping through the cracks.
Or that it’s because my “trusted system” isn’t trustworthy right now and I have too many things held in my mind instead of accounted for in my system.
I’d like to believe God has added to my list by calling me to serve in some new ways and that I am just in a period of adjustment.
All of these are true. But they are not really the reason I am so distracted right now.
I get distracted in life when I do not focus on the gospel.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1
I get distracted when I stop paying close attention to what I have heard in the gospel and I drift away from it.
Scripture is full of reminders to be about God’s business first and seeking his counsel to know what we should do. Colossians 3:2; 1 Peter 3:17; Luke 9:62; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 1:1-6; Matthew 6:33; Philippians 4:8.
Scripture also reminds us of the benefits of living out God’s to-do list instead of our own. God offers peace instead of perplexity (Isaiah 26:3; 1 Timothy 2:1-10); salvation instead of slavery (Titus 2:11-14).
I get distracted when I do not focus on the gospel.
Sometimes I forget the gospel is important to inform my days and hours and minutes. If I am not living in light of the saving grace of Christ, I am not really living. Even though my soul is safe from eternal hell because I trust Christ’s sacrificial death to cover my sin, my life can be a living hell if the gospel does not change every part of it. He did not only suffer death and rise from the grave to save me from the penalty of my sin, he suffered, died, was buried and rose to save me from the power of sin in me.
When I forget the power of the gospel for my daily life, I end up distracted.
Even as I go about living the calling God has placed on my life, I can be distracted from the gospel, which distracts me from living moment by moment in his presence. There is a difference between busyness in Kingdom work and the business of the Kingdom work. Kingdom business leads me to peace and certainty and confidence – and exhaustion (let’s be honest!). Kingdom busyness leads to perplexity and confusion and cowardice – and weariness.
Somewhere near the top of my to-do list needs to be sitting at the feet of Jesus. And not just in a “read Bible… check!” kind of way.
So that is what I am going to do today. Right now. This post may have lots of typos – for which I apologize. I think I need a little more time with my soul-checker than with my spell-checker. lol.
Maybe he’ll prompt me to prioritize cleaning the oven…