How to Avoid Distractions and Live Out Your God-Given Purpose

When it comes down to it, clutter is a distraction.

As I walk around my house, trying to get ready to host a group of five of my favorite women for three days, I can feel annoyance with myself starting to rise.

Here are some thoughts that come to mind:

“Why do I have all these half-done projects lying around?”

“Why didn’t I finish unloading the dishwasher? Now I have to unload it before I load it.” (Because the dryer buzzer had gone off.)

“Why did I leave the pile of bills on the table instead of paying them?” (I wasn’t sure where the money was going to come from for an unexpected auto repair.)

“I wish I could finish half of what I start. Why is my normally mostly-put-together home suddenly way more out of control than normal?”

And then I think about my past week:

  • One of our grown children is in a career crisis.
  • Our contractor is two months behind on completing our renovation.
  • I’m stuck on a part of the book I’m writing and can’t seem to focus.
  • My husband is going through some significant health issues.

Clutter was only a symptom of a distracted mind.

When my heart is heavy, sad, or frustrated, my go-to move is to either let distractions take over my life, or to create distraction so I don’t have to pay attention to painful things.

In their new book, Shiny Things, Amanda Bacon and Anne-Renee Gumley talk about the areas of distraction—not when it comes to our homes, but to our families.

Moms have particular challenges regarding distractions when raising their children. When my kids were small, I remember being pulled in so many different directions. I didn’t always know what my priorities should be.

So as a mom, how do you focus on the important things?

Stop being a slave to your schedule.

Just because someone asks you do to something, doesn’t mean it has earned the right to be on your calendar. Learn to value your time like never before. When I was single, my only obligation was to myself. But when I became a mom, for some reason, I thought I should be able to do everything I had done before and still be able to raise tiny humans.

Understand your limitations.

I know when I’m over-tired, I self-distract with food and stupid TV. There is nothing wrong with watching the “Holiday Armadillo” episode of Friends (again), but when I know I’m using it as distraction because I’ve stayed up too late (again), it’s time to realize I can’t run with the same energy that I could if I didn’t have kids.

Find meaning in what matters.

When I’m neck deep in distraction, oftentimes it’s because I’m looking for “hits”—something that gets me approval from outside sources. When that happens, I realize I’m at a stage in marriage or parenting that’s hard, where the rewards are few. I feel not only unappreciated, but downright unlovable.

In those situations, it’s important to remind myself:

  • This is a season.
  • I’m doing hard work that does not have immediate rewards.
  • God sees my efforts, even when no one else does.

We’re all prone to chase shiny things, whatever that looks like in each stage of life.

Recognizing the reasons we are drawn to distractions helps us to focus on the purpose God created us for, especially as parents. Then we can give the best of ourselves to what matters most — loving God and our families.

Giveaway!

The generous people over at Harvest House want to give our readers Amanda Bacon and Anne-Renee Gumley’s book, Shiny Things. Five people will win a copy and 1 grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy ofShiny Things
  • Rustic Felt Letter Board 10×10
  • A Notebook Journal
  • 18 Colored Felt Pens

 Enter to win by commenting below. Are distractions keeping you from your highest priority? What shiny things are distracting you right now?

 

kathilipp

Kathi Lipp is the author of 17 books including Overwhelmed, Clutter Free, The Get Yourself Organized Project, The Husband Project, Happy Habits for Every Couple, and I Need Some Help Here – Hope for When Your Kids Don’t Go According to Plan. She is the host of Clutter Free Academy the Podcast! with Kathi Lipp and speaks at conferences across the US. Kathi is published with Revell Publishers and Harvest House Publishers.

She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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