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Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Bible Study, Serious Stuff | 2 comments

Weapons of Mass Distraction, Solid Soil and The Art of Listening

In Wednesday’s post I talked about the importance of being still (for me, personally). I shared how I can let myself get swept up in the busyness of life and that always leads to a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional burn-out for me.

I love when people pick a word as a ‘theme’ for the New Year. I believe the kids are calling them ‘focus words.’ Have you seen this idea before? You pick a word like ‘bold,’ ‘hope’ or ‘creative’ and you kind of let that word guide you through the year. I’ve never done this before and to be honest, I’m not sure I can get my mind to recall one word throughout the entire year, but if I were to participate in this trendy little game I think I would pick the word ‘listen’ for 2017. I want to listen more. I want to listen to Atlas as he tells me the longest stories known to man (because it is adorable). I want to listen to Dave as he recounts the details of his day over dinner (because it is important). I want to listen to Andi Rose as she learns all the new words (because it is priceless). And I want to listen to the Lord as He calls and He leads (because I’ve got questions and He’s got answers).

But if I’m going to listen to my loved ones more, then I’ve got to turn the volume of the world down a notch. Here’s my {personal} plan for tuning into what matters most and becoming a better listener in 2017…

Clearly Label the ‘Weapons of Mass Distraction’

 

I am so easily distracted – especially by technology. I love social media, but I’ve realized that it is only a blessing as long as it is in its proper place. When kept within its boundaries it adds to my life – I love seeing what all my friends are up to – however, when I let it bleed into other areas then it distracts me from my purpose. So, I’m committing in 2017 to not turn on a digital device until I’ve spent time with Jesus. I won’t check an e-mail or scroll through Instagram until I’ve checked in with the Lord. Now, I realize that I have 2 small children who sometimes wake me up earlier than anticipated so during this season of life there are going to be days where it just isn’t feasible to start the day sitting in a recliner with my Bible and journal because a child needs me before my eyes even have a chance to open for the day. And you know what I’ve come to realize? It is on those days – the days that seem to start in utter chaos – that I especially need to omit the unnecessary distractions. Because let’s be honest – when I’m up before the sun with a sick child, looking at other people’s #ootd and vacation photos doesn’t raise my spirits to new levels. Am I right, Mama?! In addition, I won’t allow myself to be on my phone checking e-mails or perusing Nordstrom’s website (that will be a painful habit to break) while I am at the dinner table or in the playroom. I’ve labeled those places “no-phone-zones” because I want those spaces to be dedicated to family engagement. I got into the bad habit of using breakfast time to check e-mails and it almost always ended with the kids and me being frustrated with each other. It’s not worth it,  so I’m just not doing it this year. I’ll still play on social media and tune into Live with Kelly because I like those things, but I’m going to be intentional about keeping them in their proper place on my priority list.

Prepare My Heart

If I’m going to be a better listener, then I’ve got to prepare my heart for what others – specifically God – want to tell me. I’ve been studying the book of John (I do a study called BSF, for those of you who have asked) and during my study I’ve grown increasingly frustrated as I’ve read all the times where Jesus spoke to people – especially the Jewish pharisees – and His words fell on deaf ears. The Pharisees come to Jesus repeatedly with questions, all of which he answers in terms that would have been so clear to them, and they continually fail to hear Him. Even Jesus gets frustrated with them, basically declaring, “Guys! You’ve already asked me this and I’ve already answered you!” (I’m obviously paraphrasing there.) I began to wonder why they missed the message in every single one of Jesus’ stories. As Jesus spoke and performed miracles, many people believed Him. In fact, 12 left everything to follow Him. Many people encountered Him and left changed, immediately going to tell others about their experience. But the Pharisees also heard him. They also followed him around, although their motives were quite different than that of Jesus’ disciples. They asked Him questions and waited anxiously for His response…but yet His words never changed them. Why? I believe it is because their hearts weren’t prepared for His truth. And if I’m honest – there have been several times in my life, where my heart was also not prepared for a word from God.

I love the parable Jesus shared of the 4 soils. Here is Matthew’s recount of this parable…

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:3-9

Just as a seed needs good soil to grow, so does the word of God need a prepared heart to take root. Now, I don’t know that much about planting gardens (may my poinsettias, hydrangeas and geraniums all rest in peace), but I do know that if I throw seed on concrete, it won’t grow. The same is true of my heart. If I have a hard heart on an issue, God can give me a word, but my heart won’t receive it, just as the Pharisees couldn’t receive any of the words God spoke directly to them. However, if I throw seed down on solid soil I can see growth almost immediately. Within days, I can see signs of life. I think there’s a whole blog post to be written on the seed that sprang up quickly, but withered because it had no root. That’s just a good freaking word. But the final thing I want to comment on today is the seed that fell among thorns, which eventually choked the plant. Jesus explains this parable in further detail in Matthew 13:18-23 and this is what He said about the seed that fell among the thorns…

“Now the one sown among the thorns – this is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

When I read that, I was convicted because for me, I think that is a daily issue I must battle. Sometimes the truth that God so clearly gives me gets suffocated by stuff. Whether it be stuff on my calendar, stuff on my kitchen counter, stuff in my online shopping cart, or stuff in my mind – the ‘stuffiness’ stunts the growth of the seed God planted.

So, this year I’m attempting to cultivate an environment – not only in my home, but in my heart – where seeds of truth can take root. But I believe it all starts with a prepared heart and being aware of the weapons of mass distraction that are at my fingertips.

***

I realize all my posts this week were kind of centered around New Years and resolutions. You guys are probably due for some lighthearted short reads, which is why I think Monday will be the perfect time to host my first GIVEAWAY of 2017! 🎁 I’ve got 1 awesome prize for 1 lucky winner coming at ya next week, so be sure to tune in Monday to get the deets (Mom, I’m pretty sure ‘deets’ is what the kids are calling ‘details’ these days).

What are you most distracted by? Which soil do you most relate to in the above parable?

P.S. If you like this post, feel free to share it on Facebook. There is a share button at the bottom of each post. And if you enjoyed this, please leave a comment letting me know or if you have a specific topic you would like me to write on, let me know that too. I would love ideas from you. I know a few of you have requested that I share more workouts, so I’ve got a fun one for you next week. There’s probably going to be more fitness talk on here soon because Dave & I have plans to do a detox and cut out all bad snacking. That post will probably just read, “Send help. And Carbs.” I’m sure it will be short because I’ll be too weak to type. Or it might just read, “Nevermind. Changed our minds & thought ‘mmmm…better not.'” 🙄 #LawdHelpMe

2 Comments

  1. Loved this. I need to do the same thing. I let too many things distract me. Not all of them are bad, but they aren’t always the “best” at the time. Kinda like Mary and Martha. Mary wasn’t doing anything wrong in wanting to entertain and make sure everything that needed to be done was done, but she missed precious time at the feet of Jesus all because she was distracted with things around her. I know as Momma’s we tend to do that too( I do for sure), but we need to remember that those things will always be there ( believe me! A magic fairy isn’t going to come along and do it for you. It will wait.) in my life I need ask myself every day what are the “good things” and what are the “better things.” And I have a feeling if I choose the “better” over the “good”, all of the other mom, wife, chef, laundry and housekeeping things will fall into their rightful places!!! Thanks for the post today!! Xoxo Leesa

  2. I’m encouraged by your post today! I’m trying to prioritize my everyday habits as well. I want to take time everyday to allow the Lord time to speak to me and it take root in my life. I want to give! The word that changes me can also change others if I share it. I’m with precious kids all day, many could also use hearing an encouraging word. I want to give His word (seed) to others. Planting is also work but to just change or encourage one person is worth it. My word would be to “give”. Love your blog however when you share the “deets” on your detox and workout I’ll read it but I’ll be WAY to busy to incorporate that one in! 😂 😘

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