I have written several Putting Greens on the topic of busyness. I tried to make you see that the Villain (Satan) uses busyness as his #1 weapon against you. And the victims of this assault are our relationships—with the Lord and with each other—as well as our bodies, minds, and spirits.
But I admit defeat. Busyness has too strong a hold on our society… and on you. The battle there is lost. Most of you dismissed me out of hand. The ones who accepted my premise eventually shrugged, “You are right, but I cannot do anything about it. The tide is too strong. The die is cast.”
So, today, I’ve switched my focus from busyness to distractions.
I am often approached by men who say some variation on this theme: “I’ve been meaning to get to the 721 men’s lunches, but something keeps coming up.” Or, “I really want to come, but you know how it is… If a client calls and wants to meet, I have to.”
I wonder what these men would say if they already had another client scheduled when that call came… or, if “something came up.” Would they cancel the existing appointment? Don’t be silly. But, of course, the idea of scheduling in advance a firm time with God—at a 721 meeting or wherever—is simply ludicrous; isn’t it?
And if they were so foolish and naïve as actually to make a meeting time with God a fixed commitment in their schedule—say, before the busy week begins—they would have abandoned all reason and flung themselves on the chopping block of society. Certainly, no one can rely on God to honor this kind of misguided trust.
Your “yes” is so often to something good but nowhere near to the best. And your “no”, then—unintentionally but unavoidably—must be to the best.
Being distracted by good opportunities will cause you to miss the very best. And Jesus tells story after story about distractions causing us to miss him and his Kingdom. The third soil in the Parable of the Four Soils is a prime example:
The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures… (Luke 8:14)
So, I ask you to sit down for a moment—can you?—and write down what the absolute most important things are to you. Hopefully, time with your Lord, your spouse, and your children will be at the top… followed perhaps by exercise, rest, relaxation, sleep, walks… dare I say, even naps?
Take your Daytimer, online calendar, or an index card and schedule them in each week. Immovable, unchangeable… priorities.
Now, with your best priorities fixed in place, consider all future opportunities and invitations as potential enemies to the best.
The next time you are approached about serving on a committee, chairing a board, or signing your child up for yet another activity, respond, “I’ll have to weigh this against my best priorities, and then I’ll have to determine what I’d have to say ‘no’ to.”
Your old way of responding is to say “yes” mindlessly without thinking about the consequences of saying “no” to the best.
But now, because you’ve already scheduled in your exercise, a walk with your spouse, play time with your daughter, or personal time with the Lord, you examine your schedule for openings, first. First!
If you decide this new opportunity or invitation is important enough to say “no” to something you’ve already committed to as part of the best, what then will you say “no” to? Because, make no mistake, you now will have to say “no” to something.
No openings? “No, I couldn’t possibly do it” is the correct reply.
And saying “no” to yourself and your body-mind-spirit needs is just as damaging if not more so.
Jesus warned us over and over that it would be the good distractions that would cause us to miss him, his Kingdom, and his Kingdom living.
Don’t be a distracted, good Fool, and miss his best.
You may be saying, “What if everybody took this approach? Nothing would ever get done.”
To which I would say, “If everyone did this, we’d get a lot more of the important… the best… things done. We’d live in a much saner world with the divorce rate cut in half and burnout and exhaustion mitigated. Stressed out children would be a thing of the past, and children growing up with the devoted attention from their… relaxed… parents would be the norm.”