I love my white board!

Yes, I’m serious! It’s my friend! It doesn’t take much to please me. In a world of high tech apps and devices that can gather up thoughts and organize them, I’ve not discovered anything better for me than a board that allows me to put a thought down, quickly erase, rethink, and reboot the process. It is the perfect match for my brain to gather and collect a few ideas.

But one thing the white board does for me that most wouldn’t consider is it removes distractions. Sure I’ve got some great apps that allow me to digitally draw and lay out my thoughts. But then an email pops up, that draws my attention away. Or an idea will grab me and off I go to the web to explore that idea and while exploring I check Facebook and click a few links, watch a few videos, and before I know it, 2 hours has blown by.

A white board eliminates those distractions for me. It doesn’t ding with an email or tempt me to Facebook. It’s simple. It’s big. It’s white. And there’s not much else there to look at.

Do you see why it’s my friend? Distraction-less!

Distractions can pull us in several directions and in doing so, disable us from being effective. But they aren’t limited to just an email or Facebook. Often they are real world tasks that have merit and need our attention.

I am horrible at allowing myself to become preoccupied this way. I guess that’s why I use my white board as a way to collect my thoughts and keep me from being distracted.

In Luke 10:38-42 we have a picture of someone else just like me. Doesn’t it feel good when you find a Bible personality that you can relate to? I can relate to Martha. The picture of Martha we see is of a hostess with Jesus walking in to her house. Immediately she goes into action, feeling the need to fulfill the social obligations and expectations that a good host should do. Look at verse 40.

Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

She was distracted with all her preparations. First, lets look at the word distracted. It’s made up of two Greek words – used my white board to work this out – yay! The first half means “encompassed by” and the second half means to “to draw away”. This isn’t just any distraction. It is one where you find yourself completely consumed (encompassed) by everything around you. It is an all-encompassing withdrawn, preoccupied mind that draws you away.

Can you relate?

Next look at who’s preparations she’s distracted with. Are they Jesus’? Go ahead, look at the scripture again – I’ll wait.

They are her preparations. She’s distracted by what she feel she needs to be doing. Demands of that time are no different from today. Social pressures and obligations can make us feel as though we have to bend ourselves completely in their direction. The danger is when we bend too far in their direction that we find ourselves on our knees serving them as if they rule over us, becoming a sort of god in our lives.

Now before you run me off (especially those with the gift of service) hear me out. It is not the things that Mary is doing that Jesus addresses. They are not inherently wrong. But she is so preoccupied (distracted) that there is no room for Jesus to get in.

What Jesus is saying is this: “Put me first – then these things that you are so preoccupied with will fall naturally into place with my help. You can accomplish so much more once you’ve tapped into me and put me first in your day. I can enable and cause all things to work to the good of those who love me.” (see Romans 8:28)

I can trust God with salvation, money, health, and family. So you’d think I could do the same with time. Somehow, however, I fool myself into thinking I know best how to manage my time. I end up letting tasks, duties, and other obligations creep in on my devotion time, my writing time. And I begin to feel guilty for spending that time with my Lord and not answering to the demands all around me.

Guilt, by definition, is a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation. The key word to becoming aware of this is the word feeling, which is not necessarily associated with the facts to backup the feeling. Remember, the devil can and will use our feelings against us.

Conviction, however, is a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense; a formal declaration, meaning it’s an official announcement of a sin. There is a huge difference here. One is based on feelings whereas the other is based on facts of an official announcement.

The meaning of the two words are so close that we gloss over it as if they are the same thing. They are not the same.

We can feel guilty for something that we are being convicted of. That’s the job of the Holy Spirit; to guide us to repentance when we’ve sinned. Guilt without conviction though, is not the Holy Spirit. And if it’s not the Holy Spirit manifesting the guilt through conviction, then it can only come from three other places; yourself, someone else, or the devil.

Feeling guilty by itself for spending time with God is false guilt and doesn’t come from the Holy Spirit. It is either self-generated or it comes from believing a lie from the devil.

I have a lens that I love to use that brings the subject of the picture into sharp focus and throws everything else around the subject out of focus. This makes the subject predominate in the captured image.

When we focus on Christ, the demands of life, as important as they can be, become secondary to Christ. They become background.

When I put Christ first, choosing to give Him the first part of my day as if I’m tithing time, it puts all the other demands and obligations into proper perspective. I’m able to, with His help, prioritize and accomplish far more than I ever could managing my own time.

It’s sort of like buttoning up a shirt. When I button my shirts I start at the top and grab the first button and the slot on the other side. Only sometimes I grab the wrong slot. My first button is mis-aligned. What do you suppose will happen to the rest of the buttons as I work my way down to the last button?

Right! They would be mis-aligned as well.

But when I get the first button in the right place, all the other buttons fall into their right slots on the other side of my shirt.

Our schedules, the demands of life, and our time spent in God’s Word are like the buttons on my shirt. When I choose to cut out the distractions, put blinders on, and focus completely on Christ and put Him first in my day, all the other items fall into their appropriate slots. We find the ability to handle the obligations and demands of life with a marvelous efficiency and success. We can accomplish far more when we start with the right button.

This requires a firm discipline to cut out the distractions, those things that can seem to encompass us and draw us away from the One that can put it all in its proper place.

My white board eliminates distractions and helps me gather and organize my thoughts. But for my life, I need something much more. I need the help of the Holy Spirit to quiet the distractions around me so I can focus on Him.

He becomes the white board for my soul. He draws me away from the distractions and helps me gather my heart, mind and soul around the One He represents. He works on me to erase lies I’ve believed from the devil and re-writes truth in its place. He re-aligns me with who I need to be serving, keeping me from serving the obligations of life.

Once I’ve spent that time in sweet communion with Him, He enables me to be organized, able to accomplish far more than I could on my own with such efficiency. He’s my best friend.

Kinda like my white board – only a whole lot better!!!!