The fact that we have distractions surrounding us day in and day out is no surprise. I look at my typical day and I’d say that I get distracted at least every 30 seconds, and that’s on a good day. The truth is most people can’t hold their attention any longer than 22 seconds. Do you find this as shocking as I do? At this rate, I’ll lose your attention at least twice on these first few paragraphs and probably have already, but I’ll press on because I know you’ll be back. 🙂
I can’t help but think, as a woman, it has to be even less than 22 seconds. My mind is full of incessant thoughts running a mile a minute. Let me welcome you to a second in my mind: “Did I get out hamburger for dinner?” “I wonder if I look OK in this outfit?” “I wonder what so-so thinks of me” “Am I failing as a mom, friend, wife…sure feels like it today” “oh crumb, have I even showered in the last couple of days?” “What can I eat to not gain weight?” “Why do I feel so gross all the time” they go on and on and on… Sound familiar?
The thoughts that consume our mind cause huge distractions and usually lead to exhaustion, not to mention defeat and emptiness much of the time. The tasks of the day are enough on their own but juggling the inner battles of self- worth, for example, makes every battle seem even harder. (or is it just me?)
In the midst of our internal dialog distraction battles, I still can’t help but be in awe of the way the mind works. The millions of nerves and synopses that are constantly firing to keep us engaged in our tasks all while still having ‘side’ thoughts – it’s just flat out impressive. God has created us so magnificently that we can have multiple thoughts at a time, however, if we don’t harness our minds and make them focus on the good and fruitful thoughts, the toxic ones will take over and prevent us from walking out faith, joy, health, love…
Our mind has the ability to create patterns of thought and these patterns of thought shape our experiences, behavior, attitude… Our miraculous brain looks much like branches on a tree or like roots. Each thought creates a branch and a belief system. Each thought, each emotion, each experience that we allow ourselves to think about, creates a root and as we continue to think about these things, the deeper the memory and thought pattern becomes. So, as we spend time self-shaming we grow that root deeper, as we spend time thinking about how our spouse is annoying or unhelpful or… we deepen those roots, but as we spend time thinking on how thankful we are for what the LORD has given us, we deepen and strengthen those roots.
These thought patterns are built on branches of nerves in our brains. These thought patterns can be helpful because they help us quickly pull out information and put to use for any given situation. It s our default response based on past 5 experiences and things we’ve learned about life. The more we think on particular thought the deeper the roots of those thoughts become, and the more easily they are pulled up to our active mind for use. I’m sure you can think of one or two deeply rooted thought patterns that you probably should haven’t about yourself or others right now, right? I sure can.
We can use thoughts to improve our lives and relationships by rooting ourselves in the positive. Our thought patterns contain the power to heal, to overcome difficulty, to help others, to hold onto memories that mean the world to us, they allow us to communicate with others, and most importantly they strengthen meaningful relationships.
Thoughts’ Impact on Relationships
Now there is also an impact on the negative thought patterns we hold onto they keep us defeated, distracted, saddened, self-loathing, and make our bodies unhealthy all the way down to a cellular level, just to name a few. But, one of the more obvious impacts of a negative thought life is its impact on our distractions and healthy relationships.
80% of our day is spent in communication in some fashion:
- 9% writing
- 16% reading
- 30% speaking
- 75% listening.
Unfortunately, the 75% of the time we are ‘listening’ is preoccupied, filled with multi-tasking, or not really paying attention at all because of those incessant thoughts we just talked about.
It’s no wonder relationships seem so broken. And, it’s also not surprising with all our distractions, that our relationship and awareness of God’s presence in all things seems so empty.
The core foundation of life is one filled with relationships. The entire reason we were created is to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father from there we are to have a loving relationship with ourselves that is anchored in God and pours out to healthy and loving relationships with others. And our inner dialog is one of the biggest distractions that keep us from living out the one purpose we have in life – To know the LORD, to become like Him and to make Him known.
It’s the loud and constant nagging of our inner conversation that is too often filled with shame, guilt, insecurity, and fear which makes us feel exhausted. Our insecurities can leave us so burdened that we don’t look up and out at others to see the love around us.
“And when they looked up they saw nothing but Jesus”Matthew 17:8
We need to live aware of the truth that when we choose to look down we don’t see anything but our pain and despair, but when we choose to look up, we will see nothing but Jesus. This is the first step into our destiny as daughters of The King – Making a choice. Our wonderful minds are created to be hopeful and focused on Jesus only. Psalm 1:1-3 states that we are blessed when we walk in the law of the LORD and meditate on it day and night. That we are like trees planted by living water when we live plugged into His greatness
When we think about the Word of God, we wash ourselves of the negative and heavy stuff in life, leaving us as a strong tree of life. This tree of life is literally built in our minds. The power of our mind – the sound-mind we’ve been given, is the most amazing thing, and today we’ll learn how to reduce our distractions to that we can utilize the amazing works of our mind to do good, have hope, joy, peace, patience, and live in the abundant life Jesus came to give us.
We need to be aware of all the things that are distracting us and keeping us from living the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. We also need to be aware that many of our distractions are due to a broken heart from our old thought patterns we’ve been creating since childhood. We can step into the relationship with God to begin the healing, renewing, and uprooting of our old thoughts and create new thought patterns of hope and faith and love. Making the character of God our default response, instead of responding like the world, we can respond through the lenses of our identity in God.
If we remain in our old thought patterns, they keep us stuck in distractions because it’s either a little more comfortable there or because we don’t realize how to plant the tree of life within us so that we don’t fall victim to self-doubt, fear and insecurities anymore. What we think and meditate on every day is a choice we are either choosing life or choosing death in our minds, it takes awareness and dedication, but we can stop living as prisoners to our thoughts and start making them our prisoners instead. We can choose life by choosing what we let take rest in our minds.
what we think and meditate on every day is a choice we are either choosing life or choosing death in our minds, it takes awareness and dedication, but we can stop living as prisoners to our thoughts and start making them our prisoners instead. We can choose life by choosing what we let take rest in our minds.– Tiffany Stewart
I hope to give you the courage to look up and out. I hope to show you how loved you are so that you believe it and live in it. There are hundreds of things trying to distract us constantly; things trying to keep us out of relationships with others and trapped in the bondage of our incessant negative nagging thoughts.
I spent years distracted and heavily burdened by many of the topics we’ll cover today, but even though I still struggle, I can confidently let the truth lead me instead of being crushed by the attacks on my worth, my purpose, my identity – but I am and have always been free from these things and so are you. I am able to stand in the truth of how loved I am by God that through the Holy Spirit I can step out of the chains that kept my head heavy, weary, and burdened and look up to see only Jesus. The point of clearing out our distractions is to put truth in the place of the lies and to put freedom in the place of the chains that keep us trapped in our negative thought patterns.
I will continue to write and post videos regarding some specific distractions we face and how to overcome them in future posts. Stay connected by following my blog. If you would like additional encouragement please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Start by listing the top three distractions you face every day?
Scripture to help capture your thoughts and make them obedient to Christ.
Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Romans 15:13 – May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope
1 Peter 3:11 – Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
Psalm 119:165 – Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
Psalm 138:8 – The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. do not forsake the work of your hands.