Characterized by distraction

“Don’t let your life be characterized by distraction.”

I wrote that in my journal Tuesday morning. I’m not sure why.

I mean, I know that I wrote it as I was taking some notes on a mentor’s last letter to his closest follower. A couple blank lines later, I wrote “Timothy, let your life be characterized by a wholehearted devotion to…” And then I didn’t finish.

That’s what my journal looks like. Many short sentences, incomplete thoughts. I’m working out conversations with God, with you, with myself, with others. And I think it’s okay to have a place for drafts of thoughts. But sometimes I wish I finished those thoughts better. So I would know the context of my thinking.

“Don’t let your life be characterized by distraction.”

I cannot find any specific sentences in 2 Timothy that would have triggered my comment. But the specificity of Paul’s reminders to Timothy blaze a trail through distraction. He calls for focus, from the early affirmation of self-discipline: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline,” to the reminder about the distraction of argument: “Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen,” to the call to consistency and fidelity: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,” to the final charge: “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

A person who followed these directions would be characterized by direction, not distraction.

We’ll always be distracted. But I don’t want to be remembered for wandering off, for drifting away. Not any more.


About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

4 thoughts on “Characterized by distraction

  1. How do you know so much about me? You write these posts directly for my benefit, it seems. Another great lesson. This is one I particularly struggle with. Thanks Jon.


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