It is little wonder that many of us get distracted easily even if we do not have a diagnosis that confirms a reason for it. Information and data of all types bombard us throughout the day. It comes through both visual and auditory channels. It often takes us from the original stimulus down rabbit trail after rabbit trail and is often meant to do just that. Its goal is to capture our attention and seduce us with the message we receive.
Many of us will be reading through some online information we actually sought and discover some additional tidbit tucked in it that sounds like additional information on the same topic. Once we hit a key to open that additional input, we discover it takes us to an ad to purchase or buy something we had no plans to even consider.
Captivators are seductive and we are drawn in before we sometimes recognize it is happening. It can happen with the sale ads that flood our email inbox daily. We have a fascination with things that are new or different.
We also are drawn to things that promise us something we long for.
“We will always be drawn to life, whether that is genuine life offered by God or its counterfeit.” Andrew J. Bauman in Stumbling Toward Wholeness
It’s the force that any addiction counts on to sway us away from our better self and escape into another world where our pain of isolation, fear, anger, or betrayal are anesthetized.
At its core, life in Christ is an ongoing relinquishment of self to allow the Lord to make us more and more into his image, to transform us from the residual impact of the fall in Eden.
That relinquishment is not meant to obliterate the person God designed you or me to be. His purpose is to regain the original design that He meant so we can flourish. He wants us to be restored as image bearers through his sacrifice and be available to move in life as He has purposed.
The same enemy that showed up in the paradise of Eden has not changed his mind about what he wants to accomplish. We are in the bull’s eye of his target and destruction is his intent and he will use any and all means to accomplish it. His disguises are so many they cannot be counted. He has honed his skill over thousands of years of practice.
“When life becomes all about self and when the energy of life is about relief from our self-imposed hunger for true connection, then love becomes manipulation, strength becomes cowardice, and dignity becomes arrogance.” Andrew J. Bauman
If any one of us is consumed with what is going on in our lives, there is little likelihood we have a clue about what is happening in anyone else’s life or what they may have to offer in true relational connection. When we don’t, that spurs us into more busyness and more self-soothing choices.
How easily we forget in this polarized world the basic truth the enemy is counting on us to forget or dismiss.
He doesn’t want us to see that he is the enemy and the force at work each day to upend us.
“Evil is the thing that is set against God and, because we are created in God’s image, is set against us. Evil is self-propagating, emulating God’s creative work in its own destructive effort, committed to steering us away from our love and toward lesser things.” Andrew J. Bauman
Brent Curtis and John Eldredge describe this well in their book, Sacred Romance, in the chapter entitled “Less-Wild Lovers.” They want the reader to understand that God is the wildest of lovers who has expended everything (even his beloved Son) to regain what was lost in Eden. Because we were designed for intimacy with Him, once that was broken our hearts will propel us to seek it wherever we can find it. Too often we choose “less-wild lovers” and those are what the Lord would have us forsake. They are the enemy of wholeness.
Curtis and Eldredge describe it this way:
“We come to a place in our spiritual life where we hear God calling us. We know he is calling us to give up the less-wild lovers that have become so much a part of our identity, embrace our nakedness, and trust in his goodness.”
What are “less-wild lovers?”
“Our adversary also seduces us to abide in certain emotions that act as less-wild lovers, particularly shame, fear, lust, anger, and false guilt. They are emotions that ‘protect’ us from the more dangerous feelings of grief, abandonment, disappointment, loneliness, and even joy and longing, that threaten to roam free in the wilder environs of the heart.” Curtis and Eldredge
Yes, we all experience these emotions. Please note the key word I underlined – abide. If we abide in these emotions, it suggests we live there and never embrace the new life and wholeness Christ offers us. He came to set us free from the emotions that would seek to bind us and cause us to live in the shadows. We are meant to abide in Christ.
“There is only One Being who can satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.” Oswald Chambers