Trying to do too much at once

Is Distraction Stealing Your Peace & Contentment?

When you’re cleaning the house, making lunches, or even just trying to relax, do you find yourself worrying about something or thinking several steps ahead instead of enjoying what’s in front of you?

I know many of us can relate in letting our minds wander throughout the day. Thinking about other things while doing something seems normal, but once this habit forms, we can become overwhelmed, distracted, and lack clear focus.

Distraction comes from the Latin dis-, “away or reversing force,” and trahere, “drag.” So distraction is when you’re dragged away from your task at hand. Dragged away? The visual seems like an evil plot against my will.

So distraction is when you’re dragged away from your task at hand.

Then I realized it was that bad, stealing my peace and contentment. God started working on me, teaching me how to take these thoughts captive and grow my trust in Him.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28–30.

It started with my daily tasks.

When I got up in the morning and went for a walk, I used to think of what’s ahead for my day, pray about various things, what I need to plan for the weekend, or what can I look forward to. The Holy Spirit gently STOPPED me and reminded me that the walk was for exercise and enjoying time with my husband. It was also meant to give my mind a breather before I started my busy day.

When making dinner, I used to think about what my husband and I would watch on TV afterward or how our daughter is doing or what I did yesterday. That gentle STOP came again. While I’m cooking, I should pay attention since it’s on a hot stove. I can enjoy cooking and serving others. I can be fully present. Even enjoying the food God has provided for me was important, instead of eating quickly so I could get on with the rest of my evening.

One of the most difficult lessons was when things were quiet. I was so used to filling up the silence with something – making a list, listening to music, or scrolling my social media page. What about sitting with God and letting Him quiet my soul?

One of the most difficult lessons was when things were quiet.

On Sundays when I came home after discipling young women, I would mull over who is doing well and growing in Christ and in what area, then what we should focus on the next time – the gentle STOP came once more. What about getting some rest after getting up early, going to church, then ministering to others? Or what about paying attention to my husband while he’s speaking to me? Enjoying some much needed time with him?

Time, care, and attention should be paid to what we are currently doing. It’s part of being content and having a mind of peace. It’s also part of loving God.

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. Philippians 4:11 NKJV

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

The Difference I’ve Noticed

I don’t feel overwhelmed – now that’s saying something as a wife and mom! I trust that God will guide me in every task and that I don’t need to worry. I’m not perfect at this – I’m still growing, but I’ve noticed that I’m more content.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33 NIV

I’m an example to my family with a peaceful and calm demeanor, paying careful attention to their needs.

All things are permitted, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted, but not all things build people up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 NASB

I’m experiencing more joy because I’m not so bogged down with the world’s expectations.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7 NKJV

My relationship with God has deepened. Before, there were so many thoughts flying through my head that this “noise” sometimes crowded out enjoying His presence.

Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:4-5 NLT

During prayer, I can keep my attention on God and what is being prayed.

I read an article, Giving God our Full & Undivided Attention,* where the author encouraged, “The more we practice focusing our attention on the ordinary tasks that make up our day, the more we’ll be able to keep our attention fixed on the extraordinary task of listening to God in prayer.”

God desires our full attention. When we are obedient to Him, we reap the blessings that He promises. Most importantly, we revel in our close relationship with Him, including His amazing love and goodness.

You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. Psalm 73:24-25 NLT

*Giving God Our Full & Undivided Attention by Christopher Hazell

How has this blog better equipped you to deal with distraction? Comment below. Also, share any encouragement.

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how to learn contentment BibleSue Iacoboni received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Colorado State University. She now lives in Southern California with her husband of 29 years who works in education. Their young adult daughter lives close and is using her degree in fashion design to further God’s Kingdom by helping women in need. Sue leads a college & career Moms in Prayer group, is a leader in the young adult ministry at her church, and disciples young women in the Word of God and prayer.

Comments 14

  1. Thank you Sue! I needed this very practical encouragement to “get out of my head” and focus fully within God’s loving presence on the immediate task at hand. Much more peace and joy is the result.

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      Hi Martha! So glad that this encouraged you. God is so good to continue to guide us on the path of abundant life. God bless you.

  2. Thank you Sue for these powerful words and verses which convict and encourage me at the same time. In a world full of distractions, I’m excited to apply what you’ve written and see how God works throughout my day.

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      Author

      Robin, Thank you for your comment. So glad this spoke to your heart and that you’re putting it into action. God bless you!

  3. The subject of this article is what I have struggled with as a mother for 28 years. Now that I’m a grandmother I am being given a new perspective on parenting and the future. It encourages to be still with the Lord, Psalm 46:10 and in the moment with my husband, adult children and grandchild.

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      Rebecca, Thank you for commenting and for sharing your perspective. May God bless you as you enjoy the moments with God and your family. God bless you.

  4. It has become a practice to be still before God and wait. two things that I have not previously ever been good at! As I have put this daily practice to work I have found so much space and quiet in my mind. My brain actually is more clear than ever. God’s presence brings every need that we don’t even know we have. Thank you for sharing this beautiful article. It confirms what God is doing in me personally. I’m glad we are all realizing that multitasking doesn’t make us better, but being fully present is where we will find our gracious Lord!

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      Christina, Thank you for your comment and for confirming the important work God is doing in your life. How encouraging to read your testimony. So glad that you shared this. God bless you.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I identify with the thinking of things ahead instead of what’s right in front of me. This has made me take a second thought.

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      Asalele, Thank you for your response to this blog. I’m grateful that it encouraged you to take action and to enjoy more of the peace and contentment that God has provided to you. God bless you.

  6. I love this! It’s so me to “make the most of my time” by thinking ahead, etc — filling my mind with “something constructive” or filling the air with music or WHATEVER– throughout my day and even in the wee hours of the night at times– instead of just being quiet. I used to be quiet a lot when I was young. I used to set aside time to dream and write and draw and observe and just listen…

    My 3 kids are all grown and out of the house … but looks like I’m still in Mom Mode in a way.

    Starting today, I’m going to practice quieting myself (like a weaned child) and focusing on the task at hand … being present. I’ve done this before and it made a HUGE difference (especially when I was working with clients AND trying to focus on what I needed to do for an upcoming event… yikes!). I’ve been out of practice and it shows.

    Yesterday, interestingly enough, I determined to eat my lunch on our sunny patio and NOT look at my phone or any other screen. I determined to simply stop, observe the beauty that God has put all around us, and eat my little lunch quietly. Wow… what a difference! I can’t help but think that God prompted me to do that as a taste of the goodness of being present, knowing that I was going to read your wonderful piece this morning! Thank you for writing it! ~Teri

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      Author

      Teri, Thank you so much for your comment. It’s wonderful to hear that this was a timely reminder to be still in God’s presence and to be focused on what He places in front of you. I’m thinking too, what a great example this will be to others around you. God bless you.

  7. Thank you ! This is just what I needed to hear today. I tend to feel guilty when I’m not being productive. I can really relate to busyness and noise crowding out His presence and stealing my peace.

    I am going to apply your biblically of wise advice and bask in His presence the rest of this day.

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      Author

      Ann, Thank you so much for your comment. I’m delighted to hear that you put this into action the same day. Grateful that God guides us along the right path because He wants what’s best for us and to put Him first. God bless you!

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