Wow! I have been really distracted this week. My daughter has been a real pistol lately (okay she’s almost four, so I’ll give her a break), my son’s allergies appear to be creeping him closer to bronchitis despite the medications and various attempts to keep him healthy, a situation involving an extended family member has filled me with concern, my job is busy, my husband’s job is busy (he too works in child welfare), and, well, the toaster caught on fire. I’m talking flames shooting out of it heading right towards our cabinets. What does the toaster catching on fire have to do with all of this? We were distracted!
While toasting taco shells for dinner, we got busy talking and stopped paying attention to the toaster oven. One of the shells fell to the bottom somehow and caught on fire. I frantically opened the toaster door which added air to the fire which then caused the flames to shoot up over it right towards our cabinets. Clearly, the training I have had in how to put out fires did not even register! My husband quickly grabbed the oven, ran outside, threw it on the ground, and poured water over it. Within a few seconds, the smoke alarm was going off, my children were screaming, and the kitchen and hearth room were full of smoke….which of course, has added to the challenge of keeping my son’s bronchial issues minimal this time of year.
It was not a major fire or anything like that, but that brief moment of not paying attention could have turned into something far worse. The smell of thick smoke stayed with us throughout the evening despite our attempts at clearing out the air in the house. Since this happened, I have been thinking about the variety of distractions I have in life that often cause me to lose sight at times of my relationship with the Lord.
Work, laundry, children, parents, husband, more laundry, errands, and of course, laundry – these are all components that fill up my days, my thoughts, and my responsibilities. I usually do not even realize how distracted I have become until I am at church and focus only on Him. It is like an “ahh” and “aha” moment every Sunday morning. I sit there thinking only of my faith in the Lord, my hope in Him, my walk with Him, and that Glorious Day when He returns. But then, as the sun sets on Sunday, the laundry basket starts looking more like a laundry tower, the kids start yearning for me as they know the weekend is coming to an end, and I start thinking about all that will be required of me throughout the work week.
I do not want to sound like I am complaining. I feel 100% blessed to have the opportunity and ability to work, to have a home to clean, to have children to bathe, to have a husband, and to have errands to run. I see all of these things as gifts and do not want to take them for granted. Life is just busy.
However, I still keep thinking about the fire in the toaster. How many times have I come close to stepping into a fiery situation because of taking my eyes off of the Lord? How close have I come to being burned because of my distractions? Like the smell of smoke that lingered, how has the residue of sin lingered in my life?
The Scripture verse I am drawn to when thinking about this is Matthew 6:25-34. The lessons I take from these verses is not to worry. However, as I think further, I realize that distractions in life can sometimes be based on worry.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
I take away from this the reminder that the Lord is never so distracted that He fails to meet our needs. He keeps His eyes on us all of the time. He will never be too sidetracked by our busy schedules, or overflowing laundry baskets, or screaming children, to meet us where we are. He will provide for us even though we are frantically trying to provide for ourselves.
I think it is funny how the Lord used a burning toaster and some very over-cooked taco shells to bring me back to thoughts of Him. Thank you Lord for your sense of humor! I pray the only real distractions I have are ones that always point me right back to Christ.