The Newest and Greatest Thing

Have you noticed how, especially at the beginning of a year, we get inundated with the newest strategy for organizing ourselves, our prayer life, our study, how to live our best lives, the newest gadget to help with all of the above? Today, it hit me how all this gets pushed in front of our eyes and we can get so distracted with the newest thing, that we lose sight of what needs to be done first, as well as, WHO we should come to first.

If I am not willing to develop the habit of writing things down in an organized way or a list, what good is the newest and coolest datebook or calendar book for me? Oh sure, I could spend money on it, but if I’m not in the habit of writing things down in that way, I will probably not do it with the greatest organizer book either. I might look good and even a bit perfessional, but it will also probably be more empty than full because of lack of use.

If I’m not a reader of many books, or of the Bible, what good will buying another book or study book do me? My intentions are great. I’m going to study more or read more. But if I haven’t developed the habit of doing either of those things, buying the next thing isn’t such a wise choice. I just add another thing to my shelf. But then, I also add some guilt to the mix because I don’t read it anyway and feel guilty for spending the money.

Oh! I know! If I have that new iPhone or Tablet, then I will for sure be more organized and I can have it with me all the time to keep me organized. THAT will make me more “put together” this year!

We get inundated with what to buy and we are convinced that next great thing will do it. We want to be like that person we see advertising the journal that writes in it everyday and boy what an artist she is! We get the journal and we can’t even draw a good circle, let alone make beautiful lettering in it.

I know many who have gotten an iWatch to be on top of their exercise and movement. But you know what? They don’t get out and walk or move that much to utilize the iWatch to the full potential. The breathing icon pops up and you look at it, but say, “not now, I have to do such and so”. Or reminds you that you should get out and walk, but you don’t feel like it.

Even in the Christian community, we are inundated with the newest study that will change your life, or the newest Bible that is going to help you understand everything you read. Or how a journal Bible will write your thoughts down as you read. That may be true if you are doing it already as you study. If you aren’t, it may not do what you are expecting and you have another book that is sitting on your shelf. Now don’t get me wrong, I DO study with several Bibles because I like to read the translations to help clarify verses. But I have a habit of using them daily. So for me, the investment is qualified. Then, I am moved toward knowledge and my study is enhanced as well.

Are you getting the idea? We are pretty A.D.D. when it comes to being distracted by the glitter and glitz of the newest and greatest. However, we do very little about the habits we need to cultivate if we are to effectively use the tools available to us. Want a good example? Just look at your social media feeds at all the things that people want to sell you. What if we went back to the very beginning with ourselves and ask, “What do I really need to do more of in order to help me become a person of good habits, better organzied, or more skilled in my area of expertise?” This goes whether you are a stay at home parent, a professional out in the work place, or retired. We often let the glitz and glitter pull us into spending more than necessary before we have established habits that will be enhanced by some of those tools. It can distract us from doing what we should be doing at that moment, when what we need to do, is scroll on by.

For me, I want to ask God to help me establish good habits first, habits that I can say I have accomplished consistently for a long period of time, so that, I can benefit from choosing whether this newest and greatest thing will enhance my endeavors, or whether I am just spending money to “appear” a certain way, or maybe that I’m buying on impulse. I also know for me, I have always asked myself if I am willing to take on the learning curve of that new “thing”. I didn’t before and sometimes I find I spent the money and it hasn’t worked out as well for me in terms of money well spent. I love technology so it is hard for me not to want the newest and greatest. But I’m learning to be content with what I have.

So in these times where we can get distracted by the newest and greatest, when economically, we have to be wise, let the message of this post challenge you where you are. The next time you are tempted, ask yourself some of the questions here and see if it lines up with where you are. Do you need to establish some foundational habits in order to gain from that newest gadget or book or whatever it is? Will you use it consistently? Or will you start out with a bang and then it sits? Be honest with yourself, otherwise you will get hooked by pictures and words.

Does this challenge you? I was challenged by writing this post. I hope you take a few moments to consider the implications for distraction and good choices in your daily life. This very moment I am asking God to further help me make the very choices I need, just as I am challenging you to do today.

For the love of the moment…

~JoAnn

What Crows Are Heckling You?

Do you ever feel like circumstances of life or other people are keeping you from living the life you would like to live? I know I have. A couple of weeks ago, I heard this awful, loud, noise coming from somewhere close to my house. I went in search of what it could be and as I got closer to the back of our house, it got louder. I opened the back door and walked out to see one tree in particular completely covered and surrounded by crows! I couldn’t imagine where they all came from. There was at least 40-50 of them! I knew from reading about eagles, the crows must have an eagle surrounded. As I got closer, I saw a young eagle sitting down in the branches. The crows were acting crazy and the eagle just sat there.

I felt this sudden urge to come to the rescue and help that eagle out! I went over by the tree and made some loud, most likely, unfeminine, type noises and waved my arms in the air. As I did that, the crows attention was diverted from the eagle to this crazy lady running around making noises. At that precise moment, the eagle took flight. Before he could get very far, he was surrounded by several crows trying to get at his wings and keep him from flying. But the eagle just spread those beautiful wings and flew off with the crows still trying their best to keep him distracted and heckle him. I saw this very same thing again just this last weekend while enjoying the day at the Lake. I think it has such a perfect message to all of us! (The picture came from this last weekend.)

Just like the eagle, there may be something in our lives that God wants to change:

  • A new direction He is giving us with our family
  • A specific area we need to improve.
  • Draw closer to Him.
  • Changes in our finances
  • A ministry with our church
  • Reading the Bible on a more regular basis

Whatever it is, He wants a more intimate relationship with you, SO THAT, you can affect the lives of those around you and show God’s love in a way others can see. But just like that eagle, we have those “crows” in our lives that want us to feel less effectual. Bring us down. Shoot down our ideas or endeavors. Keep us distracted. Those circumstances or people want to keep you grounded from ever taking flight!  You may hear such things as:

  • “That would never work.”
  • ” You are way too fanatical for me since you became a Christian.”
  • “Where’s God in THAT?!”
  • “You could never minister to someone with the problems YOU have.”
  • “You are such a dreamer!”
  • “Your life is such a mess!”

What do I know? I know that God has a plan for each of us. He wants to speak to us and keep our dreams alive! He is the author of dreams! He wants to use us. The eagle isn’t afraid of the crows! They are just an annoyance. So the eagle will wait until they get tired of annoying him, or are distracted, and then he will take flight!

That’s a good lesson for us. Those annoyances around us are just that; satan and/or our own thinking trying to keep us from our best. Surrender it all to Him. Let God give wind to your wings so that you can be strong like the eagle and fly to places God wants to take you. Eagles have focused vision and can see clearly for a VERY long distance. The eagle didn’t keep looking back to see how close the crows were. He kept his focus forward on his destination; away from the crows.

God wants to do that for you today! He will give you focus on the next stream of refreshing! What or who are the crows in your life that keep you from being who God wants you to become? Do you have some radical person that will come to your rescue and chase away the crows to help you focus on where you need to be going? Just like the eagle did, wait on Him snuggled down in His branches, until He gives you the all clear, and then fly like you have never flown before! He will take you to places you never dreamed of! That is a promise!