Chasing Squirrels

I am easily distracted.  I’ve always thought that this was just an unfortunate trait of a busybody overachiever who wants to conquer everything set before her.  Recently though, it has become very evident to me that this unrest has not only affected me in my day to day tasks, but also very much in my spiritual life.

I want to be content as God has instructed me, but I’m always afraid that being content will mean I am going to miss out on something better that might come along.  I want to walk the path that God has set out just for me, but I get distracted thinking there might be something more interesting if I follow my own directions.

If you are anything like me,  your spiritual journey thus far might look a little like this – a winding road full of road signs placed by God in just the right spots but, in many cases, ignored by the traveler.  God placed a sign that says go right?  Ooo, but look at that shiny rock to the left.  That rock seems pretty, I know God put the sign to go right but He must have wrote it down wrong.  I need that pretty rock in my life – but dang, I picked it up and the stupid thing cut my hand!  Then I saw an adorable fluffy squirrel, followed it, and now I’m in a patch of thorns.  Tried to get out of the thorns, relying on my own directions, and now I have no idea where I am in this woods of misery.  I’m tired, I’m cut and I feel like there is no way out.

Eventually I remember I’m not in this alone, I’ve got God.  At this point though I’m so mad I don’t ask Him to help me, I use my direct line to yell at Him and question why He would let me get into such a mess, all the while forgetting my choices led me to the thorns, not God’s.  I allowed myself to become distracted instead of trusting that God would have something even better around the corner He had wanted me to turn.  I went for a rock, He would have had a diamond.  I chased the squirrel, He would have had a puppy.

The devil is at the root of these distractions in our spiritual lives.  He wants to distract us, and will use practical means to do so.  He isn’t going to show up like we see him represented in movies, big bad and obvious. Unfortunately, the devil isn’t that stupid, he knows that a series of little distractions will eventually lead us to the thorns.  Does this mean we should give up and admit defeat?  Of course not.  We shouldn’t give up because God never gives up on us.  His abundant mercy and our “direct line” to Him, prayer, is always available, no matter how many rocks we’ve tried to collect or how many squirrels we’ve chased.

It is also important to remember that God doesn’t ask us to be content as a pass to be lazy and to not strive for more in our spiritual lives.  He wants us to be content in the place He has put us and appreciate the gifts He’s giving us (even if to us they may seem mundane) because in the end, He has big plans in mind.  Being content isn’t a call to be complacent, it is an invitation to trust God.  To trust that life isn’t perfect, but God is, and we should always strive to be closer to Him.

If you find yourself today with a rock collection you never intended to gather or a family of squirrels you want to stop feeding, talk to God.  Your prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent, just authentic.  God will take us as we are – rocks, squirrels, cuts and all.

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