I don't know anyone who's been in education for a while that laments "the good old days". We do chat about the many changes, some of which are really awesome. But sometimes, not all the time, but once in a while adapting to changes, even good ones, can be distracting.
Last week, I got a little ambitious and thought I was downloading Google Chrome onto one of the classroom laptops. TILT...TILT!!!! Instead of Chrome, now I have all kinds of pop ups encroaching into my "space". Here I am trying to level student books, and check online assessment data, and POW! One ad after another, and the worse part is that the pop ups don't seem to care that letting them in was an accident, or they're popping up on a classroom computer. Hopefully by the time I'm back at school next week, our tech guys will have corralled whatever I let in, and my login is squeaking clean again. No more distractions.
Speaking of online assessment data, testing is now the norm in education, lots and lots of testing. Just because I understand why there apparently needs to be so many assessments, it doesn't mean I have to like it. I may not be able to choose how many, what kind, when or any other aspect of giving so many tests, but there is one thing I do have a choice about.
Like most areas of life, I have a choice about whether I allow distractions to interfere with my goal or purpose. Maybe assessments usurping nearly a third of instructional time that distracts me from planning the best lessons to meet individual learning needs. Maybe I let annoying pop ups divert my attention from students' reading progress. But, I have a choice. I can waste time and energy being off task, or I can choose to stay proactive and professional. In other words, I can choose whether to let the flesh override what's best for students.
It can be like that with our spiritual lives, too, can't it? Maybe it's getting up late on a work day and not thinking I have time for Scripture. Getting in later than expected from an outreach trip on a Saturday night with chores, laundry and lesson plans waiting to be done before Monday morning that overrides Sunday worship. A new tablet with operator issues. It doesn't take much to derail me at times, what about you?
Recently, I heard Andy Stanley preach on Nehemiah 6:3. It struck such a chord in me. Daily, sometimes hourly, I need to be reminded that I don't have time for nonsense; God has work for me to do.
Earlier this week, I posted about Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, determining if I'm just in motion or really in action. That's just what distractions do, don't they? We just get on track, starting to take action, focused on what's really important, and WHAM! Something pops up (sorry for the pun) to derail us. We're in motion, but not really taking action.
We don't deliberately allow distractions to interfere with the work God has for each of us. For me, the problem is I don't deliberately make up my mind to stay focused. Staying on the wall with Nehemiah can be hard. Good intentions help, but they may not be enough.
I wish I could give you an amazing way to keep God's work squarely in our line of vision, but I can't. What I know, what I cling to is that God keeps His word, always there when I need Him, and sometimes that means redirecting my attention back to His grace to me, in me and through me.
How do you stay focused on the important God has for you to do? If you get off track, how do you get back on?
2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.