Distractions

 The following is an article that I wrote under my pen name “Irinia Demkiw”
and it was published in “Progress” (a bi-weekly Ukrainian community newspaper)
and my irinademkiw.wordpress.com blog site on February 7, 2012.

(Note: Scriptures from Douay-Rheims Bible translation)

Sometimes when I want to hear God, little things can cause me to look away, to be distracted from God. Sometimes it might be a big thing. Sometimes it is not big. Sometimes, it might be a small thought. When I respond to distractions, I can be easily lead away from God’s plan for me. I am learning how weak I am.

I have been taught that thoughts come from three places: me, God and the enemy. My thoughts encourage me to think I can do whatever I want in my life and these thoughts lead me to sit on the throne of my life. The enemy’s thoughts encourage me to look away from God believing that everything is good and his goal is to rob me of my salvation. Thoughts from God will encourage me to trust and believe in Him, bringing me closer to Him and helping me to grow up spiritually to serve God and others; God is on the throne in my life – His throne.

The thoughts that are not from God; that is, myself or the enemy, usually come as distractions rather than revelations. These distractions are subtle and have an appearance as being good. I have heard from another person that “everything is good, but not everything is right.”

Some of the thoughts might seem like innocent fun that has a little evil in it. There is a scripture, Hosea 4:6, that says, “my people perish for lack of knowledge.” When we are living without an informed mind, we have lack of knowledge and what seems like an innocent bit of fun or entertainment could ultimately cost us our salvation.

Many people today love to play games with their minds that could be called “self-deception,” “self-indulgence,” and “self-fulfillment.” Here is a scripture that encourages me to grow and work at having a healthier mind:

But if you will discipline your thoughts and be willing to learn,
You will be kept safe in this life and will be granted mercy after death,
For judgment day comes after death.
Edras 14: 34,35

When I was a child, my mother often would say, “Oh, you August people are all alike!” I did not understand her message and when I grew to be about 12 years old, I asked her, “When you say “you August people are all alike,” what do you mean?” She responded that she heard from people through her life referring to horoscopes; that those in a category were the same personality and had a similar destiny. She said that the daily newspaper had a section and often she would glance at it and decided that there was some truth to it. I never questioned her if it was something that God would be pleased with and she never indicated that God was involved.

As I became an adult and had a time in my life that was stressful and difficult, I wondered about horoscopes and what message I might find that would be helpful to me. At the beginning, when I first began to check out “my sign” it seemed innocent and playful. My mother, I remembered, had mentioned it as something that she trusted. As days and months went along, I found myself eagerly checking out what was written for the day. A few times it seemed as if it was written especially for me. “Oh, my goodness,” were my thoughts as I rationalized the message into my life. Without meaning to, I was embracing this occult habit into my thinking. I never said that I believed it, but I was always “just checking” the horoscope for the day. I was doing all this without an informed mind or conscience. I would tell myself that I was just being playful.

What other games have I played? What about playfulness with tarot cards, palmistry, dreamology, numerology, etc. As a Christian, have I invited Jesus into the play? What will I do if Jesus refuses to play?

I had a time in my life when I never asked God for his opinion on anything I did. But after I got serious about my salvation, my relationship with my loving Heavenly Father helped me to understand that Jesus came to help me overcome anything that would try to take me away from God. Jesus called me to repent over these playful activities. At first, I was taken aback and could not see the harm. I did not want to give them up so I asked Jesus to teach me. Boy, I am really prideful wanting Jesus to tell me why I should not be in these playful activities.

Jesus gave the disciples two commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves, we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Moses provided us with God’s Ten Commandments:

I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day

Honor your father and your mother.

You shall not kill.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

You shall not covet you neighbor’s goods.

What I sensed I heard after being in prayer was that I was breaking the first commandment. God is all-knowing and omnipotent. When I need guidance, I am to go to God for help. I was not going to God for help but seeking direction from horoscope. Once I let the horoscope into my life, I was becoming desensitized and as many years passed by I began to look to other distractions, namely, palmistry, dreamology, numerology. I found that as I had embraced each of the seemingly innocent but dangerous activities, my love towards God was changing. I did not run to Him for guidance and help, but sought my answers in these distractions. God was so merciful to me. He did not disown me but sent me loving people (God with skin on) to help me understand that I had sinned. I repented and went to confession.

When I see someone else caught up in to these distractions, I want to run to them and say, “You need more knowledge about God and understanding that these playful activities will draw you away from God and cost you your salvation. Either God is God in your life, or these playful activities. Only God fits on the throne of your life. He loves you and desires the best for you and is eager for you to be with Him until the end of time. “

I thank my Jesus for helping me. When I sense I am being distracted from Him, I can ask for help and wisdom. It says in scripture:

9And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find:
knock, and it shall be opened to you.
10For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth;
and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
11And which of you, if he ask his father bread,
will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion?
13If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit
to them that ask him?
Luke 11:9-13

My God has rescued me again from being lost. Time with Him in prayer is sweet and I am peace-filled and wanting more of Him. Recently, someone asked me to spend 15 minutes in quiet, with a candle lit, without an agenda and just soak in God. I have done this. I want more.

 

Copyright © 2012 Irina Demkiw, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2014 Gloria Winn, all rights reserved.

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