We, the Christian women of this world, are a silenced army. Silenced by distraction.
Distraction is a sly weapon used by the enemy. Distraction keeps us focused on good and bad things so we will miss the God things in our lives.
Distraction will keep us following whatever life throws at us, and distraction makes everything in our lives except God urgent. Distraction has a snowball effect, and if you open the door to it, distraction can take your whole life with it, one day at a time.
A distraction: keeping up, getting ahead, fitting in, chasing dreams, building a life, climbing the ladder, shattering ceilings, and holding on for dear life to everything you want over everything God wants for you and to do through you.
“I am saying this for your benefit,
not to place restrictions on you.
I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best,
with as few distractions as possible.”
1 Corinthians 7:35 NLT
We are not victims of distraction: We are volunteers. Distraction will hold our attention for as long as we are willing to let it. Distraction is a choice.
The first year my kids attended school online was tough. We had to discipline ourselves to stay focused. I say ourselves because I was right there with them during school, and I was just as easily distracted as they were.
We would start our day strong, fizzle a bit before lunch, come back from lunch wired, and then fizzle again around midday. After a few months, we figured out what worked for us and things were going smoothly. For some reason though, our school days were getting longer and longer, and I couldn’t figure out why.
My kids, being the brilliant people that they are, learned how to distract me. They knew if one of them started singing that I would join in. They knew if there was a bird out the window and they pointed it out to me, I would encourage everyone to get up to look at the bird. They knew which topics would keep me talking and would distract me from the project we were working on. My precious little angels were playing me like a fiddle.
It wasn’t until they were having to do school work well into the evening that they realized that distracting mom (so they didn’t have to do their work) was only hurting them.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I figured out what my littles were doing early on, but I let it play out. I knew if I was always telling them about the consequences of distraction, they wouldn’t believe me. They would think I was taking their fun away or being too hard on them, so I let them feel the pain of distraction so they would stop searching for it.
Changing the world for Jesus is hard work: It takes discipline. It will require us to silence distraction. We are reaping the consequences of distraction from generations before us who were unwilling to do the hard work, but instead found relief and solace in distraction.
Women, the army of God, no longer has the luxury of time to be distracted. We can no longer succumb to it or search for it. The world needs every single one of us focused, disciplined, and ready to change the world for Jesus. Our time on this earth is short, but our impact will last for generations. If we want to pass on hope past our lifetime, we will have to set aside the distractions of this world and put into focus the importance of living our lives on purpose.
“So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise,
making the best use of your time because the times are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15-16 ISV
“Make the best use of your time,” means we have to take time seriously—it is finite while we are on this earth. Each minute that passes is a minute spent, a minute invested, or a minute wasted. We choose how to spend our time, and once spent, we can never get it back. Time can be full of purpose and impact or it can be wasted and squandered. What is the best use of your time? What gets all of your focus and attention? Are you living on purpose or chasing the distractions the enemy throws on your path? How you spend your time and your life pursuits is your choice, but distraction cannot dictate how you spend your life—it can only tempt you to follow it.
“But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.”
Mark 4:19 NLT
Distraction: the thief of focus, the thief of purpose, and the thief of time.
I put my life into three categories:
My urgent list is full of the most precious things to me: God, husband, kids, purpose and calling.
My important list is full of, well, important things to me or important things that have to get done: family, friends, church, volunteering, grocery shopping, doctor or dentist appointments, etc. These things have to get done for our lives to function, so they are essential.
My fun list is the best: vacations, spending time with friends, going for walks, playing board games, going to the beach, DISNEY WORLD (I would love for this to be on my urgent list), and taking a bath.
I prioritize my life so my life won’t take priority!
My life is full, fun, busy, crazy, hectic, and can be all-consuming. However, I can’t let it control me. I have to take control of my life and choose what is important based on my values and beliefs, based on what is important to me, and most importantly, what is important to God. Your life is a gift from God—every minute, day, year, and decade is precious. He filled it with every good thing you have. But when your good things become your only things and God becomes an unwelcome distraction in your life, then the life you were blessed with stops being blessed, and you become a slave to it.
Silenced by a life distracted away from God.
It is so easy to let life distract us, because we can see the need for us in it. I am needed by my husband and kids, I am needed at work, I am needed by my family, and I am needed by my friends. We put our worth in the things that distract instead of things that last, because we think that the things that are distracting us need us. We delegate doing the things that last to someone else—someone more qualified, more important, or experienced. As long as it’s someone else, anyone else. You are needed by God; you and your purpose are needed in this battle.
In 1 Samuel, we read about the first king of Israel named Saul. He didn’t start out as king, but he was hand-picked by God to become king. The prophet Samuel told Saul about the decision God made, but from the very beginning, Saul wasn’t convinced. Saul didn’t think he was good enough. He didn’t trust God’s plan, and he was distracted by insecurity.
“‘…I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.’”
Saul replied, ‘But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel,
and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe!
Why are you talking like this to me?’”
1 Samuel 9:20b-21 NLT
Saul, the appointed king of Israel, never got past his feeling of unworthiness. He never grasped the importance of his purpose, and because of that, he never took it seriously. He never understood that the thoughts he had about himself were a distraction from his calling. He lived his life making up his own rules, following God’s instructions halfheartedly, and trying to please others. He allowed himself to be distracted, because he didn’t know just how important he was to God.
“And Samuel told him,
‘Although you may think little of yourself,
are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD has anointed you king of Israel.
And the LORD sent you on a mission…’”
1 Samuel 15:17-18a NLT
“Although you may think little of yourself.” Samuel called out Saul’s insecurity and his distraction, and then followed up with a question: “Are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel?” I don’t believe Samuel was looking for an answer; he was leading Saul to the answer and reminding him of his calling and purpose. Samuel goes on to say, “The Lord has anointed you…the Lord sent you on a mission.”
We are anointed and appointed to change the world for Jesus. We have been sent on a mission and have been commissioned and positioned to live out the purpose God has infused inside each of us. Distraction, feelings of unworthiness, or being unqualified are no excuse for disobedience.
Christian women of this world—God’s army—although you may think little of yourselves, have you not been anointed and appointed to change the world for Jesus?
When we don’t know how important our purpose is and how critical it is to live it out, we allow ourselves to be distracted, we allow ourselves to be silenced, and we allow distraction to bring us down to a bow. We were created on purpose and with a purpose. We were created to change the world for Jesus. This must be on our urgent list. This must be a priority. This must be our mission. This is not sacrificing, even though sometimes it will feel like it, this is a privilege. It is a privilege to be chosen by God to change the world for him, and it is an honor to tell his story.
Saul thought he was sacrificing everything by becoming king. He thought he was doing the right thing, and felt his plans were right because they were right to him. His intentions were good, but his intentions were not God’s plans or commands. Saul wanted to please God with his sacrifice, but God never asked him for that. He asked him for obedience and submission.
“But Samuel replied,
‘What is more pleasing to the LORD:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice
and submission is better than offering…’”
1 Samuel 15:22a NLT
When God wants you to sacrifice, he will tell you. Until then, he wants your obedience, he wants your submission, and he wants to be first on your urgent list.
Your purpose is way too important to be distracted by everyday life. You were created to change the world, not to be changed by your world.
In chapter one, I told you my story about distraction. James was purposed to be in full-time ministry, but I didn’t want him to serve in that role. All my attention and focus were on his place of employment rather than his purpose. If I’m being completely honest with myself and you, I didn’t truly care about his purpose or the impact he would make; I was more concerned about the impact it would have on my life. I truly believed that agreeing with James to go into full-time ministry and be employed by a church was a sacrifice, but I would tell myself it was for the greater good, for James’ happiness, and for God. In reality, I wasn’t sacrificing anything, and I was dishonoring God.
I willingly bowed down to distraction. If God was trying to speak to me, I didn’t hear it; if he was trying to guide me, I never saw it; and if he was trying to correct me, I never realized it. The enemy had me right where he wanted me—silenced by distraction.
One summer after James starting working at the church, the kids and I took a trip with my parents to see my brother, who lived in a different state. While we were there, we attended church. I don’t remember the church’s name or the pastor’s name, but I do remember the story he told.
One evening, he and his wife were sitting in the living room together. He was reading, and she was sewing a set of curtains for her clients—she was an interior designer and loved her work. She was about three-quarters of the way finished with the curtains when she realized she had made a mistake, so she carefully started taking the seams out one at a time, by hand. The pastor said he began to feel frustrated for her while she sat there calmly fixing her mistake. God spoke to him at that moment and said, “Don’t get frustrated for her, she is using the gifts and talents I gave her. You are watching her live out her purpose.”
God used that story to speak to me, and at that moment, I knew I had been selfish. All this time, I wasn’t just distracted, I was distracting. James was living out his purpose in front of my eyes, but I couldn’t see it. James had pushed past my attempt at distracting him and was obedient to God, in spite of my best efforts to stop him.
If James had given into my distraction, he would have missed out on the last 17 years of full-time service to God. He would have missed out on stepping into his purpose. The thousands and thousands of people who have been impacted by his obedience would have missed out. When I look back, I am ashamed of my actions and repentant for my disobedience and my attempts at distracting James from his purpose.
From then on, I have never missed an opportunity to watch James live out his purpose.
To change the world for Jesus, we have to be neither distracted nor distracting. We can’t discourage each other or step in each other’s way. We have to be unified in one thing—obedience to God. If we are united in this one thing, we will not distract each other—instead we will inspire, encourage, motivate, and spur each other on.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT
I am inspired daily by James and many other people who are focused on their mission of being obedient to God and not distracted by their lives or this world. They know who they are in Christ. They know they were created on purpose—they know what their purpose is, and they will not be distracted from it. The solution to distraction is Jesus. If we keep our eyes on him, keep our ears tuned to his voice, and stay focused on the purpose he put inside of each of us, we will be less likely to be fooled by distraction.
Daily time spent in conversation with him will keep us focused on what is urgent. Daily time spent getting to know his character and his love for us through reading the Bible will show us what is important. Being obedient to what he has purposed us to do will be fun—not just fun—but a blast and the ride of a lifetime. I know from experience that you will never regret choosing obedience over distraction. Never! Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
“Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path; Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.”
Proverbs 4:26-27 NLT
Jesus is the hope of the world, and we are his messengers. We deliver the good news of Jesus, tell of forgiveness and hope, and model freedom in Christ. We cannot be distracted; we have to be focused on finding every possible way to share Jesus. We have to make the best use of our time, and we have to believe that God has chosen us and appointed us to change the world for him.
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So, they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, ‘Young man, your sins are forgiven…’ ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’”
Luke 5:18-20,24b NLT
The men carrying the paralyzed man were not distracted from their goal of getting their friend to Jesus. When their path was blocked, they climbed up to the roof. If there was a problem, they were going to find a solution. Can you imagine how hard that was? I struggle to get on the roof carrying only my own weight and using a ladder. They were carrying a paralyzed man who couldn’t help them at all. But that didn’t stop them; they were focused on their mission.
After what I am sure was an exhausting trek to the top of the house, they then had to pull up roof tiles and roofing, make a hole big enough for a man to fit through, and make a way to Jesus. They had to be determined, focused, and free of distractions.
They are so close! The men can see Jesus through the hole, now all they have to do is get their friend down to the feet of Jesus. The Bible doesn’t say how, but I’m sure it was just as creative as the way they got him up on the roof and then dug through the roof. When you are focused, creativity has room to bloom, and these men were focused. Their friend’s healing depended on it.
The paralyzed man was now at the feet of Jesus.
The young man would never have made it to the feet of Jesus, and he never would have been forgiven of his sins and healed if it wasn’t for “some men” who were focused, determined, creative, and cared enough about this man to put his life on their urgent list.
This is a beautiful example of love for the lost and those in need of healing. They modeled how focused we should be in bringing people to Jesus—no distraction, no distracting, just pure faith in Jesus and love for everyone he loves.
My favorite part of the story are these three words, “seeing their faith.” He wasn’t just talking about the paralyzed young man. He was talking to all of them. Jesus saw the faith of the men who wouldn’t be stopped until their friend was healed, and he was moved. Their faith motivated them to act on behalf of a man who couldn’t do it for himself. Jesus saw himself in those men; he saw his love shining through them, and he saw men who knew the difference one encounter with Jesus can make.
You are purposed to bring people to the feet of Jesus, especially people who can’t make it there on their own. They need your faith, your determination, and your do- whatever-it-takes attitude. The battle needs you!
We, the Christian women of the world, choose to silence distraction and embrace the purpose and calling God has given us. We choose to see our calling not as a sacrifice but as obedience and submission. We choose to bring people to Jesus and not be discouraged or distracted, but courageous and focused. We must find a way, even when it looks like there is no way, to bring people to the feet of Jesus. We choose to change the world for Jesus.
When you choose no longer be silenced by distraction, but instead choose to stand in the face of it, you are not alone. God is standing right beside you. He stands next to you and says, “Now this is a girl I can change the world through.”
Nichole Chavez, first a pastor’s daughter, then a pastor’s wife, now an ordained pastor. Nichole has served as a campus pastor for one of the largest churches in America and as co-lead pastor with her husband, James. She has spoken to women around the world and has seen the struggles, challenges and opposition faced by the women of today’s church. Her ministry organization, Nichole Chavez Ministries, encourages, inspires and challenges women to no longer be victims of this sinful world, but volunteers to change it and to boldly, unapologetically and bravely step into the purpose and calling God has created them to fulfill—even if it’s not a comfortable, easy, or traditional purpose or calling.
About the Author: Nichole is the author of the book, The Silenced Army, and the Bible study, Journey To Purpose: A Journey Worth Taking, as well as blogs, devotional studies and the podcast She Leaders. Nichole lives in New York with the love of her life, James Chavez, their two kids and a Yorkie named Zander, who she affectionately calls her forever-baby.
Read more: https://faithit.com/silenced-by-distraction/