I went on a walk last night. And I couldn’t see the stars.It’s not that they weren’t shining. It’s not that they were any less brilliant than usual. It wasn’t even cloudy.Actually, the streetlights were affecting my ability to see the sky above. From my vantage point, the surrounding night was illuminated to the point that the stars didn’t seem to shine. The stars needed a canopy of darkness to shine out brightly but the streetlights were affecting the black backdrop.
Up until two years ago, I lived in the country. Out in the middle of nowhere. You could lie down on the grass and stargaze for hours. So I’m still not used to going outside late at night and not being able to see the stars as clearly as before.
You see, it’s not that the sky has changed in those two years. Instead, where I’m standing has. Sometimes, we need to get away from the distractions in our life so that we can again see who God truly is. Without realizing it, we’ve let distractions block our view of Him. He hasn’t changed. His glory hasn’t lessened. His majesty has not dimmed. But the bright, flashing lights of this world, the showy, sparkly attractions, have affected our vision. Our focus is drawn to the glittering pleasures instead of the glory of Christ.
My spirit has been restless and easily distracted lately. I used to pray in my car as I ran errands or drove to and from work. Now I find myself in the midst of talking to God and all of a sudden ten minutes have passed in which I am captivated by some other thought completely unrelated to Christ. I’ll be reading my Bible when my phone rings or I get a text and 15 minutes later I end a conversation and realize that I’ve been distracted once again.
When I’m spending time with God, I don’t want to be distracted. What I find helps me the most is going somewhere where I won’t be bothered. Not a public area in the house where people can sit next to me and strike up a conversation. Or come find me to ask a question. You may find it even helps to set aside a specific time. Some of my friends say that their minds are the clearest at night, others say the morning. Also, when I’m spending time in the word or prayer, I silence my phone. I hate being with a friend and in the middle of a sentence when they get a text and have to reply it right then. It makes me feel unimportant. It makes me feel like what I have to say means nothing to them. It makes me wonder why we’re even together. It certainly doesn’t make me feel special or valued or loved. So why do we do that to God?
You may have entirely different distractions in your life. Or maybe something that used to be just a distraction has now turned into an idol. If this is the case, I would recommend a fast. Not all fasts have to be with food. You could take a technology fast. A month without tv. A week without your laptop. A day without your phone (yes, it’s possible). If you were to say that it’s not possible, then your phone has DEFINITELY become an idol in your life. Think of your parents and your grandparents. They survived just fine without cell phones. You can too. Maybe you need to fast from social media for a couple weeks. Or even hanging out with friends for a day or two. Whatever you feel has come between you and God. Let’s turn off the streetlights so we can clearly see God’s glory.