Distracted by the Wrong Questions

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“If the devil can’t get you to sin, he’ll keep you busy.”

I’m not sure who first said that quote, but I’d like to modify it just a bit.  I think for me it’s not so much busyness as it is keeping my mind distracted or preoccupied on trying to understand the answers to the wrong questions.

I’ve realized lately that I have this bad habit of wasting too much time worrying about figuring things out. I am preoccupied in life by questions.  I have this need and desire to understand in order to have a clearer idea of what my life should look like.  Take for instance my dreams and passions.  Right now they feel completely stalled out and I’m wasting time trying to figure out where the road is headed.

A desire to have all the answers.

I’ve always been this way.  It stems from this misconception that if I can get to the root of something, then my life and my purpose will make more sense.  However, time and time again, God reminds me that it’s not my job to have all the ducks in a row.   I keep coming back to this lately but when I was drinking heavily years ago,  I thought if I could just figure out why I did it then I could fix it and become a normal and healthy consumer of alcohol.  But finally, I got to a point where I surrendered the need to know why.  I just let it go and decided to accept healing and freedom even though I never got an answer to the why.

Why do directions seem so mysterious and unclear right now?   I don’t know.   And really, it doesn’t matter.

My job is to show up and live the life I’ve been given today. 

I don’t want to be preoccupied with the wrong questions anymore.  Focusing on the wrong questions is my weakness.  They tend to keep me distracted. They keep me from trusting. They keep me from fully experiencing the opportunities that cross my path.

A couple of things happened in the last week that seem to be forcing me to think beyond all the question marks.  A few days ago I was pulling out of Walmart and a lady was standing on the corner holding a sign.  Hungry  Homeless.  

Many times, I think about doing something in these situations… but don’t.   Sometimes I am in the wrong lane or headed a different direction and I convince myself not to do anything helpful.  But this time,  I turned around, went through the drive-thru across the street, and ordered some food.  I went back to the lady and walked up to her.  When I reached her I said,

“I have some food here…are you hungry?”

“Yes Ma’am, I am.  I’m not taking your lunch, am I?”

“No, you’re not.  There’s a few dollars in the bag too.”

“Thank you, Ma’am”

I reached out and touched her shoulder and for some reason I asked her this question. It just came out.

“Do you know who loves you?”

“Ma’am?”  she responded.

“Jesus loves you.”  I said.

“I know, Ma’am…thank you.”

I wasn’t planning on sharing this encounter with you but here is my point in doing so:

I focus and worry way too much in life on the wrong questions.

Do you know who loves you?

This is the question I need to remember the answer to.  This is the question I want the world around me to know the answer to.  This is the question I want to keep a tight grip on when life and the next steps seem to be a mystery.

Do you know who loves you?

**********

I shared on Facebook last night that I found out yesterday after a visit to a dermatologist that the spot I’ve had for years on my shoulder is a common form of skin cancer called Basal Cell Carcinoma.  I’ll be getting it removed soon.  Thankfully, it is not a life threatening form of skin cancer.  But, the experience made me pause and think about folks who walk out of a doctor’s office and the answers they receive to their health questions are not such good news.

It made me think again of how much energy I waste everyday on those things that don’t really matter.  Those things that would mean nothing if a doctor walked into an exam room and told me dreaded news about me or someone I love.   Those things that would mean nothing when I was taking my final breath.

My husband shared this video earlier this week.  It’s the time we have on earth numbered out in jelly beans.  It’s worth a jelly bean of your time.  It made me think about how many jelly beans I’ve wasted in life asking the wrong questions.

 

 

16 thoughts on “Distracted by the Wrong Questions

  1. Betty Draper

    Going to post this on my fb wall….great post Eileen. To see our life laid out in jelly beans which I love was probably one of the best I have seen on “our time on this earth”. This needs repeating, great post my wise hearted sister.

    Reply
  2. Zee

    WOW, Eileen. I often struggle with exactly the same problem – trying to get to the root of everything, trying to figure out stuff and people… and every time I fail, I get discouraged. Yet you’re right – we should prioritize questions we spend time thinking about. Some of them are extremely important, some don’t matter at all, some are important, yet not overly so…

    Great post, thank you for sharing!

    (Jelly beans!!!)

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      I had someone in my small group last night call it analysis paralysis…at least the condition has a name! 🙂

      Reply
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  4. David

    Very timely for me, Eileen. I’m still asking wrong questions and seeking answers I don’t necessarily need and I’ve been wandering around this big blue orb for a while longer than you.

    Great post!
    Thanks.

    FYI – I found your place from Bill the Cycleguy’s place. I think I’ll be visiting more often …

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Thanks for coming over David. Sometimes I do feel all my wrong questions keep me confused. Focus on the ones that truly matter. That’s my goal.

      Reply
  5. floyd

    Awesome post. I too followed Bill over to your site. We spend so much time worrying about the things that don’t add up to a handful of jellybeans in the end… May we find rest in the palm of our Father’s hand…

    Reply
  6. Jenifer

    Eileen, I will be praying for you my friend!!

    I can completely relate to “if he can’t make you sin, he’ll keep you busy.” SO TRUE. He’ll make you too busy to be with God. And the busyness may not even be “bad” things, just your regular schedule becomes so full that your time with God slips to the back burner. Oh yes, I’ve been here. More than once. More than twice. More times than I can count. I am a slow learner. 😉 But God deserves our FIRSTS in everything, including our time. If God has to be last, something HAS TO GO! Great post!

    Reply
    1. Eileen Post author

      Thanks, Jenifer. I just know I have a tendency to chase (or focus and dwell) on the things that distract me from what’s really important.

      Reply
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