Distractions and Diversions

I always have high expectations of what I can accomplish, but most things take longer than planned. And then there are the distractions and diversions that can sabotage all good intentions.

When it comes to memorizing and reviewing Scripture I’ve got my routine:
• I work on verses early morning when I first get up.
• I go walking after breakfast and review while walking.
• I review during my get-ready routine: shower, hair, make-up etc.
• While driving I review longer passages.
• I review at lunch, dinner, and whenever I have free seconds throughout the day.

This has been my practice for two decades and I’ve been pretty successful at battling the distractions. Until last year. A major distraction invaded my sacred time. I got a new car—yippee—my old one was 14 years old. With the new car came a FREE subscription to Sirius XM radio for one year. For twenty plus years I have never been a car radio listener. I always use that time to review Scripture while going from place to place.

But 2016 had two major temptations to tune in for the latest news. The first distraction was the wacky presidential race, always something crazy going on. I found myself turning on cable news while driving so that I could catch up on the twists and turns of absurdity.

After getting caught up on the news, I moved to my next distraction—sports talk radio. For the first time in many years, my beloved Dallas Cowboys were red hot, surprising everyone by winning game after game. It was so exciting to hear the praise and the possibilities. My team was finally worth talking about—and listening to others talk about.

My two distractions became a diversion. I got off the road I’d been on, and entered a new highway—to nowhere. So much precious time wasted. I need an exit or a U-turn. I don’t want this silly radio to defeat me. With the election finally over, and my team losing in the playoffs, I have no compelling reason to stay connected to endless chatter. And besides that, my one-year free subscription surely has expired by now. Not so fast. My sweet husband bought me an extension for Christmas. … … … … I guess it’s decision time.

God doesn’t leave me ill-equipped to fight these battles. He gives me his Spirit, his Book and his people. I am not alone. I’ve got all of you on my team. Will you help me? Will you keep me accountable to cherish my sacred driving time? Will you please ask me how it’s going? Our online community is strengthened by our accountability to each other. We’re all striving for the same thing—to know and love God more.

If anyone else would like to share their distractions and diversions, we can speak truth to each other and pray for each other. It’s a risk, but I went first.

17 comments to Distractions and Diversions

  • Beverly Schlomann

    Oh, sweet sister, you are certainly not alone! Just last night I was asking the Lord why I just can’t seem to stay in my former memory routine (by the way, never ask God a question without being willing to hear the honest answer) and one word came into my thoughts — Netflix
    2016 was the year my illness took another turn for the worse. Concentrating was more difficult. Reading was more difficult. But watching mind-numbing tv was (and is) easy. . .so I began trading difficult for easy, rationalizing and excusing. But now it is 2017, and I am still struggling with even my first psalm of the year. The fact is, memorizing now will simply take more time, more deliberate effort. And more time in the Word means less time on Netflix. . .
    I have plenty of good excuses, but I also have a faithful God who is sovereign over all, and can certainly help me retain His Word for His purpose. I just need to give Him the time. .. .
    I do pray for you, Janet. Will you pray that –when I am afraid (of the exertion headaches that come from reading/concentrating very long) I will trust in God. In God , whose word I praise. In God I trust, I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

    • Hi Beverly, I knew there were others out there fighting distractions. Glad you were brave enough to admit it. Yes, I will pray for you. And I ask our online memorizing community to pray for you too. We absolutely need the encouragement of others, to have the strength and conviction to make the best use of the precious time we have here. Our life is a stewardship. May we live worthy of the Lord, to know and love him, and to serve him as he has equipped each one with special gifts and areas of service. OK Beverly, you’re on the prayer list. Let’s go forward together!

      • Beverly Schlomann

        Hi, Janet,
        It’s February 2 . . .and I am nearly finished with Psalm 56 (meaning that I can recite the psalm but it’s not entirely without faltering). Resuming the habit of reciting/reviewing as I fall asleep has been such a help!
        For February, I am working on Psalm 57 . . “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!” v. 5 and 11.
        Our memory group also resumed a regular schedule. My heart was so blessed to hear God’s Word recited, and what He is teaching through immersing ourselves in the Word.
        Thank you so much for the encouragement. We are in this together, sweet sister.

        • Hi Beverly, So glad to hear about your group. You are right about the encouragement that comes from listening to others recite. So powerful. I am heading out to our memory group’s annual retreat (this is our 4th one). I will be teaching 3 psalms (19, 13, 84) and we will have lots of reciting from the women (I think 12 women signed up to recite). What a blessing – can’t wait.

  • Trisha Vess

    For me, my iPhone is the biggest distraction! I find that even good things can crowd out better things… I use my iPhone for listening to sermons, Christian podcasts, worship music, browsing new Christian books on Amazon, etc. But I find that it crowds out the 3 most important things to me- time reading the Word, prayer, and meditating on scripture! Do you have a smartphone Janet? I have been thinking about going back to a basic flip phone, but I do use my iPhone recorder app for memorizing long passages, recording my own voice reading the chapter then I recite it by memory as I play the recording. It helps me know right away if I mess up on a verse. I love my smartphone for many reasons, but it’s also such a distraction too.

    • Hi Trisha, Vulnerability is risky but I hope you feel better getting it out there. I’m going to assume that cell phones are a huge distraction for a lot of people. I do have a iPhone and I wouldn’t consider giving it up, but I guess because of my age (61) I’m not chained to it. It does not distract me. I’d love to hear others ideas for you. What I know for everyone, is that we hold on to whatever we perceive as meaningful. Somehow I thought that talk radio would keep me informed, encourage me, and I would be the beneficiary of time spent there. I was wrong. Same can be true for smart phones, and even Christian websites and books. Bottom line what do we need more than God’s Word? Nothing. Thanks for sharing Trisha. I’m adding you to the prayer list.

  • Kitty Simpson

    Hey Janet:
    Sirius XM does have its good points! You can still worship….”The Message” – not sure which channel… I have it set on my radio. There are other Christian channels.. As with all good things…moderation : )

    Love you

    • Hello friend, good to hear from you. I miss seeing you in Colorado. Yes, you’re right, I could change the channel. The good thing for me is that I’m not tempted or distracted by music. I’m one of those non-musical people, and I’d rather memorize than sing. My ditch has been talk radio, but I’m hoping as of today, that my new accountability will strengthen me. I shall see. I will be in my car around 2:30 this afternoon, with several stops. Thanks for sending me some love. Love you and miss you!

  • Lise

    OK, it is confession time. For years I listened to books on tape, almost constantly. One lenten season, our friend Susan encouraged me to really focus on my Scripture memory and I stopped doing books on tape just while I jogged. I was so blessed! Five or six years later, I haven’t taken it back up but it is tempting sometime. I know if I start it will be hard to stop.
    The good news is that five or six years later I don’t really miss jogging with my books on tape (most of the time) and I know that I have learned my Scripture because I don’t take my books on tape jogging. So my thoughts: Turn it off (whatever “it” is) except under very specific circumstances (for example, maybe it is safer to listen to Sirius in the car but never listen except in the car). If you can’t do that, go cold turkey. I think God actually works in you to take away the desire. After a few weeks if you think you want it back, you can always start again. It will still be there. But I think on many of these things you will find that you don’t miss the noise as much as you think you will and, praise be to God, are overall grateful that you took the time back for Scripture memory.

    • Hi Lise, so glad to jumped in with your comment. I just need to break this distracting cycle. I know I will love my sacred car time once again, as soon as I let go of the other—which is TODAY. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Catherine

    I love football too and it’s been great to see our New England Patriots perform once again so well this season. My biggest distraction in 2016 was my workload; at home with young kids and my career job. God reminded me at the beginning of this year some truths you had shared in ROH radio program, that we do not need to create time for Bible memorization. In the midst of all the busyness, our minds are often free to memorize scriptures. I had to go back to ROH archives and listen to those series of programs, and oh, how refreshing !

    • Hi Catherine, So glad the ROH broadcast was helpful to you. We have to recharge every day and memorizing is such a great way to do that, especially the busier we are.

  • Angela Hogan

    Hi Janet, first of all, sorry about that Cowboys playoff game (Go Pack Go!)–haha, I can’t boast too much; I don’t think the Packers were even aware that they had a game to play last Sunday. But on to more important things…why don’t you try turning off your radio in the car when you first get it, then reciting your scriptures up to a goal point (through 2 chapters, whatever), and then turning on the radio as a type of “reward.” Likely, your mind will spend extra time thinking through spiritual truths that come up in the text and you’ll spend more time in scripture memory/meditation than you even intended!

    Secondly, I finally started a memorization facebook group called “Scripture Memory Encouragement and Help” and it’s going well. Would love to have you be a part of it even if you’re part of another good memory group online. I’m hoping to focus on helping people reach their own scripture memory goals, providing tips and tricks and linking to good resources, including your blog and your book. I want to keep it active and moving but that will require participation so we’ll see. I need to keep people motivated! So many ideas! Anyway, I’ll go but I hope you will focus on your memory work while you are in your car today or tomorrow and then reply to this comment to let me know if you did it!

    • Hi Angela, Since I posted my blog I’ve had some wonderful times in my car with the Lord and his Word. I think I just needed some accountability, and I got a lot of it. 100% success so far, and thank you for asking. Send us the info on the Facebook memory group and perhaps several from our blog will want to join.

  • Rebecca

    I think that accountability to a group is definitely the key to victory over distractions – seems like I try harder to stay focused when I know I’ll be reciting to friends in a few days. ALSO, to bump it up a notch, I started a Scripture memory group in our church. I asked the Lord for two other women (a three stranded cord is not easily broken) and by faith bought 2 extra copies of your book. Well, I have the two women, and they are SO enthusiastic that it’s getting me all excited again – just like the beginning for me.AND one of the women has bought books for each of her adult children to encourage them to start memorizing. I so love this journey. Thank you, Janet, and keep up the good work of not giving in to the distractions in your car. Rebecca

    • Wow Rebecca, So excited about your group. I love my group which has been meeting for about 6 or 7 years now. We have a retreat for our group coming up this weekend, our 4th retreat. I get to be the teacher. Such a huge encouragement to me, and everyone else, to see the growth in our group both numerically and spiritually. We meet once a month for one hour and truly it is the highlight of my month. Keep going and let me know if I can help in any way. I have done FACETIME with some groups and would love to be a part of what is doing in your group.