One of the biggest obstacles we have to getting through an entire exam in the time allotted time is distractions. As a kid, I would get distracted by the simplest of things: clock ticking, another student’s heavy breathing, anything. And oh my gosh, don’t let someone begin tapping or clicking their pen. It took time for me to mentally and emotionally recover from that before I could get back to my work! While noise was a huge distraction, it still wasn’t my biggest problem. I have been known to waste precious minutes with a daydream. (As a creative, my daydreams are very detailed!)
During a test, a daydream can be alluring because your brain may be seeking a break from the energy being expended to address the problems. So, that conversation with a crush, or you finally getting the ‘opportunity’ to tell off your nemesis and say the things you never get to say, is tempting. It’s the same with life. When I was recovering during a season of grief, I found myself desiring to read novels. I hadn’t picked up a novel in years. But I wanted to engage my brain in an escape the way that television couldn’t do for me. That was my brain’s way of seeking a diversion.
In the Bible, before David ever fought Goliath, he ran into a distraction. A recent reread of the David and Goliath passage held so much meaning for me in the area of focus. I hope these tips on distraction will help us maximize our time this year. In short, David’s father sent him to the battle area with rations for his brothers. As David approached with his delivery, he heard Goliath’s taunts against the children of Israel. In reply, he uttered one of my favorite scriptures,
For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?
(1 Samuel 17:26b)
When David attempted to encourage those who’d been hearing Goliath’s fear-laced rants for days on end, his brother became angry and verbally attacked him. Rather than allowing Eliab (his brother) to send him down a rabbit trail, in so many words, David asked, ‘What did I do to you?’ Then, he turned from him and addressed someone else.
Are you accustomed to welcoming in every distraction that knocks at the door of your day? Or of your destiny, particularly during a test? David did not allow even a familial disagreement to cause him to forfeit his next step. He had an appointment with the throne. His brother did not. But first, he had to pass the test.
Here are three ways David could’ve been derailed and potentially, so can you:
- David could have mistaken his brother for the real test. What did he do instead? He stayed focused and ignored his brother. Are you focused on who’s addressing you, or on who you’re becoming?
- David could have allowed feelings of pride or entitlement — feeling like he deserved to go toe to toe with Eliab — to override his appointment. Before you engage with someone who has come against you, be sure to discern if they have an appointment with you that day. If they don’t, keep going and deal with what’s actually on your agenda. Sticking to the plan may be the very thing that catapults you into your future. If you miss it, you may never know what you missed. Stay focused!
- David could’ve tried to change Eliab’s mind. It wasn’t David’s responsibility, nor is it yours, to change anyone’s mind about anything. Especially himself or his motives. If he had — and if you do — he may have consumed energy and time before ever reaching the ordained battle. Be honest. How many times have you done that?
We’ve all gotten caught up in the wrong fight a time or two. However, I hope these tips on avoiding distraction are helpful to make this year one where we have a singular focus and great victory!
To see the first installment of this series on David, click here.