jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘distractions’

Dialogging Distractions

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2010 at 8:10 am

Wife: Who is Onofrio?

Me: It’s pronounced On-of,never mind…are you on Facebook?

Wife: Yes

Me: I thought you were doing your coupons

Wife: I will

Me: I thought you wanted to get them done before you went to bed

Wife: I do, but I’m on Facebook right now

Me: You’re being distracted. I’ve been talking about distractions for weeks, haven’t you been reading my blog??

Wife: No

Me: Great, my own wife doesn’t even read my blog, why not?

Wife: I can’t read it, it’s a distraction

Advertisements

Questioning Distractions

In Uncategorized on March 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

Three questions to consider when something unexpected happens (distraction) while you are diligently working away:

  1. Is this immoral? (Nehemiah 6:12)
  2. Will this move me in the opposite direction of my goal? (Nehemiah 2:20)
  3. Will this hinder someone else from accomplishing their desire? (Nehemiah 5:9)

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions then I suggest putting the word “no” to good use.

See the Nehemiah series on distractions for more information.

Nehemiah: Distractions, Part 4

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2010 at 7:37 am

Final post on how Nehemiah dealt with distractions.

Nehemiah 6 describes a similar distraction that was shown in chapter 2, the verbal kind. Nehemiah’s enemies attempted to pull him away from his work by dragging him into endless political discussions. They repeatedly sent him messages asking him to meet with them. Each time Nehemiah basically ignores them. He tells them he has no time to meet and talk. He has a goal (get the wall built) and he can’t stop and deliberate.

Discernment

The last attempt to get Nehemiah away from his project (if you distract the leader you distract everyone else) was different. One of his own people told him that his life is in danger and that he should go into the inner part of the temple sanctuary and hide. Nehemiah took this one seriously because of the source. As he thought about it he came to see that it too was a distraction. This time he had to be discerning in his thinking.

He found an error in the request that exposed the message for what it really was. Nehemiah was not a priest and only the priests were allowed to enter into the inner part of the temple. If this message had been from God as a warning then he knew that God would not ask him to sin by doing something against God’s Law. Nehemiah did not allow the fear for his life to overshadow his good judgement in knowing right and wrong.

A moral distraction is probably a little more rare for us. We aren’t tempted daily to break the law while remodeling a bathroom or completing a report for your boss. Unfortunately this makes us less aware of the danger when it does come up because we get blindsided quickly. Are you prepared for this kind of distraction when it knocks at your door just before quitting-time Friday afternoon?

Nehemiah: Distractions, Part 3

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2010 at 8:03 am

There are two more discussions on distractions that Nehemiah faced. Both distractions we have already looked at were external to the project. Now Nehemiah was facing a distraction caused by those on his own team. Morale was being threatened because the workers and their families were starving, losing their homes and their land, and being sold into slavery, all by their own people! This was indirectly affecting his work towards the goal (get the wall built) so Nehemiah confronted it.

Confrontation

It is going to happen at some point in your project. Someone is going to need to be confronted for something he is or isn’t doing. Letting it pass by will only cause bigger problems in the end. When Nehemiah learned of the unjust way the rich were treating the poor he didn’t hold back anything, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?” The people admitted to the wrong they were doing and pledged to stop it and make amends.

Nehemiah did not have to convince people, there was no argument. Sometimes confrontation just needs to happen. The issue on everyone’s minds just needs to be aired and immediately the mood changes. Sometimes it just takes a few words, rightly spoken, to make folks realize they need to change what they are doing.

What I also love about this story is that no one could accuse Nehemiah of acting in a similar way. In verses 5:14-19 it describes Nehemiah’s lifestyle while he was governor. He refused to take the governor’s food allowance, which was considerably large. He refused the free land offered to him but made his household work for their food. Best of all, he cut taxes. Confrontation goes a long way when the confronter isn’t a hypocrite.

Can you think of any areas where you are shrinking back from confrontation at the expense of your goals?

Nehemiah: Distractions, Part 2

In Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Most distractions can be ignored (see part 1); others must be dealt with.

Know When To Fight

The first distraction was simply verbal so Nehemiah reaffirmed and restated his goal (get the wall built) and moved on. The second directly threatened the goal. An army was assembled to fight against the workers. This one had to be dealt with or else work would have stopped.

Nehemiah did not change his goal though, he did not direct all of his energy towards fighting off an army. He kept the work going but reduced the load. The workers carried less so that they could carry a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other. By the way, this is where C. H. Spurgeon got the idea for his publication. Nehemiah also set up guards to keep watch, this took the pressure off the workers and also let the opposition know he was well defended. Finally, trumpeters were placed at each work location so that if they were attacked they could call for help.

There is something in common with all three of Nehemiah’s defenses: they focus on the work and not the problem. The workers were given weapons so they could fight if necessary but they didn’t have to concern themselves with it, they could focus on their job. Guards were set up so that the workers weren’t worried all the time about a surprise attack. Communication was put in place so that everyone would know that they were supported and not left on their own.

You can count on distractions coming up in your projects. Knowing which ones will keep you from completing your goal and which ones won’t is a very good skill to have. To really refine that skill you need to add the ability to deal with true distractions in a way that keeps the emphasis on the goal and the people working towards that goal.

Nehemiah: Distractions, Part 1

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2010 at 6:55 am

Nehemiah encounters four different distractions as he works towards his goal: get the wall built.

Dealing With Criticism

Nehemiah goes public with his plan and gets the people and supplies he needs to make it happen. Immediately Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem (STG) speak up and criticize the plan. Nehemiah’s response is simple and only involves two steps:

  1. Restate the plan
  2. Ignore the criticism

Nehemiah could do this because he discerned that he didn’t need STG on his team and that their criticism was only verbal and carried no weight.

People tend to lose heart when they hear criticism so you want to be sure to restate your plan in a positive light. Nehemiah simply said God is with us and we will build this wall and then got back to work.

Most distractions can be ignored. Look at your goal and determine if the distraction will keep you from reaching your mark. If it doesn’t, ignore it. Completely. We’ll see a case where Nehemiah couldn’t ignore a distraction soon enough.

It is helpful to label most things that come up as distractions. This keeps your goal and any necessary actions required to make that goal in proper focus. If you are building a wall and you run out of wood, that’s a problem. If you are building a wall and some outsiders tell you it can’t be done, that’s a distraction. Do you see the difference? One stops you from finishing, the other causes you to forget what you are working on.