Writing is easier in the company of a creative friend that understands a blank laptop screen, painful editing, and trying to find fresh angles to a topic. I regularly meet a friend at a local café. We chat a bit, work on our independent projects, and enjoy espresso living. Ah, the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee.
On one occasion, I was creating new material for an upcoming product when I was interrupted by a pop-up email. Typically, I ignore pop-ups, but curiosity said, give it a glance.
It was a speaking invitation from a local National Speakers Association (NSA) in Las Vegas. Okay, now I was totally distracted. Should I say, yes or no?
The Better Question
My friend is a professional speaker and coach. I leaned over the table and asked, “Jamey, how do you know when a speaking invitation is an opportunity or a dead end?”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Well, I received a speaking invitation to share social media tips. I’m comfortable teaching the subject, but it’s not an opportunity to share my faith.”
“Oh, you mean is the invitation a door, direction, or distraction?”
“Exactly!” I replied.
After a short pause, he said, “That’s a tough one.”
Although it wasn’t the answer I was expecting, the question, “…is it a door, direction, or a distraction,” was a better question than resolving to say, yes or no.
Jamey’s question led me to make a decision about the invitation, as well as, answer other unresolved questions.
I attend conferences each year to learn more about business and develop new skills. I always wear flat shoes because you can rack up miles walking through the hotel hallways on your way to the meeting room.
Without a doubt, I pass many doors. Some are open, some closed. Some are narrow, some wide. Some are glass or solid wood. They lead to a destination, but not my destination.
I ignore every door because the hotel concierge gave me a map. I know exactly where I’m going.
As Christians, we’ll pass many doors throughout our life’s journey. To choose the right door, we need to know our destination. Although that’s often a process to discern, we have a map to make our journey easier—the Bible.
When we study the map, God’s Word, it will light our path, make our motives pure, and make our destination clear. It’s that powerful.
To hear God’s quiet direction, I need moments of quiet reflection. Prayer and scripture meditation quiets my soul. It helps me hear God’s supernatural guidance through His Holy Spirit.
When we intentionally quiet distracting clamor, our body, soul, and spirit find rest and harmony.
When people surround us, a secluded corner, patio, or even a bathroom (no kidding) can offer a 5-minute reprieve from the external and internal hoo-ha. That’s when we begin to find direction.
Everything can become a distraction. That’s why it’s important to be aware of our outside distractions and our internal mental distractions.
Can I be totally honest? My biggest distraction is “Me!.” I allowed my mental noise to obscure the voice of the Holy Spirit. I’ve got to watch those self-focused distractions.
Three Self-focused Distractions that Can Frustrate Clear Decisions
1. Our Plans
Self-focused people can become distracted.
2. Our Time Frame
Impatient people can become distracted.
3. Our Resourcefulness
Self-reliant people can become distracted.
The Messiah’s Destination and Direction
When Jesus walked the earth, he knew His destination, yet He sought guidance from God the Father. He embraced solitude and prayer.
When Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11) to take a different direction, He used God’s Word (Scripture) and reflection (prayer and fasting) to guide His journey and complete His assignment. He was able to silence the noise (the devil).
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners…
Isaiah 61:1 New American Standard Bible
What’s your assignment? Is it an existing assignment or new one?
I chose to speak at the NSA meeting. As a result, I met the keynote speaker. Unbeknown to me, he was a brother-in-the-Lord. We later talked on the phone, and I shared my passion for sharing “God-size Living.” He generously provided insights and guidance. God’s direction helped me get closer to my destination.
And we know that God causes all things
to work together for good
to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 NASB
Fear can prevent us from making a decision. Trust the Holy Spirit’s direction. Sometimes, we may feel off course, but the Holy Spirit offers a perfect map. It’s a course intended to do more than reach a destination. It’s a course that will mature us, bless those around us, and cultivate a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will light our path, make our motives pure, and make our destination clear.
Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., Jr., & Waltke, B. K. (Eds.). (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.). Chicago: Moody Press.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
Thanks to my cafe buddy, Jamey French. You ask great questions.