Don't Try To Stick Me In A Needle

"You're a beautiful distraction..." As soon as the words left my mouth, I could hear God speaking to my soul, "and it's over..."

Like so many times before, I was at a place of crossroads where life seemed more chaotic that ordered. I had felt God telling me to close one door of my career, but He hadn't opened another one. In fact, the door I was sure was opened by Him, ended up getting shut in my face and I was left completely at a loss as to what my future would look like. But, on the bright side, I had started seeing someone who, in my eyes, was completely beautiful and a lot of fun. So, I had a distraction from all the chaos and I didn't have to focus so much on my heart's questioning whether or not I could trust God leading me and if I had heard Him. And the distraction worked for a couple weeks, even though, all the while I knew it was just prolonging avoiding the vital conversations I needed to have with God. Then those words came out of my mouth and I knew I was going to have one distraction less. You see, we can only fool ourselves so long. Whether it's avoiding the debt caused by retail therapy, the rift in a relationship because of explosive temper, diving into countless novels that take us to far away lands, or an addiction to porn, distracting ourselves from what's really going on can only last so long. Sooner or later we must either face the truth head on, or find another distraction. When I put into words how I had been using the affection of a great guy to avoid the pain I felt as a result of being in a hard place in life, I knew there was no going back. So when I said I felt God say, "and it's over..." in no way was that cruel. In fact it was quiet the opposite. There is such beauty and safety in how God doesn't let us hide within the distraction that is so easily found. For me it took dropping my basket (mentally speaking) several years ago to stop distracting myself from the real issue. I had become an expert at moving from one thing, or place, to another as to avoid having to take a serious look at the real pain in my heart. I had also become an expert in distracting myself with work and justified it all because I was on the mission field or working in a church. But thankfully, the God of the universe loves me so deeply He showed me the beauty that comes from stopping, allowing Him to show me what I've been scared to look at, and then how He heals even the deepest wound of our hearts. Now I find myself craving the company of people who have experienced this truth; people who have a quietness about their soul that only comes from facing the ugly that has tried to lodged itself in their heart and inviting God to bring healing that can only come from intimate times with Him. Not to say that I, my friends, or anyone of us get this right 100% of the time, but I do think as this becomes a regular part of our lives, identifying when we are distracting ourselves becomes easier and a natural habit. Which leads me to the title of this little babble. After recognizing our own inclination to distract ourselves from the real issue, there is a beautiful and loving byproduct that occurs. We start to recognize when other people are using us as a distraction. A friend is going through a rough time with her family, and instead of dealing with it, we are invited into a whirlwind of busyness that leaves no time for introspection. Meeting the person who seems to have a completely different group of "close" friends every six months, then being asked to join that current circle sends off red flags that they are trying to stick you in a needle. They are trying to make you a distraction. You have become their new drug of choice. This is particularly easy to spot when it comes to the affairs of the heart: the beautiful distractions. And to be honest, in times of vulnerability and loneliness, it's very tempting to become someone's drug, at first at least. The attention and the fervor of it all is just plain fun. But as a follower of Christ, we can't, in love, allow anyone to use us as a crutch. There comes a beautiful point where not only do we not want to use someone else as a deterrent from dealing with our own pain, we, in love, refuse to let someone else use us as their distraction. Whether it's our oldest and dearest friend, spouse, parent, co-worker, or anyone else in our lives, once we recognize that someone is trying to stick us in a needle, the only loving response is to not let them. To instead bring them in prayer before The Creator of the Universe and ask for their eyes to be opened to see the real issue they are running from. To ask for wisdom in our part in how to love them without being a distraction and to pray that they find themselves in the beautiful place in the desert that Hosea describes so wonderfully. The place where we are stripped of all distractions and see nothing but the love of God. Where we experience the tangible love of God in a way that is breathtaking and the deepest desires of our souls are met with the safe and unfathomable love of our God. It is a precious gift from God when we no longer want to use other people to keep from looking inward at the real issue, and it is a beautiful and loving thing when we no longer allow someone else to stick us in a needle...

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