Monday, June 29, 2015


OK, I had a really hard time getting to church this week.

The alarm went off – (about ½ an hour before I had to get up – not a morning person!) – and I started to wrestle with myself.

Inner dialogue:

"The Hub" isn't going this week, so it's all right if I stay home, too."

"I went to Bible Study on Tuesday."

"I have to drive down to see my mom tomorrow, and I don't want to start out tired."

"I have a headache, more sleep would help."

"God will understand."

Maybe it was that last argument that convinced me to get up and get dressed and get going.

Once there, I decided to do something different this week.

I sat in the second row with a friend of mine from Bible Study!

She said she liked to sit up there because it kept her from being distracted by other people and other things happening around her.  Sounded like a good reason to me.

So yes, I broke out of my little mold, and ventured to the front of the sanctuary!  

Settled in, I was READY for church.

We begin our service with announcements, and then we have a time of singing.

OK, so now I discover some of the reasons why I do not sit in the front. For one thing, the music is really loud.  Which was distracting.  And then, I started to *inspect* the worship team.

New inner dialogue:

"I really like his boots.  Black, clunky.  I wish they made something like that for women."

"Wonder whose kid that is on guitar?"

"How loud are the drums behind that plexiglass?"

"I think I can see through her skirt.  Wait, no, just a trick of the light."

"The communion table looks handmade.  Wonder who did that…"


Back to concentrating on the songs.

"I wonder if people are looking at my back.  Do they think I'm fat?"

Back to music.

"Huh, I never noticed those speakers at the bottom of the platform. Or are those heat registers?"

Music, Sharon.

So, you get the picture.  My mind was wandering, rambling.  Roaming around like a hapless hobo stuck on the Trivia Train.  

Then it came time for the sermon.

Determined to stop this crazy meandering, I pulled out my Bible, opened my notebook, put on my reading glasses, clicked my ballpoint pen, and got into my *pious listener posture.*

And then it happened…

A stupid eye twitch in my left eyebrow.

You know what I'm talking about.  Those annoying little tics that wiggle of their own accord.  Sorta like face hiccups.  So, I tried to rub it – no good.  I tried to wiggle my eyebrow up and down – nope.  I even gave it a few little punches – absolutely no good.

Twitching continued.

Now, I might just insert here a moment of praise.  I was thankful that it was my eyebrow, and not my eyelid, that was doing the twitching.  Could you imagine if every time the pastor said something wonderful, I winked at him???

"Amen, Pastor!  (Wink, wink…)"

I looked up this ridiculous phenomenon.

"Although the cause is generally unknown, it may be associated with:

Fatigue, Stress, Caffeine."

(Which is totally weird, as I wasn't tired (HA), stressed (puh-leeze), or jacked up on caffeine, (*chai tea latte – 4 out of 5 on the caffeine scale*).

"This minor form of twitch is painless and harmless.  It usually goes away on its own.  But it can be quite annoying."  

(Which is perhaps the understatement of the week).

Let me say, the sermon was powerful, captivating, and encouraging.

And I managed to take notes and let it all sink in – despite my twitching.

But when I got home, I started to ponder a bit.

I remember reading "The Screwtape Letters," by C. S. Lewis.  Basically, the book is a series of letters written by a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter.  After the second letter, the Patient (of Wormwood) converts to Christianity, and Wormwood is chastised for allowing this.

However, Screwtape assures Wormwood that all is not lost.

Though the Patient is lost to them for eternity, they can still render him ineffective.  They can still use him in their battle against the Enemy.

(Interestingly enough, The Enemy of the enemy of our souls is our Friend, God!)

I particularly remember one scene when the Patient is in church, and Screwtape advises Wormwood to keep him distracted.

Yes, the battle against distractions.

C. S. Lewis once said, "Pain insists upon being attended to.  God…shouts in our pains.  It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." ("The Problem of Pain")

So I wonder…

Does the devil whisper in distraction?

Does he tap our shoulders lightly through irritation and aggravation?

Does he nudge us from behind over countless frustrations and interruptions?

Most of us will recognize a full-frontal assault.  We know when the devil has unleashed a nuclear bomb attackillness, death, financial setbacks, etc.

But, it seems to me that he is just as content to use a peashooter.

The incessant onslaught of the countless little distractions that, well, distract us.  It is a very effective weapon.

Screwtape encourages Wormwood to attack his patient's peevishness.  To keep him getting easily irritated by unimportant and insignificant things – the sort of things that can slowly undermine endurance, purpose, and faith.

"Indeed, the safest road [is]…the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." ("The Screwtape Letters")

Like the steady drip of a leaky faucet – this strategy can be very effective.

Especially when we are thinking about the Lord – during church or Bible Study, while reading the Bible, while praying…

"When this, or any other distraction, crosses his mind you ought to encourage him to thrust it away by sheer will power and to try to if nothing had happened; once he accepts the distraction as his present problem and lays that before the Enemy and makes it the main theme of his prayers and his endeavours, then, so far from doing good, you have done harm." ("The Screwtape Letters") 

For yes, indeed, a small rivulet can one day become the torrent that carves a canyon.

And small distractions can subtly lead us away from what matters most  until we find ourselves far, far away.

If we ever kept track of our daily distractions – (don't, it's too distracting!) – but if we did, we'd find that our minds are flitting all over the place most of the time.

And therein is the trap.

What is the devil trying to accomplish by keeping us irritated with interruptions and intrusions on *our* time?

How does he use what Screwtape called "the pressures of the ordinary" to keep us away from the influence of God?

How can the *familiar* breed contempt in our hearts, and the *mundane* blind us to the miraculous?

In what ways are we susceptible to diabolical influence by the use of "the sort of minor but menacing distractions that can slowly undermine the patient's faith"?

These are good things to ponder.

For indeed, the Christian life is full of distractions.  We are often beset by the ordinary moments of being human, blinded by the drudgery of the here-and-now, and burdened with the menial and mundane. 

It all serves to render us ineffective.

Discouraged and defeated.

Saved for eternity, but perhaps no earthly good.

Brothers and sisters, we cannot become complacent in this battle.

For the journey of faith is one of FOCUS.

Intentional, prayerful, Holy-Spirit-enabled determination to live our lives to the glory of God.

Sure, the Narrow Way is sometimes impeded by boulders – but more often than not, it's just littered with pebbles.

And stubbed toes can waylay us just as easily as a broken leg.

Maybe even more effectively – for a "major injury" can sideline us, force us to stop and take stock of what we're doing (or not doing).  Minor "injuries" can sidetrack us.

And we must not be deterred.

For we are called to be actively and single-mindedly focused on Kingdom purposes.

We are called to do battle, waging war against an enemy who has already been conquered, fighting side-by-side with a Savior who has already won our victory.

We must always remember that our minds, our thoughts are a battleground.

We must be canny to the weapon of distraction, and how mightily (and insidiously) this weapon is used against us.

And we must remember that the devil will do anything and everythingbig and smallto keep our eyes off of Jesus.

We must be alert and aware.

Do you know that my twitching eye is gone now?  It probably stopped as soon as I walked out of church.  A distraction no longer needed.

But trust me, there will be more.

More today, and more every day until we go home.

For we belong to "The Enemy"– (as Screwtape calls God) – of the enemy of our souls.

And he is not happy about that.

To which I say...


Dear Wormwood and Screwtape,

We are aware of your efforts on behalf of your Father Below.  We know that he is a subtle enemy, more often than not preferring an understated attack than a full-frontal assault.  We know that you work tirelessly to distract us from our focus on your Enemy, our Lord.  And we know that we are powerless to fight against you alone.  But, we know what you're up to – we're onto your schemes.  And, praise God, by His wisdom we will not be fooled, and by His strength we will overcome.

By the way, you're already defeated.  Tell that to your leader.  

Remind him of the Cross.

Never yours…truly,
A believer

Don't mind me.

Not winking,
just twitching.

(Wink, wink...) 

"So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let's turn our attention to Jesus, the Emissary of God and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess..." (Hebrews 3:1, VOICE)

"Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed..." (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

"Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]." (Hebrews 12:1-2, AMP)

"I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven." 
(Psalm 123:1, NIV))

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord.  With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8, NIV)

"But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge...Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me." (Psalm 141:8-9, NIV)

"You have said, 'Seek my face.'  My heart says to you, 'Your face, LORD, do I seek.'" (Psalm 27:8, ESV)

What *distractions* is the enemy using in your life to avert you from following Jesus?

Linked with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. WOW Sharon ... I was here earlier, read this and was amazed! (then I had this *twitchin* grrr) ... not exactly, however I did not have an answer to your question:
    What *distractions* is the enemy using in your life to avert you from following Jesus? {could it be - ever so many distractions that I do do what you advised us not to do}

    Anyways, your C.S. Lewis "Screwtape" revision and letter were absolutely fabulous!!!

    However, this is the most profound part for me (starting with this: "What is the devil trying to accomplish by keeping us irritated with interruptions and intrusions on *our* time?" ... and the following 3 so I went away pondering these ... especially this first one. Daily distractions ... a trap. Yep. Couldn't agree more with all those tiny "pebbles" because it's easy to see those "boulders".

    What an excellent reminder in so many ways and insight points you give us! Not sure if I can say "thank you" (grrr) but you are so right. So many distractions and substitutes for simple faith. Looks like the battle is raging more and more each day. Both lions are on active duty. But I am thankful that the Lion of Judah has already won and defeated the one that prowls to destroy. It's just so hard much of the time to keep our eyes FOCUSed on eternity when there are so many atrocities and distractions in our world and our personal struggles in our lives. The enemy is defeated anyhow ... hallelujah! So I will remind him as you have ... "you made taunt us with our past and distract us with these "pebbles" but my eyes are focused on The Rock and I'll glad remind you, devil of your future!"

    Many blessings,
    (I had to go back to my post and link to here today because it's like you knew, but we know: JESUS KNOWS or God already did)

    1. Oh, I just had to add, I am a definite front row attendee (or the sidelines)! I do hope you take care of your "twitch" (itch of caffeine, fatigue, and stress)
      Be richly blessed and not so stressed my dear Sharon, with love and prayers ... me again.

    2. oh and typo correction near end *made should read *may in my own quote ... with *gladly also not just glad (I told you it was early for me)

  2. Oh, my word! I could just picture you sitting there, had your eyelid been doing the twitching, and "winking" at the pastor continually!!!!!! You gave me a huge chuckle and SO much encouragement as always. I have never read that book...but, boy did C. S. hit the nail on the head! I have never thought of it this way, but it is usually those small distractions that satan uses to vex our spirits and upset our nerves. Oh, my, I can see this so clearly now, after reading your post. So, this is another way that we are now no longer "ignorant of his devices" and now that we know, we can be on the lookout for the subtlety with which he torments our lives. I am praying for you, sweet friend, and trusting you are feeling well. God be with you. Love and appreciate you so much!

  3. Your posts always delight, make me chuckle, then pack a punch! Loving this, from a pastor's wife who always sits on the front row. ;)

  4. Another great one, Sharon! I am glad you got up and made it to church :) I was side lined yesterday; van wouldn't start and hubby was already at church on the worship team. Didn't want to have him come and get me because I figured that was the one time something would happen to his car, LOL, flat tire, accident, whatever and they needed him playing. I watched the service online and took great notes :) It was not as distracting as I thought either being at home as compared to being at church. What distracts me at church is people walking in late or talking.....

    But back to what you wrote, so true about the distractions the enemy will use in an attempt to keep our eyes and hearts and minds off of Jesus. Even sometimes distractions that we think are furthering God's kingdom, like serving more and then taking away time from spending in the word, etc. can be distractions if we aren't careful. We do have to remember, as you so eloquently put it, that the enemy has been defeated; we just need to make sure we don't get defeated by him.


  5. Sharon- this is so good and sooo true I was chuckling and relating the whole time. I sit on the front row because, I often have responsibilities on the stage, how I also do it so I won't get distracted by others, but I can still get distracted by what is happening on the stage.

    I have been aware of the enemies distractions lately and it frustrates me when I know it and still find myself buying into the distractions.... grrrr.... :) I found your post over at Monday Musings

  6. Excellent post, Sharon! Satan will do anything he can to distract us from prayer, worship, and God's Word. It's like death from a thousand paper cuts. Linked up with you at Playdates with God -- hope you'll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit!
    God bless,

  7. Yes! We must be alert and aware. Very much so. Thanks for this reminder, neighbor! Blessings upon blessings!

  8. Hi Sharon! "Sort of like face-hiccups"? I LOVE that analogy!
    Your wandering thoughts are not news to me, I am guilty of the same things. Love me some CS Lewis though. I really enjoyed reading the quotes you had here.
    I always think that if I take those distractions too seriously, I have bought into a world of trouble. The ideas that float by are usually not the problem. The problem is my participation in them.

    Here's to ignoring back-fat and getting on with the service!!
    Monday blessings,

  9. The Screwtape Letters is very appropriate to the distractions you felt in church, even the eyebrow twitching. That is an excellent book. And God is the enemy of our enemy, thank goodness we have an all powerful ally.

  10. Oh Sharon, you had me in stiches laughing so hard. I could visualize you on that close up front row and the distractions. I too am glad it was not your eye lid twitching, as a wink would have been outright outrageous. I sit on the second row, cause I take notes and post Pastor's sermon Sunday evening. Also I can hear better up close. Sunday I noticed a girl and invited her to return, then I realized sitting up front, I don't see people in back, and she was not new after all. I suppose that could be a distraction, and I must see how I can correct that. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post with us here at Tell me a True Story. - Loved it !!

  11. You've hit on such a powerful message, Sharon - it is so often those "little distractions" that pull us away from our focus on the Lord. We must be mindful! Thanks for your humorous, and accurate, take on this continual problem in our lives. Oh, and now you have me wanting to read The Screwtape Letters all over again!

  12. Sharon, for two days in a row I've been led to your blog. Today from Finding rest linkup. God must want me to get a handle on this distraction thing! Thanks again. I can really relate to the struggle between the desire to pay attention to the things of God and the distraction to trivial things.

  13. I like that ending prayer. It really sums it up for me! The enemy never quits and truly does like to make us ineffective if he can't determine our destiny. Thank you so much for these reminders and the reminder that we have the victory and need to fight distractions. It's strange how powerful we are when we all come together in our church services; no wonder the enemy of our souls hits us with so many distractions. Amazing that we can hear the Lord speak to us at all!!!!

  14. Hiya Again today Sharon - I commented yesterday an now again today since you are my neighbor over at RaRa Linkup & Tell it to me Tuesday. We must be posting at the same time each day :) So Howdy neighbor! Reread your post again today and still just as powerful and thought provoking as yesterday! Thanks and Blessings to you

  15. Been there, done that.. so associate with this!!!! Hopefully, it means Ive done something right!

  16. Hello Sharon,
    This is the first time that I've visited your blog and I just had to stop and tell you that this will not be the last you see of me visiting here! Thank you so much...your writing reminds me so much of two dear Sisters in Christ...neither of whom are bloggers...but all three of you have that gift of holding one close with words as the Holy Spirit works in lives! God bless you, Sharon.

  17. Sharon, awesome perspective and I love the reference to Hebrews 12:1 :-)

  18. Oh, I love The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis really was perceptive, wasn't he? And he knew how to be memorable. I've had my twitchy moments in church too and next time, I"ll think of Screwtape!

  19. We've been reading the Screwtape Letters and much insight! Thanks for sharing this at #RaRaLinkup today. I'm glad you made it to church! :)

  20. Distractions are so easy to come by...I stayed home from church this past week, only two hour sleep...yet I did not sleep while my husband was gone to church. STayed awake the whole day, should have went to church...wonder if I will ever get it right every time. Thoughtful post Sharon...

  21. Great post filled with so many valid truths. I absolutely know this is how the devil gets to me. I am your neighbor on #TellHisStory! I love your words and I would love for you to be a part of the #RaRalinkup on Tuesdays.

  22. Great post - and I love the way you wove "The Letters" into it - I certainly get distracted, especially in the morning. Right now it is yard work to got my ear, Sharon! #28 at Three Word Wednesday today.

  23. Clever analogy! It is truly fascinating how the gift of our senses, a miracle from God, can be used against so easily in this fallen flesh. It takes true diligence and "drawing nigh unto Him" for us to rise above this faulty soul cage. Thanks for the reminder to be on guard.

  24. I love every bit of this post!

  25. I love how even when we're distracted, God can still manage to speak truth into our life. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  26. I sit in the back because on less distracted where I can see what's going on around me then when I can't see and start wondering. Even then sometimes I struggle to focus but I know that's exactly what Satan wants so I keep going.

  27. Sharon, I love that you got "GRRR" into the title of your post. Ha! -- I am highly distracted in almost every setting, and my mind races at 100 mles a minute, so this post really resonated with me. I mean, I know I am supposed to take every thought captive, but that is a HUGE amount of thoughts. :) -- I am so thankful that God gives us grace, and that we don't have to do this on our own. He is renewing my mind -- as I read His Word, and even as I read this post! Thanks for always nudging us closer to Him. I think you are awesome. xo

  28. Wonderful post!! I have learned that "leaning on Providence" can get me through most days and that's a comfort!

  29. Popping in from the Hearts for Home link-up! Thanks for sharing pieces of your life with us! - Esther

  30. "...irritated by unimportant and insignificant things – the sort of things that can slowly undermine endurance, purpose, and faith." oh, my did I need to read this post today, Sharon! Undermine endurance, um, yup that's were I am this week, feeling weak, tired, done with it! Thank you for reminding me that these things are the subtle attacks of the devil. So thankful we don't have to stand up to him on our own! We have a mighty God Who does that for us, we only have to recognize the need and ask. {wink, wink} BTW - that's one of my favorite books, I think it's time for a re-read!

  31. What a great post, Sharon!

    Those twitches and distractions can drive us crazy! I like this link from your post, "And we must remember that the devil will do anything and everything – big and small – to keep our eyes off of Jesus."

    My distractions usually come in the form of a couple of challenging relationships. Thanks for the reminder that Satan may be using these to push me off course and to tempt me to take my eyes off of Jesus.

    Came over on the Faith and Fellowship link today.

  32. Hi Sharon! Well, I might have actually written this post--if you hadn't. The bit about distractions during the music service is so on the mark. That's why I don't sit near the front. Always in the back. TOOOO LOUD! I don't know why it continues since most people complain about how loud and distracting it is--especially enthusiastic drumming. But, I would forego the singing for digging into the Word everytime. On the edge of my seat. Listening. God is speaking. YES! I think of these devious strategies of the enemy daily now--seeing them regularly. And, the attacks aren't even cleverly cloaked anymore. God help us. For me, I'm sticking to His Word. Praying to be arrested by His Spirit every time.

    I'll be emailing you with a request soon. Be in touch!


  33. Oh, you hit the nail on the head with this one, my friend...satan will use ANYTHING...ANYTHING he can to distract us from hearing God's word, I am totlally convinced of that! I even think he will use a crying baby, people coughing loudly and many other things. I normally do sit near the front and since I am part of the worship team, I am now wondering if people can see through my! I do prefer to sit close to the front for the very reason of too many distractions in the see everyone whispering, writing notes to each other, texting, etc., etc. Anywhere God's truth is spoken, we can be assured that satan will be right there with one distraction or another. Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, I get that little "twitch" every now and then and it nearly drives me insane! I have always pictured a little man with a jack hammer drilling into my eyelid when this happens. Well, now I will be imagining that little man with horns, wearing red pj's, and jabbing me with his pitch fork instead of the jack hammer! Thanks, alot! LOL! Happy July 4th, my sweet friend...come on over any time and sit on the front porch that I don't have (yet) and I"ll fix you some fried green tomatoes!!

  34. this was too funny and great. Loved the read and message. Stay focused and never read the Lewis's book but now you got me interested. Happy Weekend Sharon. .

  35. POWERFUL I think I too have assumed that pious listener position...

    Then you rattle my cage...

    THANKS! And thank you for sharing on DanceWithJesus. Susan

  36. I can be the most distracted person in crowds because I notice everything and am always hosting an inner dialogue with myself. Note taking has been a life saver in that area.

  37. Praise the Lord, I'M BACK. I have so missed you here!

    And this totally cracks me up-- and convicts me. I am usually pretty good at getting to church, even when hubs isn't here (which, with his Army stuff, is often)

    But I do battle distraction. And yesterday, I was really contemplating if I should go to church (kid was a little cough-ish... not a bug, just dry throat... but what an excuse)

    We went anyways and I am so glad I did. Recharged my heart for another potentially hard week of ministry. Praise God he always wins!

  38. Your dialogue when you woke up is one I do every Sunday. I feel a tad guilty admitting that.

    I go to church with my girls. My husband isn't a believer. All week I'm alone with them but on Sunday, I have to get them ready to go to church and sometimes I wish I could just go by myself but I can't because they love it so much and would be devastated to see me go without them. Plus they need Christ in their lives.

    So then I contemplate not going at all but I need to do this weekly. Without my dates with Christ, I'm less likely to converse with Him as much during the week.

    Anyway, this was refreshing and reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who encounters these stumbling blocks and distractions.

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  39. "What is the devil trying to accomplish by keeping us irritated with interruptions and intrusions on *our* time?"

    WOW - this spoke to me.deeply! Thank you for a renewed focus and for sharing with us at Waiting on...Wednesday! I look forward to your post tomorrow!

    Holly @

  40. Very interesting distractions and thoughts from sitting up close in church. So you will be going to the back again?


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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