Back to Jesus
It was an all-out fight to focus during my quiet time. Thoughts flooded my mind—worries, fears, questions, unresolved ideas, pressing tasks. I couldn’t read the words before me in my Bible. Time flew by like a rocket. I spent the time trying to wrangle my attention while counting down the minutes to when my boys would be up and my time of “quiet” would be over.
In an act of defeat and surrender, I scribbled every thought on my mind in my Give Me Jesus Journal. I forced the wild thoughts into submission by writing them down. As I put pen to paper and recorded the string of thoughts, something unexpected happened.
I read through the sentences and realized that every thought, in some way or another, pointed like a neon arrow back to Jesus. My thoughts were a detour right back to the starting place. It was a place I thought I couldn’t get to that morning, one of peace and understanding in the Word and presence of God.
Every Distraction a Detour
These thoughts, while seeming at first glance to be distractions, were actually detours pointing me back to my Savior. Time spent wrestling before reading my Bible wasn’t actually a waste; it was a way back to Him.
Those disappointments of yesterday reminded me to let go of the past and hold tightly to Jesus.
The grief over a recent loss pointed me to put my hope in heaven and redemption.
This sin I was struggling with urged me toward confession, repentance, and restoration in Him.
The unfulfilled longings of my heart showed me there is a hole in my soul only Jesus can fill.
I was wrestling with things that, when laid bare before my eyes, were all pointing me to back to the sufficiency of my Savior and the wonder of the Way-Maker. Every distraction was actually a detour on the journey of life right back to God. This was the best news my wandering heart could recognize! Instead of living in defeat when thoughts bombard my mind as I am reading the Word, I can draw near to God in the midst of them. I can be confident that anything pointing to my need for Him is actually a gift of grace.
Jesus is Before ALL Things
In Colossians 1:17, the apostle Paul writes this truth about Christ: “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Christ is not before some things, He is before ALL things. When distracted thoughts course through your mind, trying to derail your faith, or hinder your attention, force them back into submission. See how Jesus can be found in them. Even awareness of your need, brokenness, heartache, worries, and fears points you back to Christ who is before all things and holds all things together.
When a worrisome thought comes, let it remind you to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Take a moment to surrender, and to trust Him in everything (Matthew 6:33–34). If a fearful thought comes, let it bring to mind the unfailing hope of Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
When a jealous thought comes, let it redirect you back to the contentment that can only be found in Jesus. If a painful thought comes, let it point you to the One who endured immense pain on the cross. Remember He conquered the power of sin and death through the resurrection. In everything, look confidently for the detour pointing right back to God.
Jesus is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. When the wrestling match in your mind feels all too intense, lay it all out before the One who has already fought the battle and won. Through Him you’ll find victory. In Him you’ll find strength. With Him you’ll find your way right back to the starting place, the throne of grace.
You’ll Win This Match Through Christ
The wrestling match for your thoughts will be a lifelong one since we live in a fallen world in which Satan still operates (2 Corinthians 4:4). You’ll still have wayward thoughts and times when it is hard to concentrate on your Bible. But the defeat you feel in these moments doesn’t have to define your day. Jesus is mightier and able to rescue you from the dead-end of defeat! He does so by creating detours on this life journey that always lead back to Him.
Knowing Christ brings understanding to the struggles you face, both inward and external. It brings hope on the days when you can’t seem to read the Word and instead need to pour out your heart to Him before doing anything else. In the pouring out and looking to Jesus, you’ll be filled and satisfied.
If you’re like me and you struggle to wrestle your thoughts into submission, try writing them down. Then look at them through the eyes of Scripture. Ask God to redirect your attention back to Christ and the cross where He conquered sin. Instead of drowning in a torrent of thoughts that flood your mind, bring the “flood” to the Lord, asking Him for help harnessing the waters. You’ll be surprised what happens when you write down the distractions in surrender and see how they are actually detours back to Christ, the One who holds life together in the first place.
Every distraction, by His grace, can actually be a detour right back to Jesus. Don’t get discouraged when distractions arise the moment you sit down to open your Bible. Instead, let them redirect your attention back to Christ, knowing that this wrestling match was already won on the cross, and Jesus is greater than any wayward thought.