One of my favorite phrases I came across a few years ago was: “Life happens when we are busy making plans.” So… Let’s be honest, sometimes when we are in the midst of planning, the events of life happen. A love one dies, a spouse loses a job or perhaps a car wreck. In the midst of that event, we have two ways to look at that unexpected circumstance; through the lens of love or the lens of fear. If we chose to look through fear and fall victim to the circumstance, we allow that circumstance to take root in our hearts. When this circumstance takes root, our heart is vulnerable to becoming unguarded, hardened and ultimately deceived.
What is the value in guarding your heart? Proverbs 4:23AMP reminds us “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flows the springs of life.” A guarded heart rooted in love full of hope produces life, full of peace. Therefore an unguarded heart rooted in the circumstances of life springs a life full of fear and deception.
How does one’s heart become deceived? How do we become bitter, resentful or offended? How do we let our guard down and allow ourselves to live a life deceived full of no hope and victim to our life’s circumstances? I believe it is the process of the 4Ds: distraction, discontentment, discouragement and deception. The 4Ds are the foundation for our hearts to become unguarded, hardened and full of fear.
A few months ago, the family and I went to Walt Disney World. One of our favorite parks is The Hollywood Studios having several of the exhibits in 3D and 4D. If you have ever experienced 3D, you know that you have to put on the special 3D glasses. With the glasses on , you visually experience the picture come alive right before your eyes. Objects are flying at you; you feel as though you are there in the midst of the action.
4D is the next level! You not only have the 3D glasses on but there are, what I call, “little experiences” within the show or exhibit that makes it feel even more realistic. In some of the shows, you would feel fuzzy thinks run under your chair or around your shoulders. If there was an earthquake, you would experience that earthquake with your chair shaking violently. If a monster was sneezing, you would see it in 3D and have water spayed on you simultaneously. Very real! The impact of 4D is heart pounding and memorable. Before the exhibit is over, you are caught up in something that is not real but completely feels and looks real.
The 4D exhibits at Walt Disney World created lifelong memories and similar to the 4Ds of the unguarded heart. The 4Ds or the 4 key contributors to created a heart full of fear completely unguarded are distraction, discontentment, discouragement and deception. If left unchecked, these 4Ds can lead to an unguarded, hardened heart feeling real, memorable and life changing, however fully deceived. Over the next four weeks, we will look at the 4Ds that contribute to an unguarded heart and if left unchecked will become your distorted refuge and fill your heart with fear instead of peace.
Distraction is the first of the 4Ds we’ll look at this week. When allowed to take root, distraction will pull you away from the important, the real, the valuables in life. The word distraction means to cause to turn away from the original focus of attention, conflicting emotions or to pull in conflicting directions. What is the original focus? Our original focus as believers it is placing God at the center of everything that we do. Anything that causes us to focus more on “that thing” is a distraction.
A distraction could be a good thing, such as a job or friend. Or it could be a relationship that is absorbing too much of your time. We can allow our families to become a distraction and come before God our first love, drowning out the voice of peace within. Maybe it is a desire for validation from your past where you crave the praise of man and this too could be a distraction to the truth of what God has said about you.
I love how C. S. Lewis put it, “Do not allow any temporary excitement to distract you from the real business.” Distractions are seeds that grow; if left unattended will lull us to believe they are the real focus. Distractions maybe large or small, intended or unintended, whatever the distraction, we have them and we need to pray for wisdom. Our prayer should be to reveal and uncover the distractions in life that keep our focus off the real thing which is the love of God that guides us into all truth.