by Linda Evans Shepherd
One sunny December day in New York, my friend Eva and I were in town to explore the city. I was ready for anything, especially with my huge, blue tote bag I’d stuffed with everything I might need; an umbrella, my coat, snacks, bottles of water, all piled high on top of my wallet.
I slung my bag over my shoulder and Eva and I caught the subway from our hotel so that we could walk down Canal Street to take in the sights. We browsed through the faux designer purses and fingered the bright wool scarves and smirked at the fake Rolexes on display. As we strolled, we were caught in a throng of tourists who flowed down the street like a slow moving river.
As I walked along gawking at the sights around me, a pretty, young woman appeared beside me. She turned to face me and with her arms opened wide, she side-skipped to my steps as if she was trying to block me from turning right and walking past her. What in the world is she doing? I wondered. I craned my neck for a better look and she seemed to disappear. Where’d she go?
Suddenly I snapped my head to the left, and there she was, her arm rammed deep into my tote bag as her fingers groped for my pocket book. I instinctively jerked my tote away from her and instantly she disappeared into the crowd.
It seemed I’d just encountered a New York City pickpocket. But what struck me about the experience was the pickpocket’s maneuver to distract me–to cause me to not only take my attention away from my tote, but to place my focus in the opposite direction so that she would be free to snatch my wallet, something I’d wanted to hang onto throughout my New York adventure.
As I thought about it, I could see that distraction is exactly how the enemy tries to steal from me in an effort to keep me from living my life with joy, peace and the presence of God.
Distractions can zing toward me like fiery arrows of worry, stress, offenses, and frustration as the enemy takes aim at my peace.
I may not be able to stop the fiery arrows, but if I focus on trusting God, then the enemy’s arrows will not stick but will bounce off of me. Otherwise, the enemy’s arrows can wound my heart.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.” To live distraction free means I must guard my heart, trusting God as I let go of offenses and open my soul to more of God’s peace.
When I do that, God’s peace will shield my heart so that the enemy cannot steal my joy or wound me with worry so God’s spirit will continually flow into my life.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
About the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 33 books including When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles. She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries, and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.
Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids. She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America. You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.
Join the conversation: What distractions are stealing your peace?