My mom mentioned something last week that I have not been able to stop thinking about. It hit me to the core. I’m guilty, dead guilty.
A couple of weeks ago, my little family took a trip to Canada to visit my old bestie from college. It was amazing. Loved every minute of it. One evening we sat around a table in their incredible backyard sunroom and had a conversation with her parents that changed my life. Then oddly enough, my mom mentioned something else along the same lines last week. Coincidence? I don’t believe in them, so no.
The devil is sneaky. No, sneaky somehow speaks a touch of innocence to me. The devil is a dirty, cunning snake. Complete slime ball. As well as completely careless about how we are distanced from Jesus Christ.
He doesn’t care if we are unrepentant serial killers, or if we are just lazy and refuse to pray and open our scriptures. The end is the same, distance from Jesus Christ. Satan wins, we lose. But if we don’t choose to be simply lazy, how is Satan going to keep us distanced from Jesus Christ? Distraction.
DISTRACTION WITH OUR BODIES.
That conversation mentioned earlier with my friend’s dad? He said, “I’ve always been amazed at the ads on billboards when driving down I-15 in Utah. It makes you wonder, do the saints have a body confidence issue?” Being from Utah, I noticed all the ads, but I thought it was normal everywhere. What a relief to find out it’s not! But it totally makes sense. As Latter-day Saints, in general, we are all striving to be good people, right? We aren’t going to go out and murder someone or get wrapped up in substance abuse. We, as truthful, intentional members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, are trying desperately hard to be upstanding citizens in our communities. For Satan to try and convince us to behave in ways completely polar to our beliefs and morals would be futile… however, he can easily use distraction and it can achieve the same result. And he is, and it’s working.
Satan doesn’t have a body, and he is desperately jealous of all of us with one. So, what does he do? He makes us feel like if ours is not “perfect” (no ones is) it needs to be fixed or it’s not worth having. Cellulite? Gross. No makeup? Ugly! Hairy chest? Ew. Short eyelashes? Shame. Hip dips? Gasp. Overweight? Ridiculous. Too skinny? Sick. Sparse, blotchy eyebrows? SMH. No lipsense on?? SMHA! Stretch marks? What, you trying to be elasta-woman? Wrinkles? You’re over 25 and don’t look fresh out of the womb? Insult to Society. Baby weight? Are you serious? Crooked teeth? Hillbilly. No contouring today? Your nose is massive. (My Canadian friends didn’t even know what contouring was! Praise the heavens!) Hairy legs? Disgusting. You don’t do Crossfit? Uh… do you even lift weights? Grey hairs? Shame shame shhhhhame.
See what I mean? All of these body-shaming thoughts are swirling around all the time and are definitely distracting us. They keep us from interacting with other people. They keep us from having fun with our families. They keep us on the sides of the pool instead of in the water. And if they don’t keep us from doing those things, then they totally occupy our minds, squeezing out the spirit because now we are battling self-confidence issues and the pressure to get micro-bladed brows, laser hair removal (one word: Ow.), eyelash extensions or spray tans as if that’s what a normal body looks like. He’s keeping us focused on the “fake” negatives our bodies have. Has any real person ever dissed on us like that? I sure hope not. Has Satan? Every minute. Every day. He’s keeping us focused on our bodily “flaws” so we stay distracted from the important. How can anyone really spend time studying the scriptures, praying, and going to church when these other things completely consume and distract us? It all makes sense now.
DISTRACTION FROM OUR FAMILIES
“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”
The family has been under attack since the beginning of time. Satan hasn’t changed, but he’s changed his game. Nowadays, we go about wearing our Busy Badge of Honor. We sign our kids up for 1,000 different activities but give FHE the boot all too often. We are distracted with needing to be right and not focusing on loving and improving communication with our spouse. We are distracted with forcing our MLM, startup or blog into success that we too often let the most important people in our lives grow mold. We are distracted with housework, with swim lessons, with piano lessons, workout groups and play dates all due to a real and tangible pressure to be perfect, authored by the devil himself. We binge watch series on Netflix or Amazon Prime (Grimm, quickly followed by Poldark were my latest), but don’t have time to sit down and give ten minutes of quality time to a needy toddler. We put hours and hours into our jobs, careers, and education that we put off starting and building families. We are completely consumed with political issues (that are coming at us faster than flapjacks) but ignore issues within our families. On purpose? No, just distracted… with one seemingly important, worthwhile thing after the next.
DISTRACTION IN OUR MINDS AND THOUGHTS.
The incredible thing about our minds is that it’s a hotspot for revelation. When we have questions in our lives, we pray about it then are supposed to ponder and study it out in our minds. How on earth is it even possible to study something out in our minds these days? We are connected to our phones all. the. time. The moment I open my phone I don’t even remember what I got on there for, but I wasted 15 minutes. Satan keeps political issues swirling everywhere, amplified by the media, and shoved down our throats. We consume consume consume without taking time to swallow before shoving in the next article, snap, Instagram, status update, youtube video, or meme collect $200 when you pass go. We are completely drowning in everyone else’s opinions and beliefs, that we can’t even break the surface to form our own opinions, let alone allow the spirit to speak to us. And we are mad at God about it. #weareinsane.
There are some incredible stories in the scriptures about people needing or wanting something so they prayed and pondered about it.
- Nephi, that Stud, wanted to know the vision his father had seen, so he prayed and pondered then was shown the vision. Boom. So cool! (1 Nephi 11).
- Brother of Jared. How on earth is he supposed to get light in the boats? He prays and ponders about it, asks the Lord to touch some stones so they will glow and give light. The Lord touches them, then ultimately reveals his whole SELF to him. Mic. Drop. (Ether 2:16- Ether 3:17).
- Joseph Smith. One day during translation, he and Sidney Rigdon read John 5:29 where it talks about the resurrection of the evil and the just. “And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness; And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.”
The pondering and meditation is where things happen! It’s where the Lord can teach, talk and guide us. It’s where we learn and grow our testimonies. When we allow quiet in our minds, the spirit can speak to us. We can get closer to the Savior. The soul threatening problem with Satan’s Distraction? We are distracted with “good” things, so it’s close to impossible to catch it happening to you. It gets more and more comfortable until there is no more room for the essential. No room for scriptures, church attendance, prayer, meditation…testimony building, and an honest relationship with God…
And that’s exactly what Satan wants. To keep us distracted enough that we do not move forward. If we aren’t moving forward, we are headed backward. There is no stagnant, stationary position. If Satan can just keep the saints distracted, he wins.
No wonder so many of my friends and family have left the church. No wonder I’ve struggled with my testimony more in the last 5 years than the rest of my life combined.
Please don’t be foolish to think that it’s not happening to you like I was. Let’s refocus Saints.
***P.S. Shameless Plug: I love talking money and helping families get their finances in order (because it’s oh so important). We have a “Riches to Rags, The Ultimate Family Finance Workbook” on the blog to help you sort out your crazy and find a starting point if you feel so inclined. God bless! ***