Training with Distractions

ID 57762639 © Szabolcs Stieber | Dreamstime.com

We’re dog training—again.

Our trainer has a saying, “If Valor can’t do it with distractions, he can’t do it.” Commands practiced by himself don’t count. It’s what he does in public when people and pets are around that shows his true level of self-control. 

Lessons challenge him to rein it in and stay put when another dog walks by. Will he check himself or need a yank on the leash? 

Have you experienced the same kind of training? Has God placed you in situations:

  • Where you can exercise patience when somebody cuts in on you in traffic?
  • Where you can exercise self-control by biting back a comment and offering grace to that family member?
  • Where you can exercise discipline in daily habits like sleep, food, and exercise, even when you’d rather crash on the couch and eat a bag of chips?

Lent begins February 26. Whether I’m fasting sleep, FB, or chocolate, or tackling something like a Daniel fast (no meats, no sweets, no dairy), I’m always amazed at the strength of fight in my flesh. A fast tests my self-control on so many levels. Like Valor, I get practice with distractions. The real deal. 

And it’s here I grow. 

I encourage you to try fasting during this season of Lent. As you prepare:

1. Expect your flesh to fight fasting. 

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17 NIV

Don’t be shocked. Your flesh has a toddler mentality. Be ready. 

2. Walk by the Spirit.

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:18b-20

When you fast, you choose to do without something in order to make room for something else, specifically time with God. What are you making room for? Prayer? Worship? Bible reading? When the flesh starts whining, focus on God. Make room for Him.

3. Celebrate the small steps.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Journal during Lent. What victories did you have? What lessons did you learn? How did God speak to you today? Every encounter with God has meaning. Don’t dismiss those moments.

Challenge yourself this Lent. Pray and ask God what to fast from and what to put in its place. Embrace the challenge and train in real life, with distractions.

Workout of the Week: Training with Distractions

Memory Verse: “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17 NIV

Meditation Passage: Galatians 5:13-26

Do It: Practice with distractions. Give Lent a try.