Poké Ball in My Pocket
Sep 30, 2018 06:34PM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
The other day when I went to let the dogs out, somehow 80-degree weather had plummeted to 40-degree morning chill. Hello, New England! Fall is not graceful here. It spends half its days trying to be summer until it finally slams into low temps. My tomato plants do not like fall very much.
I was still in my summer pajamas I put on the night before, completely unaware we were headed toward freezing by morning, so for the first time this season, I tossed on my red quilted vest…the one that serves my interests for about two weeks, at which time I rush to replace it with hats, gloves, and scarves.
I shut the door behind my slippered feet as two small duster dogs ran out to greet the morning. As I did, I instinctively reached for my phone in the pocket, only to find a Poké Ball left there from a school project my son did the previous year. With the help of his older brother, he dressed up as a Pokémon Trainer.
Let’s pause for a minute and not assume that everyone has a video gaming young child in the home:
"A Poké Ball (Japanese: モンスターボール Monster Ball) is a type of item that is critical to a Trainer's quest, used for catching and storing Pokémon. Both a general term used to describe the various kinds as well as a specific term to refer to the most basic among these variations, Poké Balls are ubiquitous in the modern Pokémon world. Up to six Pokémon can be carried with a Trainer in Poké Balls, while more Poké Balls can be held in the Bag for later use. These six Pokémon in the Poké Balls can be attached to the user's belt for carrying them around. Some Pokémon do not like to be carried around in Poké Balls, such as Ash's Pikachu."
So, as you can see, not only did I have my handy Trainer vest on, but I was apparently fully prepared to catch and store Pokémon. What a great feeling! Now, I just needed the belt and hat!
After my brief chuckle down School Project Memory Lane, I rushed the dogs inside wondering where my woolly socks went and continued with the morning routine, forgetting all about my Pokémon readiness.
After the kids got on the bus, I found myself getting distracted. I needed to come back to one item of focus to ground me and help me remember my purpose.
See, on any given day, here is what distracts me. Maybe you experience this from time to time as well:
- A flailing friendship
- The voice of failure in my head
- Social media
- Political “crazy town” on my newsfeed
- Small projects that jump in front of the bigger, unfinished ones
- Online shopping
- An unkind response from someone who misunderstood my heart
The Pokémon Trainer merely reaches toward his belt to find his Poké Balls, reminding him of his purpose.
What helps me remember mine?
Recently I was at a conference related to one of my two businesses. It was very informational and fun, but there was a significant amount of entertainment and sensationalism. It was a massive pep rally on the last day, and because I’ve never been a pep rally kind of gal, I sat there trying to understand it. I am all for like-minded folks jumping on a bandwagon of enthusiasm, but I don’t need pomp and circumstance. Save that for graduations and weddings.
As I sat there watching a lot of fanfare and cheerleading, it was difficult for me to separate out: Are we worshipping here, or is this normal excitement toward the leaders of an organization we believe in? There was shared purpose in the room.
With all the bells and whistles going on around me, once again, regarding purpose, I thought:
What helps me remember mine?
I can’t speak for others, but to ground myself, I broke it down into a few simple questions:
Why am I here?
What do I have in common with the people sitting alongside me?
What do I bring to the world because of this product that I otherwise wouldn’t?
And it was simple, as long as I remembered the tools in my belt: I loved the product. I loved what the company did around the world. I wanted other people like me to find better health options than those offered by our broken healthcare system.
So, back to the distractions—whether or not they were the mind and heart junk that jumps in front of me when I try to get on the focus train and accomplish work or simply the noise around me—what do I reach for in my pocket to ground me, to help me find the reason, the why.
In my literal pocket (backpack) one might find a roller bottle of Focus Blend essential oil, my phone, some chapstick, hand cleansing spray, a pen, and a highlighter.
A bigger pocket might have my Kindle, charging cords, a small notebook, and some business cards.
There is a sleeve pocket for my laptop.
Those items are good for both of my businesses and help me feel ready wherever I go.
But what about when those early-morning distractions start their assault on my mind and heart? What is hanging off my toolbelt or sitting ready in my arsenal to defeat the negativity and distractions?
Isaiah 26:3, ESV
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
When discouragements, distractions, de-railings of various sorts, and disorganization want to redirect me from productivity to wasting time, I recall my Savior. He keeps my mind in complete peace when I am focused on Him alone.
2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.
It’s often a minute-by-minute choice to redirect my thoughts to Christ and His purposes for me.
Philippians 4:8, ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
So much of the news reporting and opinions expressed all over Facebook are the opposite of edifying. They aim to polarize and divide. I attempt being informed, but I don’t need the rest of it cluttering my head. When I turn away from the hatefulness expressed all over my screen, I stand a much better change seeing the “whatevers” of Philippians 4:8.
Psalm 57:1-2, ESV
To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
Whenever storms go past me—whether my own created messes or the negativity of the world around me—I take shelter in God Most High and trust Him to fulfill His purposes for me.
The Pokémon Trainer chases Pikachu and his other Pokémon. They help him fight his battles. They keep his eyes trained on his mission.
I will chase God Most High. He doesn’t simply park Himself in my pocket for a season, left forgotten until I put on that vest again. He prepares me daily. He is my toolbelt, ready to go with me all the time. He is the answer to my purposes, how I achieve them, and how to stay on course.
What keeps you walking in your God-given purposes each day? And what can remind you how to refocus whenever other people’s missions and agenda try to cloud your own?
Jeremiah 29:11, ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.