America is the land of opportunity. It’s a place where any man, woman, or child has the chance to choose from a nearly endless selection of options. Want proof? Just go into one of your local fast food restaurants and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of options and opportunities are available. Fries or onion rings? Would you like to add bacon? Ketchup, mustard, or special sauce? In fact, you can have extra special sauce if you know the right words to say. And don’t get me started on that giant Coke soft drink dispensary that has up to 300,000 flavor combinations.
But just like the calorie intake from your fast food lunch, you need to beware of opportunities. Sometimes they’re just distractions masquerading as good ideas.
When an opportunity pops up, you need wisdom to decide whether or not to take it. And I’m talking real opportunities here – a new job, buying that house on the corner, switching your kids’ school, or purchasing a boat. Sure it may look good. And it may be something you’ve wanted for a very long time. But if following the opportunity gets you off-track, it’s just a distraction from what you should be doing in the first place.
So, how do we know the difference between an opportunity and a distraction? Here are three quick things to keep in mind when you weigh a life-changing opportunity.
1. Does this line up with my passion and ability?
To be in your zone, you have to line up your abilities, passions, and opportunities. What are you good at? What gets you excited? Those God-given traits work as a barometer for your purpose in life.
And you might have thought through those ideas years ago, but now you’ve changed. It may be time to revisit those questions and make sure this new venture puts you in the zone.
2. Does this hinder or help my personal mission statement?
If you have never written a personal mission statement, what’s stopping you? This is a simple phrase or sentence that tells you what your purpose in life is all about. In deciding which steps to take in life, it’s always important to have this mission statement on your mind.
For instance, maybe your personal mission statement is to help bring out the best in those who don’t always feel their best. But if this new job opportunity takes you away from those you’ve been helping, you may have a distraction on your hands. Choose wisely.
3. Does this ultimately glorify God?
This is probably the easiest question to answer. But that answer has a huge impact on your decision. This is the type of question that turns it all around, from being self-focused to God-honoring. If the answer is “no,” then stop whatever you’re doing and drop that opportunity like a hot rock. It’s a distraction! Guaranteed.
But if it does glorify God, guess what? Now you’ve moved into a new zone – the zone of freedom. Now you get to make a wise decision about this new opportunity. Now you get to do the heavy lifting of prayer and meditation, strategizing and engineering until you come to a good decision. And the coolest part is sometimes you’ve got several opportunities and God is allowing you to choose. Not some perfect, secret will, but exactly what you want – door #1 or door #2. You decide!
What will it be? Life’s like a fast food menu – full of opportunities. But you can get easily distracted too. So, are you going to do it? Will this be an opportunity or a distraction? It’s up to you and no one else can answer that question for you.