When Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall and that there were no more breaks in it—even though I hadn't yet installed the gates— Sanballat and Geshem sent this message: "Come and meet with us at Kephirim in the valley of Ono." Nehemiah 6:1-2 (MSG)
When undertaking any worthwhile endeavor, there are two key obstacles to overcome. One is distraction and the other is discouragement. Nehemiah faced both of these in today's chapter, and he recognized them, instantly, for what they were.
Beware of crazymakers. These are the individuals who, like relational black holes, seek to suck us into their pathological vortex of need. They can't abide the fact that we are doing the work before us, focused on something other than their insatiable desire for attention. They are Sanballats and Tobiah's calling us down from our own building projects for a conversation, only to distract us from that task which we are called to do.
In her book, The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron provides a great description of crazymakers:
Crazymakers are those personalities that create storm centers. They are often charismatic, frequently charming, highly inventive, and powerfully persuasive. And, for the creative person in the their vicinity, they are enormously destructive. You know the type: charismatic but out of control, long on problems and short on solutions. Crazy makers are the kind of people who can take over your whole life. To fixer-uppers, they are irresistible: so much to change, so many distractions…
God, help me be diligent in the task(s) you've given me. Help me to recognize the crazymakers in my path and, like Nehemiah, avoid getting distracted.