Concentrate! … Ignore all sideshow distractions. Proverbs 4:20-27 (MSG)
Distractions: concentration fractures. Perhaps distractions begin as seemingly innocent hairline fractures, but they can quickly expand into damaging fissures or chasms.
Life is busy! We feel pressure and stress to complete our daily tasks under short deadlines. Additionally, social media demands an accounting of our activities, locations, and the company we are keeping.
Fortunately, we have a bevy of tools to choose from as we multitask with lightning speed. Most notably: the Smart Phone. (Can you hear the angels singing?) We can access the Internet, email, text, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter—all while driving, watching TV, or eating dinner. Why waste all those valuable minutes doing only one task at a time?
Recently, I’ve noticed the destructive role interruptions are playing in my life. Perhaps you too can relate.
While I’m making dinner, a text chimes from one of my children. Must be important! I stop to text my reply. I could make an old-fashioned phone call, but that takes too long. So, as we text back and forth, dinner burns.
As our children were growing up, I was a huge proponent of family dinners. During these times, we all sat down together to eat at the dining room table. We each shared the laughter, successes, and even tears from that day. These loving, bonding times built our relationships.
Fast forward to today, where our empty-nest dinner is still at a table, but now it’s in the kitchen so we can watch TV too. We receive texts from our kids or from work about vital matters that require immediate responses. During commercials, my husband and I begin to talk about our day, but then the commercials are over. Our attention turns back to the TV show. Dinner is just the prelude to a night of continued distractions. We fall into bed exhausted.
My morning devotional time is suffering too. I sit in my quiet-time chair. I pick up my Bible, pray for understanding of the Word, only to have my focus redirected by morning texts dinging in from family and friends. All the while, unanswered emails might be piling up, or I might need to stop for just one minute to read social media posts—after all someone might have a prayer request that I can address in my time with God.
Then, I glance at my Smart Phone clock. Whoops! Where did the time go? No more time left for devotions because our dog is pacing in expectation of her park playtime. I apologize to God, pray quickly for daily blessings as I drive to the park, and desperately try to recall a verse that will give me strength for the day.
Distractions have now morphed into justifications. Feeling justifiably worn out from the disrupted lifestyle, I’ve decided to refocus on what is important: relationships—first with God, then with family and friends. God is the Inventor of relationship. Relationship is how we love. Isn’t that the whole content of the Bible?
I’ve developed a 3-step recovery plan for when distractions occur:
- Follow God’s advice: Concentrate! … Ignore all sideshow distractions.
- Turn off the Smart Phone, computer, and television … focus.
- Ask God for help!
I hope I don’t get distracted!