13 Apr Are You Distracted?
I’ve had this post idea for weeks and yet I’ve only come around to writing this now not because I’m busy. I think, it’s because I’ve been distracted.
In February I finished two books that’s been really helpful to me, the first which I’ve blogged about a few weeks back, and the second is Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. While both books don’t focus on distraction, both mention it and it’s been brewing in my mind and heart since. Both authors write that distraction is keeping us from getting to the core of who our spirits and souls thirst for, and he is Jesus. We want and crave for Him, but we either miss it, because we’re too “busy” mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, or we silence it by consuming things other than Jesus, like when we binge watchin or shop. DeYoung quotes author and professor Peter Kreeft,
We want to complexify our lives. We don’t have to. We want to. We want to be harried and hassled and busy. Unconsciously, we want the very things we complain about. For if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hole in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it.
When I first read this quote, I was floored. Apart from it changing the way I see being busy, I recognized so much of it in myself. I “pass time” by looking around social media–and “somehow” it turns into wasting time on social media. I can’t wait in line without scrolling. Sometimes I’ll pick up my phone while engaged in a conversation, maybe because my mind has already drifted away from said conversation. This action, by the way, is very poor manners. I am accustomed to my mobile being the only light in a pitch black bedroom as I “wait to feel sleepy”, yet studies show that the light screens emit actually keep us from being sleepy. And perhaps I don’t need to get started on distracted parenting? It’s a thing, according to Huffington Post.
The irony is or more accurately, due to my irresponsibility, I fell right back in to my distracted cycle after reading about these truths. Instead of being able to finish a book last month–because I’m trying to read one book a month–I didn’t get much reading in. I think because I’ve gotten more mobile phoning in. I’ve taken up a new TV series to follow and binge watch. Even while writing this post, I’ve glanced at my phone countless times to look at my notifications.
Jennie Allen writes after going through one of Jesus’ miracles, “We have gallons and gallons of the best wine, yet we keep drinking cheap wine.” My own paraphrase for this, to better grasp how dimwitted I’ve been is, I have full access to gallons and gallons of the best coffee, yet I keep drinking instant coffee. Which, if I will be honest, I really hardly do. I can have such high standards for my caffeine yet for my soul’s thirst, I settle for the temporary fix.
Let me be clear and say technology is not evil nor is media–I’m using technology right now to share my thoughts and media is my bread and butter. But when it is not purposeful, when it is not consumed with self-control, it can be addictive and desensitizing. And the trouble is, we don’t notice it.
I’ve heard of families who have declared the bedroom as a no-phones zone, and while my family hasn’t reached such level of courage, we try very hard to practice our meal times to be so. My husband, who often polices me, has said that studies have shown that the presence of a mobile phone–even when faced down–brings down our attentiveness by a large percent. (Here’s a different but related study published by The Telegraph.)
Here’s my prayer for you and me, Father, I am sorry for replacing You with things that can hardly measure up to your glory and magnificence. Help me to run to You first when I hunger and thirst. Help me to make this my truth, that a day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else. This I ask, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Psalm 84:1-2, 10-12 (ESV)
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!