I promised myself that I would not allow for distraction from what I deemed of utmost importance: cultivating a deeper relationship with God and my family. Not to do things halfway, I erased my first blog off the net, sure that once the allure was gone, I would not struggle with whipping my head around at every observation and wanting to write about it. The problem, however, was not the observation or even the writing. It was in appeasing my own wants (ie. to blog) at the expense of others’ needs, of gadding about too much and in essence leaving my primary post, mentally and emotionally.
I see that now, how the pleasure of writing, itself, wasn’t necessarily the problem. It was simply where I landed when I wanted a distraction. And giving up writing for a season actually did allow for other things to fill their rightful spots. Tasks I felt neglected. Projects I always intended to do. Responsibilities that needed attention. I benefited greatly from pulling the blogging plug. But that didn’t mean that I wasn’t looking to resurrect my distraction problem in other ways…ah, how my heart desires to lead me astray! My own wants always demand first dibs on my effort and time especially when tasks, projects, and responsibilities seem mundane, pointless, or draining. And mainly, what I want is to do what I want to do, and I will naturally look for a way out from sacrificing those wants or cultivating anything deep at all. In other words, hello, I am a distraction addict.
I want to be distracted. I crave it. Because if the opposite of distraction is deliberate diligence, then that sounds like a whole lot harder to work at. And, face it, I’m as lazy as the next person in seeking to work hard for any length of time, especially when the work is not new, exciting, or exalting in some way. Or not valued, celebrated or even noticed. So when given the choice to either mop the floor (again) or look at the shiny new blog post on my feed…well, you know.
With smartphones now glued to everyone’s hands, it seems to me an almost impossibility to maintain any semblance of sincere attention to anything at all, what with dings and buzzes and ring tones heavily peppered throughout the day. When I wrote Present, opening my laptop to blog was my greatest distraction from what I said I wanted out of life. Now? I don’t even have to do that much work–I just need to pick up my smartphone. Easy.
It’s easier to do the easy. It’s effortless to stay shallow. It’s simpler to do what I’m attracted to rather than plow through challenges or obligations I find boring or painful or feel inept at. But carelessly skating on that thin ice, fun as it is, robs me of full and rich living, which is what I ultimately desire to do.
This I have learned and this I know: repentance is the way to a godly focus. You and I may not have to throw away our laptops or whatever it is feeding our natural inclinations to avoid the high holy work we have, but we do need to be honest with our ever straying hearts and realign them again and again to God’s Word.
Maybe you made a goal or plan or promise to yourself to “really be there” for your family or “create that living, rich home”. Maybe you seem unable to keep those fervent desires due to slippery distractions, maybe the hinderance is real and the guilt for slipping (over and over…) is heavy. Even so, humility and repentance are what reveals a lit path out of misery. Making excuses (“I’m just not the motherly type” or “I’m just not a neat freak” or “I just need a break…1800 times a day…”) doesn’t exactly move you or I forward towards where we want to be. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be bothered a spit about our frustrating distractions nor goals we keep missing, would we?
You may have to give up what is causing you to stumble into distraction, whatever it is, for a season or for a lifetime–only God knows. But if you can formulate (ONE) exactly what you are deeply hungering for and (TWO) the reason for why it’s so important to you, you’ll find your courage to make real change. And, perhaps, even your own desires changing for treasures that cannot compare to the peanuts you gave up to begin with.
Is there anything shallow distracting you today from your rich life? Those baubles may be shiny, but they aren’t real upon close inspection.
More to come…