# far-too many?
If it isn't Facebook, I'm sure there is something that immediately comes to mind as your source of distraction. What takes you away from being present in a moment – whether it's in conversations with friends or your quiet hang outs with God? Are we aware of the effect of letting our minds constantly dart around and what it does to our engagement in a moment and with people – and ultimately how it impacts our times with God?
Recently before preparing for a church healing retreat, our group was encouraged to fast from something in our lives that held too much significance; that thing that distracted us from journeying closer to God.
A 'Facebook fast' sprung to mind for the majority of the group – it was the constant use of a cell phone throughout the day that people needed to stop – not the usual chocolate, booze or TV! The iPhone – the first thing we looked at in the morning and the last light in our rooms to go off at night.
The snapchats, the texting, the organizing, the browsing fashion websites and photos of other people's 'fascinating' lives… And I couldn't remember the last time I'd woken up to my alarm and hadn't reached for my phone. It was as familiar as brushing my teeth. The black rubbery surface a kind of comfort! Although the course that we had been doing encouraged us to commit to regularly reading specific scriptures, and I chose to do this in the morning, I would do this after a quick scan of everyone's pics of babies, panoramic sun set photos, 'likes' and Instagram snaps.
I was constantly distracted from the moment. It varied from engaging in conversation and texting and organizing something else at the same time, endlessly flicking between tasks in the office, right through to looking up scriptures on my phone and switching quickly for a quick Facebook fill in between. Come to me and get rest? Hmmm…
It had become some kind of addiction to being distracted – and a constant one!
The inability to concentrate and be present in the moment isn't just for Generation X or for teenagers. This habit of distraction is one we seem to breeding as a society, to disengage from real life and real time. Yet I'm 32 – not 16. I have good friendships, can hold a normal conversation, I have a professional job. I love getting into God's word. I am increasingly aware though that I am teaching myself the art of distraction and am even allowing it to become a habit ingrained in my daily life.
Giving the devil a foothold maybe? The good intentions of 30 minutes studying God's word just got sidelined to 5 minutes after 25 minutes scanning through the new app I just downloaded. That I will probably never use again.
# waste-of-time? Sound familiar?
What do these constant distractions that nestle into our days do to our creativity? Being able to let words flow is what drives my first writing draft, or my marketing proposal in the office. When I let these distractions overcome what I'm creating, there becomes a staccato, a jumping between each idea and concept.
What if we choose to immerse ourselves in what we are doing instead? To become people who can concentrate, go deeper, rather than being surface-level, multi-taskers out of habit. What if we resist the phone, the iPad, the laundry, the dishes or the email that just popped up? What if we allow ourselves to go deeper in thought – from reading, writing, painting or conversation? Don't let your time with God be sidelined by that familiar flashing notification. Keep making God your priority, not the thing that distracts you from him!
As I wrote this, my phone beeped the familiar text message sound. My challenge was to myself to ignore it, to not reach over and interrupt my writing flow. Did I manage? I'm sorry to say that I let my mind wander off and I forgot what I was even doing, and reached down out of habit to just "check who it was".
There's clearly some way to go for me yet!
Amanda Robinson is originally from The Lake District in the UK. Amanda works in Publishing in Auckland and is passionate about seeing Christians bring salt and light into the media, arts and creative industries. She is also working on fighting her FOMO and doing less.
Amanda Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/amanda-robinson.html