When we’re living in a world of distraction, it’s so much harder to love God fully and hear His voice clearly.
I pick up my phone for good reason; I just can’t quite remember what that good reason is. I compulsively check my e-mail. Did I miss a text? Oh, shoot, there are a few I failed to respond to earlier. What is the weather going to be like this afternoon? Oh, and for the event on Saturday; will it be nice out?
There I stand, phone in hand, and after navigating familiar rabbit trails with ease I can’t even remember the very good reason I got on my phone. What was I looking for anyhow? I’m not even sure. I’m far too easily distracted.
I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but it’s pretty normal, common for me, and likely for you too. Distraction seems to be scaling a general sense of absent-mindedness in all of us. Have you noticed it?
I recently heard a woman call her distraction mommy-brain and I reflexively asked if she was expecting. No, she clarified, she had a toddler at home that earned her the title. I’ve also heard repeated references to COVID brain, which the American Medical Association has now defined as brain fog, difficulty thinking or concentrating, confusion, or forgetfulness. It seems we all now have reason for living in a continually distracted state.
But what if the problem is really only a symptom?
Heart of the matter
The dictionary definition of distraction is anything that directs one’s attention away from something else. So, yes, those phones and apps and notifications can certainly be distractions. But, by this definition, a friend in need calling during dinner could be as well. So could my husband asking me to run a quick errand right now. So could my kids that need encouragement, and my neighbor who needs a hand, and the lady at church who really needs a hug.
Do you see it, friend? Life is and always has been full of interruptions and distractions. Perhaps ridding our life of all distractions isn’t a viable solution. Rather, we need help remembering what is truly worth paying attention to.
In Mark chapter 12 Jesus told a scribe that the most important commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. All is a pretty big word there, isn’t it? What would it look like to love God with all of your mind? Would you focus on what is true and noble, lovely and pure? Would you take your thoughts and attention captive and work to bring them into obedience to Christ and His word?
Christ gave us a guidepost here, friend. The unchanging One, went before us giving us truth that is every bit as true in our rapidly changing and very distracting world. He said, begin here – love me with all of the capacity I’ve given you – heart, soul, mind, and strength. All. And love others too.
I’m not convinced technology is the problem we think it is, friend. It comes with issues, no doubt. It requires boundaries, of course. But we may be giving it more credit than is due. We have hearts and souls and minds that were made to love and honor Christ. Let’s begin there. Let’s hold fast to our proper affections because with them follow our attention. And in doing so we will likely find that many of the unhealthy distractions aren’t quite as enticing anymore.
In His Word
Jesus answered, “The most important is, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:29-30 ESV
In Your Life
What do you think it means to love the Lord with all of your mind? What are some practical ways we can use the incredible capacity of our minds to love and honor God?
Katie’s brand new book But Then She Remembered: How to Give God Your Full Attention in a Distracted World releases in two weeks and you can preorder it today! This fascinating book is full of the science of God’s design for our minds and details how the battle for attention begins with the biblical call to remembrance.