The T.V. is talking.
The telephone's ringing.
The lights are all on and the radio's screaming.
A million distractions are stealing my heart from You.
Stop the world, I wanna get out.
I need an escape away from this crowd.
Just to hear You speak to me.
(Matthew West's song, "Stop the World")
I used to listen to this song growing up because it spoke so dear to a struggle I face daily: distraction and overwhelm. It's not easy to feel rested, content, and connected when there's always noise.
There's always something crying for our attention.
Ping! Ding! Bing! (dopamine!) Ooh, a notification. Wonder what it is... 15 minutes later, I wake up from the barrage of rabbit trails, only to realize time flew by and I feel worse than before.
A smartphone isn't bad or crazy by default. The apps that do whatever possible to keep our attention so that they can make more and more money off of our data… those are the reasons why a phone makes you go crazy. I hear it all the time, if the product is free, then most likely you are the product.
No one intentionally decides to freely give away all their attention and time so that someone else can add to their pocket of cash. Where your attention and time goes to, you become a slave to that if you are not free to direct it.
One of the most valuable things we have in life is our attention and time.
If I am stuck dreaming about the future, I either do not have enough or worry about something I probably cannot control. If I am living in the past, I often ruminate on something I cannot change. But if I live in the present, I can breathe and be. The present is where true freedom and happiness lives.
Consider now, this moment. Take 30 seconds to just be, to just exist, without feeling like you need to do something. Take 30 harmless seconds to just be and breathe.
Either that was kind of nice, a little freaky, or you skipped it because you don't have time fo dat. Why? Contrary to popular action, you need room for your mind to breathe. We were not meant to be digitally distracted all day. We were not designed for media consumption all day. We have a ton of stuff happening in our subconscious mind: worries, fears, desires, hurts, dreams, memories, etc. We must make space for our minds to process, or we'll be up late in the night trying to suppress those thoughts or drown out the silence during the day with noise.
Freedom is available.
Think just a couple centuries ago. I bet most people were illiterate and working some job that requires their physical bodies versus a mind-tasking job at a desk. Most people's minds were not taxed like ours. And, I bet they were pretty content and connected to one another because of it.
Do you remember life before having a pocket computer that gives you answers to all of life's problems and questions? Do you remember silence? How about boredom? Do you remember peace? What about an unhurried life?
Where did all of that go?
It's still here. It didn't leave. In fact, our attention and time in the now was just stolen. It's time to take back what's yours.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
(Luke 15:6 NIV)
It's okay to take time to yourself to reconnect with God and yourself. Recharge. Remember what you're about and what you're not about. Align your heart with the Father who loves you so much and is in control. Going to the "lonely place" one of the most connecting things you could ever do.
You won’t need to take anything with you—trust in God alone. And don’t get distracted from my purpose by anyone you might meet along the way.
(Luke 10:4 TPT)
Jesus is talking to his disciples here as he sends them out. One great thing he says is for them not to get distracted from His purpose. Why? Because it's so dang easy to get distracted! Ever felt close to God at a summer camp and then you go back to normal life and the noise just drowns it all out? Been there. Don't get distracted from God's purpose for your life, because it's the best life to live. Albeit, it's an intentional life and takes work. Anything worth having will take work.
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
(2 Peter 1:3 NLT)
If I am worried about the future or something I think I need, I miss out on the freedom and light burden Jesus offers in the now. God has given us all we need to live for him today. He's all you need for today. Don't worry about tomorrow, because there will always be worries. Trust in him to provide for today. And when you do that, you can have peace to live in the beautiful and freeing present.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…
(Philippians 3:13 NLT)
But what if I'm stuck worrying about the past? What about that thing I did and the people I hurt? Didn't that get nailed to the cross of Jesus when you believed? Yes. It's okay to let go of that. It's worth addressing and finding healing from your past, but if you find yourself ruminating on the past you cannot change, bring that to the feet of Jesus. He wants those worries, fears, and shame. That's not yours to hold. Give it back. Then, watch grace and truth wash over you.
He's the God of today and He calls us to live in the present. If He is Lord, He is in control. If He is faithful, He will stay true to His word of loving His children and providing for them. If He is the forgiver, our sins are no more. If He is enough for today, we can let our shoulders down, take a deep breath, and be present today.
It's in the present we are able to fulfill the greatest commandments: love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Mark 12:30-31 NIV)
I fight for an undistracted life, so that I can have space to love God and to love my neighbor. And subsequently, live in life abundantly.
— from Cam Pak, one who pleas for the #AttentionResistance for the sake of freedom