Distractions

Text messages. Twitter. Facebook. iPhones, iPads, video games, tv… the list of distractions in our lives goes on and on. These aren’t bad things in and of themselves, of course—but I’ll be the first to admit that with so many opportunities for distraction at hand, I spend a lot of time checking email or catching up on the Internet that I might once have spent doing something more productive.

I can relate. I know first hand what I’m talking about. It’s the first thing I reach for in the morning or while waiting for others to arrive to a meeting. That’s reasonable, I suppose, but lately I’ve found myself reaching for it in the car at long red lights or when I’m watching television. That’s not reasonable.

We’ve lost our respect and desire for quiet, reflective thought. It’s so easy to fill our minds with information overload or turn on entertainment that there is no longer a need to ever be without it – not in the car, not in our bedrooms, not even when we’re camping or on vacation. Every moment of the day, regardless of where I am, I can check my email, watch a podcast, update Twitter or read the news. Most of the time, there is not an email, news story or status update that comes even close to affecting my life, but I read them all anyway. At the very moment when I sense that I am not listening to something, reading something or doing something, I reach out for anything that will occupy my mind and keep me from… well from what? Boredom? Silence? My own thoughts? Not being productive? I’m not sure, but I think it’s some combination of these fears.

How does this fear of boredom effect our prayer lives?  Are we afraid of the quiet times in our lives of self reflection and alone time with God?  Have we just come so accustomed to being entertained every waking hour of the day?  I haven’t read Thoreau’s Walden in a long time, but I have been tempted to pick it back up and read again.  Do we need that reset time in our lives?  Give up our electronics, as B1 would call it.  I go back to my time spent in Haiti; no tv, no Internet, no radio, electricity some of the time.  Would it do us all good to give up these things, these distractions?

4 thoughts on “Distractions

  1. I gave up my facebook about two weeks ago and it’s been so liberating – so so freeing! I don’t worry about what’s going on in the rest of the Facebook world because it doesn’t impact me or my family! There’s no need to know what Joe is eating for lunch – who really cares?!

    It’s been so nice to spend that extra time away from my computer while I’m at home. Unfortunately, we have to use the computer and e-mail at work, but not at home!!! 🙂

    Last night, instead of occupying my time on the internet, I snuggled with CJ and then we folded clothes instead of letting them sit in the laundry baskets getting wrinkly. What a concept!

  2. I agree, giving up Facebook was one of the best decisions we’ve made lately. We watch very little television and while I still use the Internet I’m trying to consolidate my sessions into two times per day. For me, the iPhone has become annoying and I’m totally ready to get rid of it, I think my husband probably should also :). But then again I don’t think we’ve ever done any downsizing that we’ve regretted.

  3. I don’t like my husband’s Smartphone either, but I know I can’t do anything to change that, or complain about it. He will come to realize in his own time – I’ve learned in these 7 years not to nag, he will figure it out eventually. 🙂 I’ve “un-followed” a few blogs that were not constructive to my every day. I wasn’t learning anything from them or being challenged at all, so I stopped following – and that’s been liberating as well! We still do the TV thing but I try to limit that for myself and the kids as well.
    Love ya’ll!

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