Distractions

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A few months ago I casually listened to a celebrity on a talk show (so casually, I don’t remember the celebrity OR the talk show!) as he shared his recent revelation about his own addiction to distraction — specifically electronic detractors. He is a father with young children and recognized how difficult it was for him to fully engage in anything until he made some drastic changes.

Last week, I felt the need to take prayer a little deeper, and while I know the fundamental benefits of fasting, I rarely do it. Somehow I knew it was time to exercise some discipline and pondered how to make it the most impactful for me.  Since I’m forever depriving myself of enjoyable food, I thought about doing something a little more sacrificial and remembered the television conversation about an electronic fast. So, for the 3 days before my birthday at the end of last week, I gave up social media and my electronic games.

I was NOT prepared for how difficult that would be.

For several years, I have been praying and asking God to help me hear His voice more clearly. I know I have a certain level of communication with Him, but as a family we have had some really difficult circumstances the last couple years, and I sure wanted direction and some answers. I would have settled for any manner of His former Biblical displays: His speaking through a burning bush would have been awesome, or I would have welcomed an angel showing up in my room one day; I just wanted to hear His voice.

I should have figured out a long time ago that there was a connection between my dullness of hearing and my addiction to distractions. 

Certainly, if I were to rank addictions according to their level of severity and danger, Words with Friends would probably not make the list. But for me, it was subtly, slowly becoming a problem. I wouldn’t go 90 seconds of free time without checking my phone for texts and emails. Once I responded to those, I checked Facebook, Instagram and played my game. These are all harmless in and of themselves, but I had to look at it this way: if God was sitting in the room right next to me, and I had a bunch of questions for Him, would I be scrolling through Facebook? Definitely not. I’d be asking Him. I’d drop everything to wait as long as it took to hear what He had to say.

So that’s what I did for three days. It was refreshing, but more than that it was quite convicting. While I can justify checking social media because my skincare business operates via social commerce, the truth is I had grown squirmy and impatient. God is all things good — but He’s also jealous. He was willing to wait for me while I exhausted all of my empty options to recognize He was there all along…waiting for me to put down my phone and give Him my undivided attention.

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Those three days have marked me. When my schedule frees up throughout the day, instead of automatically heading for my phone, I stop and see if I feel God wants my attention, and as a result I am noticing ever-improving communication.

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