The Danger of Distraction
Think about the things going on in your life right now.
Maybe you have a huge amount of schoolwork, your family is rushing from activity to activity, or maybe work is crazy and you’re working 60-hour weeks. And on top of that, as Christmas and New Year’s approach, what should be a restful season filled with joy is sometimes filled with chaos and anxiety.
While none of these things are inherently bad, if they are distracting you from living a purpose-filled life in Christ, it might be time to reevaluate the commitments in your life.
My pastor often says, “The devil doesn’t need to destroy you if he can distract you.”
In a world that is constantly moving, it is far too easy to fall victim to distraction. It can feel like a hopeless cycle of events leaving you drained, unfulfilled, and disconnected from God.
Jesus says, “Peace I leave you; peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). This peace is not affected by our circumstances; it transcends all understanding.
So, how can we access this kind of peace? How can we live a life undistracted?
1. Take a look at how you’re spending your time.
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
But what does that look like?
Maybe you’ve found that recently you’ve spent a lot of time mindlessly scrolling through social media or obsessing over the latest headlines. These things can cause anxiety, distracting you from how God is working.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be uninformed about what’s happening in the world or avoid checking social media altogether. But how are these things affecting your mind? How are they affecting your life?
Take a step back and decide where you can implement boundaries in your life. Maybe instead of checking social media when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, you decide to read God’s Word on your phone or pray. Create rhythms of rest in your daily routine.
2. Fight against distraction.
In Galatians 5, Pauls also says that one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23). As followers of Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. We can’t fight against distraction on our own. It is only through the power of God that we can center our hearts and minds on him.
Pray for the self-control to set boundaries and for your thoughts and mind to reflect God’s purpose for your life. Going against a culture of hurry takes discipline. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen unintentionally.
3. Ask for accountability.
Recently, my leader at work asked how she could pray for me. As I told her how drained and tired I was, but she stopped me and told me that I had asked her a month ago to pray for that exact same thing. Then she asked me, “What have you done this past month to change how you’re prioritizing things in your life?”
When she asked me that question, I realized I hadn’t stayed still long enough to even process what was taking up my time or why I felt so tired and drained.
She offered some practical advice. She said that by the end of the year, I should work on making my “no” list longer than my “yes” list. Even in the “no’s,” you are loving others and yourself well, ultimately, glorifying God with your time.
If you are overcommitted, you can’t give 100% to everyone and everything. And, most importantly, you may miss what God wants to do in and through your life.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God.”
In the midst of the hurry, take time to quiet your mind and pray for God’s peace. Set boundaries around what you’re filling your mind with and how you’re spending your time. Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable. And in the moments of relapse, remember that God offers grace.
Life is busy. The reality is, it will never not be busy unless you intentionally set aside time to rest, quiet your mind, and connect with God and his Word.
Kali Gibson is the editor-in-chief for So We Speak and a copywriter for the Youversion Bible App.