In a culture where people are regularly engaged with social media, text messaging, endless TV options, multi-tasking, and overcommitted to work, volunteer, and personal obligations, it should be no surprise that many of us live each day less than fully present in each moment. We have come to expect frequent interruptions, and have landed in a place of perpetual distractions. A distraction is defined as “a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to someone else.” Consider these statistics:
– Over 6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. everyday.
– In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed in the U.S., and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
– The average person spends nearly two hours on social media every day, which translates to a total of 5 years and 4 months spent over a lifetime.
– More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.
– It is projected that the average person will spend 7 years and 8 months watching TV in a lifetime.
– Americans reportedly work more than anyone in the industrialized world, and take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later.
Every 4th Thursday, the Freshview young adult ministry gathers for “SELAH” – a gathering where young adults take a pause from distractions and other commitments, and fellowship while seeking a deeper relationship with God in a safe space. Last month, SELAH focused on distractions. We considered the many ways we are daily distracted, and the cost of those distractions. For example, we noted that distractions weaken genuine connection with family and friends, lessen available time for productive endeavors, cost us much needed sleep, and create unnecessary distance in our relationships with God. We also acknowledged that we are not the first followers of Jesus to suffer distraction. In Luke 10:38-42, two sisters, Mary and Martha, welcome Jesus into Martha’s house. Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” Although Martha was working hard to make Jesus feel welcome in her home, Jesus was not impressed by her service; in fact, he called her “anxious” and “troubled.” Jesus went on to explain that when Mary sat down at His feet and gave Him her full attention, Mary made a great choice. Not only did Mary benefit from fully hearing the Savior’s words, but she also seized the opportunity to build relationship with Jesus.
No matter how great we may be at multitasking, something is lost when we are not focused and centered on what is most important. Our challenge then is to prioritize and be fully present for God first and foremost, ourselves (yes self-care is important), and our families, friends, employers/coworkers, church family, and others. We know that there is a cost when we yield to distractions; we are more tired, frustrated, confused, and less productive. God wants our attention. Our full attention. And His way is perfect. Like Mary, let’s choose the good portion. Read More
– Summer Pearson