Someone told me they had a squirrel’s attention span, meaning that their focus ping-ponged from this to that, regardless of what this or that was.
Unfortunately, distraction is the air we breathe these days. It’s hard to avoid. We are continually interrupted, bombarded with information and advertising, or the next shiny new thing.
Alan Noble has a word of caution: “Living a distracted lifestyle does more than waste our time, it forms our minds, often in ways that are harmful for deep, sustained thought—the kind of thought so important to religious discourse.”*
That’s helpful. It seems we’re losing the capacity to think deeply and in a sustained way about important things. Do you want to know who loses in that scenario? We do. So do the people we care about.
Proverbs 4:25 (and several passages like it) informs us that focus is a virtue: “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” Ping-ponging from one mostly irrelevant thing to the next is for squirrels, not for people who are made in God’s image and summoned to honour him with our priorities.
To start, it can be as simple as:
-turning your ringer and notifications off
-only having only one browser open at a time
-not filling every morsel of silence with sound
If a distracted lifestyle not only wastes our time but forms our minds, then the opposite should also be true: An intentional, thoughtful lifestyle is a good use of time and forms our minds for God’s glory…
…and for our sanity.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
–*Alan Noble, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age (Downer Grove: IVP, 2018), 20.