Make Time for Interruptions, Not Distractions
- Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Always seek opportunities of doing good both to one another and to all the world (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
Since I spend a lot of time away from home traveling on business, I have many chances to observe people in all sorts of situations throughout the country—on campuses, in downtown areas, as part of large gatherings and on public transportation. I have encountered scores who seem preoccupied and almost oblivious to their environment and impact on others.
I have come to the conclusion we live in a distracted world.
Armed with an “i-device” of some sort, I am finding more and more are choosing to distract themselves with music, texting, social networking, games and videos, rather than noticing and interacting with one another in person. Countless seem to be tuning-out personal contact and replacing it with virtual communication and entertainment.
Many of us utilize every “spare” moment we have on our phone, iPod, television, or computer. I understand all of these items are useful and necessary; however countless are engaging in these activities just to fill (or kill) time. A recent study by uSamp, an online market research company, found these kinds of distractions can impact production by up to seventy-one percent if not properly managed.
Whatever distractive behavior we engage in, we have become almost conditioned to always be listening to something, having something in our hands or having something in front of us every minute of the day. If you don’t believe it, try leaving home without your phone sometime. As a result, we are becoming disconnected and isolated from one another and our surroundings.
New York City lawmakers have gone to the extent of proposing a ban on crossing a street while listening to headphones or talking on your cell phone. Oregon and California are also considering a similar legislation along with the hopes of extending the ban to other activities.
Most states have or are considering bills prohibiting drivers from all handheld cell phone use including texting, while some have even passed a “distracted driver law” which allows an officer to cite a person if they were distracted with any non-driving behavior.
I wonder how I would fare if there was a law against living a distracted life?
The 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language defines a “distraction” as confusion from a multiplicity of objects crowding on the mind and calling the attention different ways.
Written almost two hundred years ago, Webster seemed to have known exactly what a distraction in the twenty-first century was going to look like and describes the game plan of the enemy’s most effective tool of late—utilizing our fixation with electronics, the Internet and need to be actively “doing something” to crowd our mind and divert our attention away from our reason for being here.
That reason, according to Jesus, is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).
In our already busy lives, running from place to place, rarely having time to accomplish everything, barely having a moment to eat and never meeting all of the demands placed upon us, we willingly distract ourselves during those few moments we have instead of seeking opportunities of doing good.
Jesus exhibited time and again how easy it is just by noticing, stopping, and responding.
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers . . .” Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:18-19).
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