It started mid-morning when the routine of the day felt lifeless. Without thinking, I opened the browser, typed “Fa,” and autofill did the rest sending me directly to Facebook. After an unknown amount of time, looking at vapidly entertaining content, I jumped over to Twitter, and it was more of the same. I checked to see what was trending to see if I was missing anything. I was. A politician had said something to make half the population mad and the other half defend them, Twitter had suspended someone causing them to trend on Twitter, and K-pop fans were saying something nonsensical, to me, at least. The fever pitch these topics generated spoke to their significance even though the throng will forget them by morning. When my “break” was over, I got back to the responsibilities that pressed in on my day.
Later that night, exhausted from work, I grabbed the Roku remote and began looking for something to spark my tired soul. Multiple streaming services were available to peruse. Twenty minutes and countless uninspiring previews later, I chose to watch the least-tedious content I could find. Then it was off to bed.
When I awoke the next morning, I dropped my feet to the floor, sat on the edge of the bed, and rubbed my eyes. On autopilot, I grabbed my phone off the nightstand to see what was new. The world had not slept. An entirely new set of trends, memes, and videos filled the screen. Long before work hours, even work emails created a sense of urgency in me that caused me to respond before eating breakfast.
As I grabbed my bag to head to the car, I clicked through a few apps to find a podcast, book, or something to fill my 30-minute commute. Decision fatigue cut the search short, so I drove in silence. Without any distraction, I began to consider what had me scrolling so much. I was looking for something, and it was not more content. I was looking for something to make me feel alive but often finding the exact opposite. I was scrolling for life, and since I occasionally found something that provided some excitement to the day’s routine, like an addicted gambler, I was probably going to continue scrolling for the rest of my life. Pondering my patterns, I felt something gnawing at me from deep within my soul.
We all tend to do this. Whether we search on our phones, in our careers, or in our family life, we seem to be looking for something. It is as if an eternal ache has been implanted in our hearts. In all my scrolling and searching I tend to forget that on the nightstand, where I picked up my phone first thing in the morning, sits a leather-bound book. It is the very word of God. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and preserved down through the ages by a great cloud of witnesses and the blood of the martyrs. These saints found life in its pages and were willing to lose theirs so you and I could read its truth. It imbued them with a holy calling and the strength to heed that call.
Its pages are permeated with light, and it promises to be a lamp unto my feet. It speaks to my daily scrolling and tells me my soul clings to dust, but its words can give me life. Its statutes can be my song. Unlike the bitter taste left in my mouth by my current consumption, its words are sweet to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. It offers forgiveness for my misdirected desires and points me home. It reminds me of a future reward and lets me know I have a calling. Like all Christians, it calls me to join the greatest campaign known to man; knowing God, living for his glory, and enjoying him forever.
I need its words to keep me from being distracted, but I also need to stop being distracted to read its words. This tension seems to be an endless cycle. The enemy will do everything he can to keep me distracting myself to death, but the Holy Spirit reminds me of what is waiting for me at home next to my bed if only I would pick it up. Who will win in this scenario? With a sigh of relief, I am reminded of one other passage found in that great book of life. “Greater is he who is in me, than he who is in the world.”
5 thoughts on “Distracting Ourselves to Death”
Doug, this is so good, and right on the money for me. I totally identify and am encouraged by this to keep fighting the good fight and keep distraction (and the enemy) at bay!
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Thanks, Ben. I appreciate the encouragement. We are in the fight together.