Detaching from Distractions

Recently, I arrived at the gym for my usual morning workout and realized I didn’t have my phone. I changed my normal routine that morning, and instead of going straight to the gym, I searched the house for something I needed later in the day. When I realized I was phone-less, I thought about going back to get it, but convinced myself it was foolish to imagine I couldn’t do without it, or that someone would need me urgently that early in the morning. But as I began my workout, I felt as if I were missing an appendage. I couldn’t track all the things I usually do and felt anxious about whether I was getting the most effective workout for the time I was investing.

It’s amazing how attached we are to technology gadgets, those little time-wasting distractors that are simultaneously helpful and harmful. Before the advent of cell phones, I never felt the need to be so informed. I’d walk or exercise at the gym for an hour and never think about whether my heart rate was in the peak zone, my calorie burn was optimum, or my step count was nearing the minimum for the day. I didn’t check for breaking news or scroll social media sites. When I walked, I thought about possible solutions for problems, worked through some hurt I’d experienced, got ideas for writing projects, or prayed for friends and family members. Often, I just enjoyed the beauty of my surroundings.

In our fast-paced world, where we are constantly bombarded with breaking news, stock market reports, emails, text messages, and social media updates, taking time to detach is as important as breathing. Yet we often squelch creativity, neglect relationships, and smother emotions with distractions.

Distractions make us delay working through life issues and thwart new goals. They hold us captive and prevent forward motion. If we could measure all the hours we waste with distractions, we’d be amazed. We’d try harder to redeem the time and give priority to more important aspects of our lives.

This week is a great time to begin the practice of detaching. Purposely distance yourself from technology for at least thirty minutes each day, longer if you can. Go outside. Bask in your surroundings and take advantage of detached time to read scripture or something inspirational. Think. Pray. Be still and listen for God’s voice. Let him nudge you in the direction of something you need to work on: envy, unforgiveness, anxiety, control, anger, fear. Journal your thoughts and feelings. Take time to think, feel, and let go of long-held resentment, distrust, and bitterness. Allow peace to wash over you. Any amount of time you invest in focused thought, prayer, and listening multiplies the sense of contentment, joy, and peace you experience. Soon, you’ll crave escape from the distractions of technology and reap the benefits.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NLT

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