It’s no secret that we live in a distracted age. Never, in the history of humanity, have there been so many things vying for our attention. Between phones, the internet, television, and public advertising, we are always being encouraged to watch something, to read something, to do something, or to buy something. We live in a distracted and distracting age.
Given the human condition, it’s not like we needed any help!
Because of sin, distortion, trauma, and fig leaves, we are already prone to alienation from God, self, and others. Our current culture only exacerbates some of the ugly aspects of that core condition.
And this distraction has grave consequences, doesn’t it?
- With regard to our relationship with God, what could possibly be more important than being connected to God and paying attention to God’s prompts?
- With regard to the self, what is lost when we are unable to do the work of sustained introspection and soul-searching?
- With respect to others, what more could we offer them than our undivided attention? As David Augsburger wrote, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” (And the same could be said for being seen)
It’s no coincidence that Jesus addresses all three relationships when he provides the most important instruction of all: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
If distraction exacerbates a human tendency toward alienation from God, self, and others … and if distraction obstructs our ability to fulfill the greatest commandment from our Lord and Savior, I think we can trust that the Vine-grower would like to give us a little trim. Like most pruning, this can be unpleasant. And yet, it could also lead to amazing flourishing and fruit!
Truth is, God designed us for union and communion—union with himself and communion with others. That can be such a motivating factor for me! I can be so prone to distraction, but I long to experience that intended design, full of loving union and communion!
I’m trusting that if you and I welcome the pruning of distraction, we will also step closer toward that intended design. God desires that we love God, self, & others, and in the process, bear much fruit.
TODAY’s REFLECTION: Today, with the Spirit’s help, maybe we could notice the ways we are prone to distraction—distraction from God, from ourselves, and from others? In those moments, what if we examined why we’re so easily distracted and then asked God to prune all that doesn’t belong? As we do, let’s pray that the Vine-grower would help us bear the fruit associated with being fully present to God, self, and others.