The Deception of Distraction

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I come home from work, exhausted, and collapse into a chair. Impulsively, I reach for my phone and scroll quickly through social media, looking for something to help me unwind, shut my brain off for a minute. The lives I see look much more perfect than my own, though I only see them through filtered snapshots. Before I know it, twenty minutes have gone by, and I am no less tired than I was before. In fact, now I’m not just tired, but my brain feels like a hamster wheel from processing so many pieces of information at once.

Why do we get so distracted? Is it escape, the promise of passing pleasure, attention? Sometimes it might be loneliness, the desire for connection, or just something to fill the time. Do you ever notice, though, that in giving in to distraction, you end up being more distracted? At the end, you’re still alone, still bored, still restless?

Sometimes, I want to throw my phone in the trash and be done with it forever. Yet the one day that I forgot it at home, I felt like an arm was missing. Boy, did I get a lot done that day!

Ok, so what’s the real problem here? Is it Smartphone addiction? Entertainment addiction? Or is it something deeper?

It says in the book of Jeremiah that the heart is deceitful above all things, desperately sick (Jer 17:9). James says that sin begins with our desires, which originate in the heart (Jam 1:15-16). So we are deceived when we give in to our desires because they are false desires. They promise life, but actually lead to death. Is it wrong to go on social media? Or watch a movie? No, not in and of itself. And this is what I have struggled with in the past. I have tended to view the thing itself as the sin, and so think that I should banish it forever. But the real question is, why am I wanting to use this? Where is my heart at? What is the lie about this that I am believing?

James 1:18 says that God is the Father of every good and perfect gift. Then it goes on to talk about our salvation, which is the ultimate gift. And how were we saved? By the word of truth. Life is only found through the Word of God. So our job is to find the lies that we are believing, and replace them with the truth. If I am giving into distraction because I am trying to find satisfaction in something other than God, then I need to repent, and find out what the Word says.

My soul is satisfied as with the richest of foods; with joyful lips my mouth will praise You. Psalm 63:5

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.  Psalm 107:5

I will not set before my eyes
    anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
    it shall not cling to me.

Ps 101:3

The other day at work, the dog ate my lunch, the boys didn’t sleep a wink, the dog threw up my lunch, and I left the gas stove on for an hour and a half and almost burned the house down. However, when I arrived home, I was joyful and energetic! Why? Because I had been spending time in the Word instead of feeding my own desires. And you know what? It transforms you. It brings peace and joy when before there was anxiety and depression. It enables us to have a heavenly perspective and laugh instead of become angry. It is so crucial, friends, to align ourselves with truth. No, it won’t fix everything immediately, but it will change our perspective in time. Let’s put boundaries around distracting things so that we do not lose sight of what really matters. And let’s feed our minds with the Word of God. Because it leads us to Jesus, who is our life.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.

Ps 27:4