A little bit ago I was sitting on a couch at the Hill’s house. I had pulled out my phone and was looking at email or ESPN or fill in the blank. Kai Bear, my spicy/sweet little 2.5 year old, walked up and whacked my phone out of my hand. He looked at me and vehemently pointed outside and said “TRAMPOLINE!” At first I was taken aback. Come on dude, don’t just whack my phone out of my hand… then I realized he was right. I did not need to be looking at my phone. Nothing was urgent or needed to get out. I was in essence just filling or wasting my time. I was dissociating.
We have been listening to a sermon series from Bridgetown Church that they recorded in late 2019. The series is about a concept called the “Rule of Life.” One of the sermons was on digital distraction. In the sermon John Mark Comer called distraction one of the most poignant arrows of the evil one (paraphrase). Billions of dollars are spent every year to distract us. We have smart phones that constantly keep us updated on the latest news, sports, trends, where our friends are, where our frenemies are, etc.… Then we have Netflix and Prime and Disney+ and Paramount and Peacock and a never-ending stream of streaming all to distract us.
I am no different. I wish the weekly iPhone report about how much I was on my phone the previous 7 days was less. I don’t always want to be looking at my phone because if I am honest most of it is just time wasting. I am bored, or awkward or waiting for something and I end up pulling out my phone.
I feel like I came to a place where I needed tangible steps to limit my distraction. I have begun to take some of the little steps below.
Annika and I sleep without our phones/apple watches in our room. I have an actual alarm clock. Seriously, its on my bedside, and it’s great. It does not show me Mariner highlights, but it tells me what time it is and wakes me up in the morning.
I try not to look at my phone in front of my kids. TOUGH - but I want to model presence to my kids. I don’t want to be continually distracted in front of them.
I start my morning with some kind of devotional. Many of my mornings I am up and out, especially in the fall. Instead of starting my morning drive with NPR or my random book on tape or music, I listen to a devotional. Bridgetown did a daily devotional series in 2020 and 2021 that are great. They are 9-13 minutes long, and I listen to them when I am driving.
Finally – Go to bed! I am susceptible to stay up too late and watch whatever distracting stuff on TV just as much as anyone else.
I think the Lord wants us to live wholly present lives. We are constantly bombarded with distraction and tempted to dissociate. I think the evil one wants us to stay distracted. We miss our connections when we are distracted. I would challenge you to take steps towards connection and take a moment to consider what might be distracting you or tempting you to dissociate.
Have a great week!