When Distractions Overtake Us

apple pie.jpg

Some of you know that I love pie. This past Fall our school had a fund-raiser with Elegant Farmer pies and someone in our family bought six just to be on the safe side to make sure that we would have enough. We worked through those pies as a family over the course of the winter. It’s possible I ate more than my fair share. Sometimes, I think that I could eat pie all the time, but if I did that, well, the results wouldn’t be good in my waistline or in my internal bodily health

This is sort of true in our lives overall. Our lives are made up of different roles or functions:

  • we are students
  • we are children
  • we may have job, so we are workers
  • we may be athletes, or musicians, or artists
  • we have leisure roles, like keeping up with Snapchat, hanging out with friends, or playing video games

Life roles

There is usually a sort of order to our roles They don’t always look like this, but there is a fairly even distribution to them. But sometimes our lives get out of whack. We lose focus and one or two of our functions get out of proportion to what they should be. If I decided that eating Elegant Farmer pies was my primary role in life, having more importance than being a husband, a father, a son, a friend, or a worker, it might look like this.

Disordered ife roles

For others of us, this happens in various other ways: one relationship may overtake everything else (codependent), our work may overtake everything else (workaholic), a substance, like alcohol or drugs, may overtake everything else (addiction), or one of our hobbies, like social media or video games may overtake everything else.

When this happens, we become confused about life and about ourselves. In this state, we are divided in our hearts and vulnerable to so many messages that come our way that lead us in all too many different directions. Not only do our actions become confused, but our desires become misdirected. It’s that experience you have when you realize you’ve been scanning through Instagram for the last 30 minutes but can’t remember anything you saw. It’s like that feeling when you know you should be working on your homework, but you end up binge-watching something on Netflix. We keep taking things in, even when we don’t really want to.

The Apostle Paul talks about this reality in his letter to the churches in the city of Rome in this way:

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)

“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:19)

In this sort of place, we realize that there are so many things shaping us as people in so many ways that we are becoming misdirected as people from the good life into so many other things. Not all of them are bad, but even neutral distractions piled on top of one another become bad when they take us away from what is truly good.

How have distractions moved you away from what is most important?

Have you found your life roles getting out of whack because what is not central has overtaken your time and energy?

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