Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Escaping Distraction to Find All My Needs Already Met

by Emily Conrad

I'm sitting here, wasting time. Everyone is quiet, but my mind isn't having it. Like a ping pong ball, it refuses to hit and land. What do I expect to miss by focusing instead of constantly checking my social media, email, and blog stats?

I am not my best self and I think it's partly due to not maintaining the slower, reflective practices of reading for pleasure and writing fiction for long periods. Instead, I blog and bounce around from email to website improvements to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and in so doing, I've trained my brain not to settle in and create. 

Sitting to scribble this down is a challenge in itself. But now that I've been here a minute, it gets easier. 

I try breathing like I believe I need the air.
Ironically, this glimpse into an old journal entry ends there, abruptly. Something distracted me after I'd written less than a page.

What was I afraid I'd miss? The first moment when I would receive empirical proof of my significance in the form of likes, shares, and emails. The fact that those can never be enough to satisfy can whip me into a frenzy of checking and rechecking, just waiting for events to turn and for my worth to finally be a fact tallied for all to see.

This is a poisonous way to live.

As last month's series on God's love was meant to convey, our need to be seen, known, and loved is met perfectly in God through Jesus Christ. Our worth is there, regardless of how many people like our posts on social media, regardless of how many friends text throughout the day, regardless of how many invitations we get for any particular weekend.

Because Jesus supplies for my most basic needs each moment of each day whether I am conscious of that or not, I'm free to be calm. To breathe like I need the air. To see how God is already meeting my needs, and abundantly so I don't even have to pause to think about them. To live like I already have all the love I need, because I do.

Life becomes simpler. I can cut the distractions that would have me scrambling to fulfill needs that can only be (and have already been) met in Jesus. I'm free to feed my creative mind with reading and reflection, with prayer and meaningful connections. I can relearn to focus.

And focus does take practice.

If I've been mentally hopscotching for too long, it takes determination to write just a half page in my journal. It takes a really good book to distract me from distraction. These are worth the effort. Dedicating my mind to one pursuit for longer and longer periods of time becomes easier each time I push myself to do it.

With practice, I can pray like I need the relationship, relate with friends like I need the connection, read like I need the words, and write like I need the purpose. Because I do. Just like I need the air God breathes into my lungs.

How do you slow down and put the focus on the things that matter?

I try breathing like I believe I need the air. via @emilyrconrad #focus #givemeJesus


  1. "Mentally Hopscotching" This is so me! I needed this today :) I literally have to force my mind to "stay put" and to relax takes discipline. But I'm realizing the more noisy my mind is, the less apt it is to hear God's whispers. Thanks for the reminder, Emily <3

    1. Yes! Funny you should mention God's whispers, because that's a big part of the blog post I just prepped for Thursday! Minds following a great God think alike ;)

  2. Ohhhh my word.
    I needed this. Immensely. Reading this literally calmed my anxiety fighting to get a hold as I hustle before going into the Day Job.
    Thank you for this. Literally printing it out right now to put in my Bible.

    1. I can't tell you how much of an encouragement and an honor it is to hear that God used this post this way for you today. Praying for you as you tackle your work day!

  3. Wonderful insights, Emily! This is SO me lately! Recently, though, I believe God has been re-teaching me how to calm down and focus on one thing at a time, without the social media hopping. I'm still guilty of this in the evenings, though, when I fiddle with my phone for most of my "down time," looking to see if there's a text, message, etc. Watching the latest YouTube videos and such. I know I'm wasting my time doing this, but I can't seem to stop because I need something to make me feel fulfilled. I think your post is the reminder and challenge I need to use ALL of my time in a more efficient and God-honoring manner, and to look for Him to fulfill my nighttime hours. And I know I'll feel better when I do! Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jerusha! It's true that God ought to be our fulfillment, even in our downtime.