Back After Distraction …

After taking a three month sabbatical from blogging, Facebook posting, Twitter, and following over 100 blogs … I am back. Which begs the question: “Where have I been?”

It was three months ago that I read the book, “The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion” by Tim Challies (if you have not read it, I would highly recommend you do). It was then that I decided, without fanfare, to absence myself from my digital life. Namely, because distraction had become a way of life.

Paul Graham writes, “Distraction is not a static obstacle that you avoid like you might avoid a rock in the road. Distraction seeks you out” (The Next Story, pg. 116). Technology was continually seeking me out, finding me wherever I was, and drawing me somewhere else. While all of these technological devices were allowing me to communicate with those who were far from me, it was at the expense of those closest to me – my wife, children, and church. I was beginning to be shaped by technology. Distraction was becoming my identity. I was losing my ability to focus; especially the ability to focus on the people I love.

Challies writes, “If we are a distracted people … it stands to reason that we would also be a distracted church, a church with a diminished ability to think deeply, to cultivate concentration, to emphasize slow, deliberate, thoughtful meditation (The Next Story, pg. 116).” He continues, “… we are quickly becoming people of shallow thoughts, and shallow thoughts lead to shallow living (The Next Story, pg. 117.)”

Distraction —-> Shallow Thinking —-> Shallow Living

So, over the past three months, I have spent time identifying and destroying distractions. I began eliminating everything that I could find that dulled my mind instead of sharpening it. I deleted RSS feeds, and subscriptions, and stopped following those who (in my own invented words, “twoted tweets that were not worthy being twoted”).  I have sought solitude from the daily barrage of distraction.

And now I am rejoining the digital age, but with intention and purpose. Data, information, and knowledge (terms defined in The Next Story) are to be turned into wisdom; the living out of knowledge.

Data —-> Information —-> Knowledge —-> Wisdom

Therefore, I am seeking to measure the input of information to my life. I am simplifying. I am seeking those things which will heighten my desire for God, and His Word. I want my digital intake to deepen my yearning for God, and not distract me from Him.

If wisdom (putting knowledge into practice) is the goal of all our collection information and knowledge, then this means that the information I publish to this digital world will look slightly different as well. It means that this blog will not be aimed at publishing for the masses. Rather, it will be aimed at encouraging the relationships closest to me; namely, my family and Christ’s church that meets at the building located at 2430 Neola Street, Cedar Falls, IA 50613. It means that meeting with people (both believers and unbelievers) will take priority over digitally publishing thoughts about meeting with people. It means that helping others will take priority over writing about helping people. It means, in short, the gospel has begun to redeem my distracted digital life.

May God be pleased to grant me grace to live undistracted for His glory!

Oh God, My Exceeding Joy,

Singing thy praises uplifts my heart, for thou art a fountain of delight, and dost bless the soul that joys in thee.

Because of my hearts rebellion I cannot always praise thee as I ought; Yet I will at all times rest myself in thy excellences, goodness, and loving-kindness.

Thou art in Jesus the object of inexpressible joy, and I take exceeding pleasure in the thought of thee.

But Lord, I am sometimes thy enemy; my nature revolts and wanders from thee.

Though thou hast renewed me, yet evil corruptions urge me still to oppose thee.

Help me to extol thee with entire heart-submission, to be diligent in self-examination, to ask myself whether I am truly born again, whether my spirit is the spirit of thy children, whether my griefs are those that tear repenting hearts, whether my joys are the joys of faith, whether my confidence in Christ works by love and purifies the soul.

Give me the sweet results of faith, in my secret character, and in my public life.

Cast cords of love around my heart, then hold me and never let me go.

May the Savior’s wounds sway me more tan the scepter of princes.

Let me love thee in a love that covers and swallows up all, that I may not violate my chaste union with the beloved; there is much unconquered territory in my nature, scourge out the buyers and sellers of my soul’s temple, and give me in return pure desires, and longings after perfect holiness.

A Puritan Prayer from “The Valley of Vision” pg. 344. 

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