30 May Purpose: Finding Focus in a Distraction-Filled World:
WRITTEN BY: Lindsey Daly
Eight hours and forty-three minutes
The level of shock that I felt cannot be fully put into words. No, this wasn’t the average amount of sleep that I was getting in a night (with an infant and a toddler under my roof). It wasn’t the total number of hours I had spent reading my Bible in a week, playing outside with my kids, or grabbing coffee with friends. This was the number of hours I had clocked on my phone. IN A DAY!
How in the world had I spent almost an entire waking day on my phone? Even typing out that last sentence conjures up my gag reflex.
I feel simultaneously disgusted and proud of myself. Disgusted for obvious reasons. Proud that my typical undisciplined, unfocused self could give that much time and attention to something, anything, even an inanimate object. But here was the real kicker, most of those hours (about 60% of them) were not spent talking to my mom, gleaning wisdom from her twenty-ish plus years that she has on me. They were spent on social media apps.
Now, I’m not here to rouse up some healthy debate over the pros and cons of social media (I’ll save that for another blog post). I’m simply trying to show you how distracted I am; how distracted I was. Research reports that people check their smartphones, on average, every twelve minutes during their waking hours. 71% say they never turn their phone off and 40% say they check them within five minutes of waking.
So here’s a question for you, that I’ve had to ask myself a lot since opening my screen time app: How do we stay focused on our purpose when as a culture we are so distracted?
And let’s be real, it’s not just our phones that are distracting us.
It’s our job. It’s our kids. It’s our to-do list or simply the responsibilities of life. We know what God has called us to. We know the purpose he has for our lives, but we aren’t really sure how to keep our focus. We don’t know what progress in our purpose looks like, and how to diminish the distractions because let’s be honest, they aren’t going to ever really go away altogether.
I love the direction that Proverbs 4:25 gives us;
“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.”
This is our starting point. I think Solomon (the writer of Proverbs) knew what it was like to be distracted from his purpose. I mean, the man had seven hundred wives. I thought one husband and two kids were distracting, I cannot imagine that many spouses to attend to constantly. Solomon also knew he wasn’t the only one who would need these words—we need them today as well and he knew that the best way for us to keep our focus and block out distractions is to keep our eyes on God.
So how do we do that in the day-to-day, distraction-filled moments of life? We start by:
- Looking straight ahead (not down) and finding our focus
- We put limits to the distracting devices in our hands or the screens hanging on our walls.
- We discipline ourselves when it comes to mindless scrolling and binge-watching.
If we aren’t careful, and we don’t change what surely has become a habit for so many of us, we’ll find ourselves missing out on very practical ways to live out our purpose in the day-to-day moments of life.
Second, we fix our eyes on what lies before us; Jesus. How do we do that?
- By practicing a slot and spot (our time and place with God). Spending time with him every single day, in prayer and meditating on his words. This not only helps us keep our focus but directs us toward what our focus should be on and gives us eyes to see more clearly the purpose he’s placed over our lives.
If you were to read the rest of Solomon’s story, which I encourage you to do in the book of Ecclesiastes, you’ll see that he did end up losing his focus and lost his purpose along the way. He allowed his distractions to consume his life and lost almost everything that God had given him. Let’s not be like Solomon, but let’s take his words and put them into practice. Every moment of every day. Eight hours and forty-three minutes fixing our eyes on what lies before us.
Want to learn more about discovering purpose?
- Check out this month’s message series: Open Mic!
- And Discovering Purpose in the Youversion Bible app
Lindsey Daly/Journey Worship Assistant Director/Hockessin
JLI Graduate: 2021
Lindsey Daly is a wife and mama to two young boys. She & her husband Peter live in North Wilmington, & love to travel and spend time outside. Lindsey has been gathering at the Journey since 2015 and is passionate about leading others into the presence of God through worship.