Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Distraction

As a culture, we are a distracted people. Not long ago I was having a discussion about how babies crying in a church service can be distracting to some people. (Not to mention typos in the power point, problems with the tech side of things, sitting near the entrance and exit doors, and the list goes on.) Why is it so easy to get distracted? Why do we pay more attention to the door behind the shoulder of the person we are talking with, than we do to what they are talking about? It's not like Meg Ryan is going to walk in and if you don't look up at her you are going to miss the opportunity of a lifetime or anything.

I found resolve to my questions within the belief that distraction is a choice. We can only have our attention turned away from something if we want to be distracted. The sermon must be boring you or at least you haven't made the effort to focus your attention on the pastor yet for the crying baby 20 rows behind you to really be that big of a problem.

I believe that focus is not a talent to be bestowed, its a skill to be developed. That is why I consider it a lame excuse when someone doesn't pay attention and blames something else for their lack of concentration.

This reminds me of a game we use to play at camp. We would blindfold the students and line them up at one end of the field while we walked to the other. Then we would shout out "GO" and they would start walking (swerving is more like it.) All the while, as they made their individual journey across the field we would be calling their name softly. Along the way they would encounter other sounds too- car horns, clapping, singing, etc trying to distract them from our voices calling to them. The goal was to focus your attention-in this case through hearing, on the voice calling you to the finish line. After the game we would talk about the significance of the exersize. The truth was that if you managed to focus, you could find where you were needing to go. We applied this to Scripture and how God calls us by our name but many things will try to distract us from reaching His goal. Basically, we were attempting to teach that focus must be voluntary and pursued because it wouldn't come naturally.

So if you want to learn, grow, hear, understand, etc then focus. Or at least take responsibility for your lack of effort when you get distracted.

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