Distraction Hinders Connection

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do? 

For many of us, we grab our phones. According to a study done by Tony Reinke for his book, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, 54% of people check their smartphones within minutes (or less) of waking up.  While there is nothing wrong with looking at your phone, email, news or social media, prioritizing it as the first thing you do may reveal something about us.

We’re not good at being alone with our thoughts, and we’re not good at being alone with God either. How many times have we started to spend time with God and his Word but then get distracted by an email, text message, or social media post? 

Distraction is one of the things that weakens our relationship with our Savior. In 1820, Pastor John Flavel wrote that if Satan can’t destroy our devotional life by getting us to ignore the habit, he will try to “distract our thoughts and break them into a thousand vanities.” We live in a world where constant distraction is the norm. This hinders us from making deep connections with God and others. 

One researcher wanted to test the theory that we are uncomfortable being distraction free. They conducted an experiment and had participants sit in an almost empty room for 10-20 minutes with no phone, watch, device or anything else that could distract them. The only thing in the room was a button next to them. Before they started the experiment, the researchers had each person practice pressing the button, which administered an uncomfortable electric shock. After they pressed the button, they were asked if they would pay not to feel the shock again. Most of the people said yes.

They were kept in the room for a total of 12 minutes where they were supposed to be silent and not get up. At the end of the experiment, 67% of the males and 25% of the females pushed the button to give themselves a shock. Look at how many people would rather experience pain over sitting quietly and thinking! 

Perhaps the reason that solitude has been a spiritual discipline practiced for centuries is because it is key in growing in our relationship with Jesus. 

In Psalm 46:10, we see God speaking and he says, “Be still and know that I am God.” When the prophet Elijah went to hear from God, God did not speak through a powerful wind, a large earthquake or a devouring fire, but through a gentle whisper or as it says in the King James Version, a “still small voice.” 

If we want to go deeper with God, we need to make it a priority to find distraction-free time to sit with him and his word, to be still and listen for his voice.
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