My son is a precious knucklehead. He DRIVES ME INSANE because it is physiologically impossible for him to complete one simple task without finding about 6 things to do on the way. I am on the brink with him, and I have gotten to where I have no grace for this behavior. Hmm.
I got stopped in my tracks the other day in mid-holler. It dawned on me that I do the exact same thing, and just as often. How can I expect my kids to maintain perfect presence of mind, when I am chronically distracted??!! More and more it seems harder to maintain focus on my priorities. I have come to realize that I walk around feeling directionless, disgruntled, and unhappy when my priorities are misaligned.
These distractions bombard me constantly all day, they act like little forks in the road. Combine that with the fact that I am a car with terribly bad alignment: there is an inherent constant drift. If it all goes unchecked, I end up far off the path I set out on. Pretty soon, I take a look at my day and realize–whoa. I am NOT where I wanted to be at the end of this day. Many of those kinds of days go by and suddenly I am just plain not where I want to BE. So, I have a mini-crash, then recenter, and give it another go.
There is so much noise out there. I can’t even coach some of our girls because they are plugged in and checked out during our group workouts. That is a small example. But as a whole, our lives can be hijacked by the onslaught of media, and competition and materialism…whatever your particular distraction may be. It snowballs…and can take over. And the more the noise, the harder it seems to rise above it.
I guess the root of the matter is fear. I so want to be on top of everything, in the know, in the loop, on the cusp, with it. It’s as if I might miss something. I can’t stand to sit by and watch my children be usurped the same way. I want to be an example of focus and presence to the children.
It takes effort to identify the distractors that you are susceptible to fall for. Here are a few of my ideas that have helped me avoid the drift.
1. I refuse to be a victim of the mass market. The media sees me as nothing but a slave to their latest trinket. I feel proud to stand up against it, and make the most of what I have right now.
2. Make my home, in its CURRENT condition, our santuary. Get rid of the poison, toxic distractors that the world says I “need” and make it a clean canvas. That might mean anything from dumping out the ice cream and chocolate (which distract and make me feel defeated when I give in), to changing the music I am listening to (which can throw me back into distracting bad memories), to throwing out the magazines selling me my fictional dreams, to turning off my computer or phone. Not all the time. Just often.
3. Have confidence in my priorities. I am not missing out on anything out there that matters. The truth is, I am so much better about keeping up with my man, my children and my friends, when I keep my distractors at bay. The people around you are all you have. Our pastor says this phrase pretty often, “there are only two things that last forever: the Word of God, and people.”
I refuse to allow the distractions to steal my daily precious moments. While I am focused elsewhere, my sweet boy is telling me a story about how he hurt his “thinger” on his race car track. Initially, I tell him to shake it off, while I go about my business…providentially, I quickly realize the opportunity to speak his love language with a kiss and a bandaid and the ice pack. He looks at me with those big eyes, so grateful. Glad I didn’t miss that one.