What is Your Brand of Distraction?

Sharla Fritz

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Oct 13, 2022
What is Your Brand of Distraction?

Endless diversions pull us from the one thing we are to relentlessly pursue—loving God.

Nike or Avia. Coach or Fossil. Ann Taylor or Liz Claiborne. We each have our favorite brand—a trademark symbol that draws us in and tugs at our wallets.

Each of us also has a distinctive brand of distraction. A signature diversion that not only draws us in but pulls us away from the job at hand. A frequent interruption that diverts our attention from the people we care about. A constant disruption from the life we were meant to live.

Twenty-first-century living has no shortage of distractions. Cell phones in our pockets. Piles of unfinished work on our desks. Endless meetings written in the pages of our calendars.

Modern life allows us to continuously connect with others and find endless entertainment. But it rarely offers the capability to focus. Like the small screens in our pockets, we are continuously bouncing from one task to another.

And looking at the big picture, we see that distractions often prevent us from accomplishing our purpose in life. They draw us away from meaningful relationships with friends and family. Endless diversions pull us from the one thing we are to relentlessly pursue—loving God.

Even though we all face the distractions of life, we may each favor one particular brand of distraction. The pull of this diversion is often stronger than your resolve to complete the task at hand, more powerful than your determination to follow God’s purpose for your life. 

What is your most problematic distraction? And how can you overcome it? Here, you can discover some big-picture ideas and “small screen” steps to avoid detours in your journey with God and practical steps to accomplish your daily work.

If Your Brand of Distraction is Stuff:

Pretty new things bring a little joy. You find it hard to pass up sales. Shopping is a favorite pastime. You also find it hard to part with things—so papers, clothes, and household items tend to pile up, preventing you from focusing on what is important in life.

Big picture: Remember Christ’s words, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-20). Our hearts can easily be distracted by having the coolest gadgets, the latest fashions, and the newest designer purse. This week, declare a shopping fast. Buy only necessities. Stay out of stores as much as possible. Use the time to read Scripture and draw close to Christ.

Small screen: Before typing the report due today, clean off your desk. Set a fifteen-minute timer to neaten up files, put pens in a drawer, and toss out month-old memos. If your desk looks like the set of a disaster film, simply use the fifteen minutes to shovel all the stuff into a box and block out an hour in the next week to deal with the deluge. Without the distraction of all the stuff, you will be able to concentrate on the job that needs to be done now.

If Your Brand of Distraction is Busyness:

To you, a full calendar is proof of a full life. So you sign up for Bible studies and Zoomba classes. Your children are involved in baseball, soccer, and math teams. But now you’ve said yes to so many activities that few are fun anymore. You are so distracted by your schedule that your friends and family feel neglected. 

Big picture: Take time to evaluate which activities are most important to you. Which pursuits give you meaning and joy? Which ones have become merely duties and life noise? Ask God for wisdom to choose the best. “It is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent” (Philippians 1:9-10).

Small screen: Declare a week off from all activities that you don’t absolutely need to attend. Let the kids miss ballet and karate. Skip book club and Pilates. Hunker down in the family room with board games, home videos, and a big bowl of popcorn. Read the book that sat on your nightstand for three months. Call up a friend for a long chat.

If Your Brand of Distraction is What is Going on Inside Your Head:

You’re the person who continually listens to Worry, Anxiety, and Self-doubt as they carry on a conversation in your head. Your own thoughts keep you from completing your work on time. They prevent you from enjoying the people in your life. 

Big picture: The best way to overcome negative thinking is by spending time in God’s Word. God wants to transform our minds: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Although it may seem counter-intuitive to spend time reading the Bible when there are so many other things that need to be done, storing God’s Word in our hearts and minds is the best way to shut up Anxiety and Self-doubt and live a purposeful life.

Small screen: It is nearly impossible to simply shut off our anxious thoughts, but we can learn to replace those thoughts with positive phrases. Instead of “I’ll never get this report done in time,” try “I will work on this project for one hour and see what progress I’ve made.” Instead of repeating, “I’ll never be a good enough mom,” tell yourself, “God has entrusted these children to me. He will also provide the strength and wisdom I need.”

If Your Brand of Distraction is Technology:

Checking out your friends’ latest Facebook posts and your Twitter feed prevents you from being in the moment with your family. Ringing phones and countless emails distract you from finishing the article due tomorrow. You find it hard to concentrate on your friend’s words at the coffee shop because a little screen beckons your attention. 

Big picture: Consider declaring Sunday a technology-free day. In Exodus, God said, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). To make something holy is to set it aside for God’s use. No email, Facebook, Twitter, or video games on Sundays helps you and your family concentrate on the Giver of time. Breaking free of technology for one day helps you to spend quality time with your loved ones. 

Small screen: Turn off the Internet when you need to get real work done on your computer. Shut off all push notifications. Put your phone in your purse or pocket when you’re with a friend. Declare no screens at family dinner time. Connect with the people present.

Perhaps you will always buy your favorite Nike shoes. Maybe you still can’t resist that new Coach handbag. But hopefully, you will stand firm against your favorite brand of distraction. 

Decide which distraction is pulling you away from your responsibilities and God-given purpose. Take steps this week to turn off the distractions and follow Christ. He graciously holds out His hand to guide you into a fulfilling life.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/nortonrsx

Sharla Fritz is a Christian author and speaker who weaves honest and humorous stories into life-changing Bible study. Author of the new book Measured by Grace: How God Defines Success, Sharla writes about God’s transforming grace and unfailing love. Sharla lives in the Chicago suburbs with her amusing pastor husband. Get her FREE ebook 21 Five-Minute Soul-Rest Practices or connect with Sharla at www.sharlafritz.com and Facebook.