Focus! Focus!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10


Did you know that there is no such thing as multitasking? It’s true!

What we define as multitasking is simply the synapses in our brains firing back and forth between various tasks. The more tasks we add to the mix, the less efficient we become and the more likely we are to make a mistake. There’s a reason why texting while driving is forbidden in many states, why working on two projects at the same time may not yield our intended results, and why twenty percent of pedestrians who were struck by a car said they were distracted by their mobile device.


God did not design our brains to process two things at once. Why is that? I think it’s because He wants us to live life with intentional focus—just as Jesus did.


My husband is on a five-day hiking excursion with his best friends. The night before he left, I lovingly prepared a delicious supper, which I plated as he walked in the door after a long day at work. Because our small group was meeting that night, we ate quickly. As we shoveled food into our mouths, we discussed his trip and the things I was going to do in his absence. Afterwards, I realized that my husband and I had not once made eye contact since he had arrived home. If William Shakespeare was correct when he said, “The eyes are the windows to the soul,” Greg and I did not do a very good job caring for each other.


Can you imagine Jesus acting this way?


Consider blind Bartimaeus sitting by the roadside begging when Jesus walks by with his disciples. He yells, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:46-52) But Jesus doesn’t hear him because he’s listening to music through his earbuds.


Or imagine Nicodemus seeking Jesus out in the middle of the night. If Jesus had been busy watching TV or reading a book, the apostle John would not have written three paragraphs on the concept of being born again. (John 3:3-21) That’s way beyond the normal length of a text message!


And what if Jesus had been consumed with his Facebook and Instagram posts when the teachers of the law brought him the woman caught in adultery? (John 8:1-11) I dare speculate that she would have been stoned to death.


I have nothing against social media and technology, but our lives have become so overloaded with these things that we sacrifice quality in our relationships for quantity in our experiences. We speak in soundbites because we don’t have time for long conversations. We cook dinner with the television blaring. We talk on our cell phones as our kids play video games on their iPads. We complain, but we don’t slow down. But what if we did?


Stress levels and the use of anti-anxiety meds would decrease. There would be less depression and fewer accidents. Test scores and productivity would improve. Relationships would be strengthened. I’m not making this stuff up! There have been numerous studies done on the dangers of multitasking and spending too much time in front of a computer screen.


But here’s the bottom line: It’s simply not possible to love God, love our neighbor, or love ourselves if our focus is scattered. If God does indeed have plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11) and good works for me to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10), I need to be attentive, be present, be willing, and be ready. I am, after all, a human being, not a human doing.


So, starting tomorrow I’m going to try turning my cell phone off for a couple of hours each day. Perhaps I’ll cut back on screen time, too. And when my husband returns from his hiking trip, I plan to sit across from him, look deeply into his brown eyes, and intentionally ask him about his adventures.


THE SONG THAT COMES TO MIND IS The Beautiful Things We Miss by Matthew West.

Lyrics: “Open up my eyes Lord. Keep in the moment just like this before the beautiful things we love become the beautiful things we miss.”

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