I’ve thought a lot recently about how I may be a little addicted to distraction.
Distraction from my worries.
Distraction from my questions.
Distraction from where I find myself, from the right here and the right now.
I’ve always thought it was pretty harmless; to allow my brain to switch off with the sound of Netflix switching on (tell me you just did the ‘DUH-DUMMMM’ in your head too?), to always busy myself with other things, to make sure I’m never left alone with my thoughts for too long, to spend time daydreaming about a future season when all the things I’m freaking out about will be sorted.
And hear me out- our brains need their down time!
We need to find ways that allow our hearts and brains to rest, that’s not only OK, it’s completely essential.
But what I’ve realised recently is that distraction and rest are two slightly different things: My brain needs rest when it’s tired and worn out. My brain craves distraction when it’s buzzing and overwhelmed. Rest is a necessity, distraction is an escape route.
And it was an escape route that I had become addicted to taking. Like an emergency exit that I would run to when my feelings became too much, or my questions became too loud. Like one of those ‘eject chairs’ in cartoon airplanes, I always felt the need to catapult my brain out of the moment I was in.
So, there I was, living in blissful ignorance that I had become addicted to distraction until one sunny Saturday morning: I was drinking a cup of tea in the garden and reading Joshua Luke Smith’s (insaaaaaaaanely good) book- ‘Something You Once Knew’. There was this line in it which hit me so hard I almost spilt my tea down myself. It went like this- ‘Distraction doesn’t just numb your pain, it also creates it’.
I know, it’s a true mic-drop line.
That line opened my eyes to the way I have been hurting myself while thinking I was somehow protecting myself.
Because here’s the thing: God can’t help me through a situation I’m pretending I’m not in. He can’t speak to me when I’m shutting everything out. He can’t heal me when I’m acting like I’m not hurting. He can’t answer my questions when I’m pretending they don’t exist.
You see how it works?
He’s God with us, it’s literally his name. Wherever you are right now, he’s the God of that place. He’s the God of the very moment you’re in. He’s the right-here-with-us-God. If he’s always present, and we never are, we’re in real danger of missing out on some things. Things he’s doing, things he’s saying, things he’s mending, things he’s creating.
So, with all that swirling around my mind- I’ve decided to change my escape route. I’m no longer going to bolt for the mental exist, I’m going to bolt towards God. Every time my fears tell me to make a run for it, I’ll be running into his arms. Every time my mind craves distraction, I’ll tell him so and ask him what to do next. And sure, I’ll do this very imperfectly, but he never minds that.
I’m done distracting myself from the things that overwhelm me, because when I do, I’m also distracting myself from the One who is able to overwhelm them right back.