Distractions can be Addictive

Photo by Pratik Gupta on Unsplash

I read this phrase (title) somewhere in the past year and it stuck with me.

I have generally thought of addictions as being distracting, not the other way around. There is an interesting principle revealed in the subtlety of difference – or maybe it is the same either way, but the shift made me think. In any event, here is what I found…

A bit of context to start out – cue the lyric of Joan d’Arc, the nineteen year old who was burned at the stake for for dressing as a man, and stating that she heard from the Divine.

Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing, and so they give their lives to little or nothing. One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it…and then it’s gone. But to surrender who you are and to live without belief is more terrible than dying – even more terrible than dying young.”

As a teenager, this young lady becomes commander of the french army and leads it to several victories. Her life, military accomplishments, trial, death and ultimate canonization are well documented, you don’t benefit much from me listing them here. However, the clear conviction, focus and bravery contained within the quote above is appropriate in challenging the issue of distractions becoming addictive.

In our culture, one of the most obvious distracting addictions has become the smart phone. It is distracting in many ways. I don’t even understand the question related to whether or not they should be allowed in classrooms; we know we can’t multi-task, and we are there for education. We miss one to pay attention to the other. Take a message – it will wait. Possibly no distraction is more deadly than distracted driving – for the driver, and for many others as the vehicle hurls toward them, virtually unattended. Yet, we just can’t turn it off.

This post is not a rant about smart phone technology, distracted driving or the rights of students in the classroom. It is about the trade off: We can’t do it all, we can’t multi-task – we miss one to pay attention to the other. As distractions become addictive we “give (our) lives to little or nothing”.

We surrender our lives to more than the chirp of a smartphone in traffic. Distractions come in many forms. The more the distractions, and/or the more that we come to be addicted to them, the greater the “surrender of who you are”. Some of these distractions are comfortable. They help us cope with the harshness of life’s realities. They even protect…for a while. Then they can gradually become our master, and we are surrendered.

Are there distractions that have come to master you in life? What choice will you make today?

By the way…

Photo by Morgan Petroski on Unsplash

Historians tell us that her death was more political than not. It was not so much that she claimed to hear the voice of the Divine, as it was that she claimed the Divine instructed her to attack the English. She has many responses to these accusations during her  sensational trial, but this one stands out for me:

[Responding to trick query about whether she believed herself in a state of grace:] If I am not, may it please (the Creator) to bring me into it; if I am, may He preserve me in it.

This is a quote for the brave of heart – and a call to all to live fearlessly in grace, trusting that the love of the Creator is sure – connect to this love vine and bear its fruit.


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