“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” –Philippians 4:8
Distractions, we all have them. They keep us from thinking about those things that are really important in our lives; God, family, and friends.
As technology advances being distracted from what is important becomes easier than ever. We spend hours on social media tethered to our smart phones, tablets and laptops. And now, the 2016 presidential election campaigns have taken over social media and the noise has been amplified to an unprecedented level.
Have you noticed that people seem to be more irritated, negative, and angrier than ever since the campaigns have kicked in to high gear. Polarization, partisan politics, and personal attacks have replaced pictures of grandkids, vacation photos, and inspirational quotes from your Facebook timeline. Yet, we continue to spend hours on social media sites getting more and more frustrated by the minute, unfriending those with differing political opinions and sharing any post that mirrors ours.
As Christians, we must ask ourselves if this is what should be occupying our thoughts. Are we giving any time to God? Are we ignoring our prayer life? Does politics dominate every conversation throughout the day?
“I am telling you this for your own benefit, not to impose a restraint upon you, but for the sake of propriety and adherence to the Lord without distraction.” –1 Corinthians 7:35
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be good citizens and that politics is unimportant, but the media has elevated the presidential campaign to an unhealthy level. Each party will spend 3 billion dollars to dominate your every waking moment.
How do we detach ourselves from the noise? How do we get the information we need to make good voting decisions without the election taking over our lives? How do we escape?
Here are a few ideas that might make your life a little happier between now and the November election. As a matter of fact, you might want to make these ideas part of your everyday life.
Designate a “noise free” time every day. For me some of that time is in the car. Driving home from work I can spend some time just looking at the scenery, relax with some soothing music on the radio. When I get home, I immediately dock my smart phone for the night and spend some time with Diane sharing the day. No smart phones, no television, no social media.
Pray, meditate, or read a good book. For years people would bury themselves in a good book and escape the distractions for a while. The same is true for prayer time and meditation. When you finish praying you will feel renewed, refreshed and refocused.
Get outside. There is something about fresh air that causes you to relax and eliminate distractions. Take a walk, sit on the patio or deck and enjoy your surroundings. And remember, no talking politics!
Less Facebook and other social media. We talk about spending less time on social media but rarely follow through. Both of my adult sons aren’t on Facebook and never have been. It’s interesting that they spend their time talking about things that are of interest to them, avoiding the noise that is impossible to escape.
Rediscover an old hobby. Often our lives move so quickly that we forget the things we enjoyed that gave us relaxation and joy. As a kid, I really enjoyed fishing and only in the past five years have I rediscovered why. I love it; it relaxes me, and gives me hours away from the noise.
Get your election information from trusted sources. Social media sites are overloaded with so-called news sources that none of us have ever heard of. What are these sources and who is behind them? If you don’t know then simply avoid their alarming headlines and get your information from sources you trust.
By focusing on Jesus we can put everything into proper perspective. Let’s find some time each day to go into our “noise free” zone and separate ourselves from the noise and distractions of the day.
By focusing on what’s true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious we can follow the idea that Paul shared with the Philippians that is even more relevant today.
Want to be happier feel better and focus on what is really important? Then, separate from the noise and escape to the joy of our Lord and our relationships with those we love.
Tony Agnesi-Finding God's Grace