Distraction and Desire

Reading has been my favorite thing to do ever since I was a child. In middle school and high school, I spent every free second I had reading (which was conveniently kind of a lot of free seconds).

That, of course, was back before social media, laptops, and cell phones. Ever since those came into the picture, the time I’ve had available for reading has significantly decreased. The allure of the iPhone and all that it offers is often too strong to resist. It sits there like a Siren on her island, luring you in with its enchanting song, promising to deliver exactly what you’re searching for. Fulfillment? Distraction? Entertainment? Satisfaction?

I’m not immune to those temptations. I get consumed by them too. My laptop used to be one of my strongest foes, especially the two times I lived overseas. I’d open it up thinking I was going to do a “quick check” or “quick task” and all of a sudden I’m shipwrecked on the shore of the island and two hours down on time.

And so, there goes two hours of time I could have spent doing something more productive. (Like reading.)

Anyway, lately my desire to read and the pure joy I receive from reading has intensified again. I get so excited about reading. From personal experience, I know that reading is going to satisfy me so much more than any of those other distractions. So, when my cell phone and a book lie directly next to each other on my bed, I don’t even hesitate to choose the book. I desire it. I love it. I derive so much joy from it. The temptation and appeal of the phone and all its distractions lie eviscerated, weak and defeated in light of my desire to read.

This is true of anything. For a person trying to get healthier, if they desire personal health more than they desire that piece of pie, they will be strong enough to resist the pie for the sake of what will bring them more joy – health.

Desire for the right thing totally trumps distraction from the wrong thing.

And, of course, so it goes for our relationship with Jesus. We can often think, “I’m so distracted, I’m not making enough time to be with Jesus. I need to completely cut off all my distractions. Then I’ll be more disciplined.”

Do you see what the problem is here? Even if you do that – which can certainly be necessary and beneficial at times –  if you’re not desiring Jesus, you aren’t going to be any more motivated to make time for him. On the contrary, If you do desire him with every ounce of being within you, you will run straight towards him with no peripheral vision – no temptation strong enough could ever captivate you away from pursuing what your heart and soul truly desire.

Perhaps, then, the issue isn’t that we are too distracted; perhaps the issue is that we aren’t desiring Him enough?

This desire, however, cannot be manufactured by our mere human souls (though it can definitely be nurtured and fed). Pray for it! He gives so willingly, freely, joyfully. He desires that we desire Him more than we desire that we desire Him. It makes sense, I promise. And it’s so immensely comforting in the perilous periods of desensitized desire for the divine.

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