Stealing Focus

“…. and greet no one along the way.”   Luke 10:4

12 29 17 with word overlayThe Middle School in our town issued Chrome Books to all the students this year. I was thrilled because our ipad keyboards are falling apart.

I thought my kids getting Chrome Books would streamline things, cut down on the amount of time they spend on homework. Although that’s the case with Zack, it’s having the exact opposite effect on Mason.

I did a random check-in one day while Mason was doing his homework in his room (his homework HQ). I saw his Chrome Book screen before he could minimize it. He was on his email account when he should have been doing Membean (a vocabulary website). When I asked him if he’d been checking email often, instead of doing his homework, he glanced away and mumbled, “Yes.”

I put on my disappointed face and told him that wasn’t cool. I was trusting him to use his Chrome Book responsibly, and to stay focused on the task at hand. I told him I would be doing a lot more random check-ins now that I knew about this little habit. He admitted that was necessary, apologized, and said he’d try harder.

As I walked back downstairs, I realized the irony of things: emails is the exact same thing that steals my focus.

Typically, I jump on my computer to send a quick email to a teacher or friend. My plan is to get back to the task I’m supposed to be doing, in three minutes or less. But before I know it, an hour has passed. Then there’s a child tugging at my sleeve, dinner is burning, and I realize I did it again: I fell down the rabbit hole of technology, and lost my way back.

In Luke 10:4, Jesus is sending out seventy-two disciples to pave the way to all the different places He intends to visit. He gives them very specific instructions on what not to bring, what to do, and what to say.

I’ve read this passage dozens and dozens of times before. But this time, “greet no one along the way” caught my attention. It really puzzled me. If Jesus was asking these people to spread the news about Him, why would He tell them to greet no one along the way? Aren’t they supposed to develop relationships with people on His behalf? Don’t all conversations begin with a greeting?

It took me a bit to figure out that the key words here are, “along the way.” It’s as if He were saying, “Be careful. What we think is a useful tool can be our undoing.”

Of course greeting people is the first step in building relationships to spread the word. Of course email can be my efficient way to contact someone or respond quickly. Of course Mason needs to check his email to see if his teachers have assigned more homework.

But there are two sides to everything: pros and cons. If the disciples chat so much en route, they’ll never get to their destination. If Mason and I spend all our time on email, we’ll never get our work done.

Every day we have tasks and assignments to complete. On a grander scale, we’ve all been sent to this earth to make it a better place.

In order for us to achieve all that, we need to figure out what our major weaknesses are: What are the things that seem benign on the surface, but actually end up swallowing our time, and stealing our focus. If we don’t identify our time stealers, and draw firm boundaries around them, we’ll never accomplish what we are meant to do.

Questions For Reflection:

     * What steals my kid’s focus?

     * What can I do to help my kids draw firm boundaries around whatever that is?

     * What steals my focus?

     * What firm boundaries can I draw around whatever that is?

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8 thoughts on “Stealing Focus

  1. One of my major goals for 2018 is to cut back on my own use of technology. I found a 30 day detox from social media that I will start Jan 1 and plan to shut down my computer after dinner for the day. Toying with a sabbath too….we shall see. It is all about baby steps!!

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    • Good for you, Jess! That’s a great New Year’s Resolution. I know you can do it!! But definitely do it in baby steps. I’ve found making changes that way has a longer term effect. Best of luck!

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  2. This is something I struggle with right now. I need to shift my focus now to try to set a better example for my kids. I needed this one today! Thank you!

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    • You make a great point, Naomi. Our kids are always watching us; and my kids see me on my phone and computer too much. I am hoping to use the new year as a motivator to make some much needed changes. 🙂

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  3. I am so easily distracted that I start multiple tasks, and get side tracked on all of them! I hope I can focus on one project and complete it–a New Year’s resolution I am going to try to keep!! xo

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