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Turning Off the Distractions

In the midst of frantic planning, long to-do lists that never end, and limited time - there's one thing that calls out to us: procrastination and its' best friend distraction.

While I love spending time doing something that makes me feel productive when I'm really not being the kind of productive I know I should be (catch my drift), it gets to the point where I sink so low on the couch in my phone that I forget how to get back up to what I was trying to do in the first place.



On my day off last week, I decided to use a chunk of my time working towards the productivity that would provide long term benefits and not just a clean kitchen.

Where do I go to make myself comfortable and get some writing, reading and all things baby research done?

My go-to coffee shop.


While waiting in line, I was behind a group of older women who were chatting about their brisk morning walk and how George lost the dog (again).

After making her order, one of women asked the cheery barista if her beverage was made with milk, to which the God-send of a barista said it did not.

As soon as she walked away to complete the order, the woman in the back of the group closest to me snapped,"You liar!"

First of all, this wasn't your order so calm down there, Lucy.

Second, I'm sorry, but do you work here? Do you know this cold break magically has dairy in it?

And third, is that really necessary?


Her response was such a shock to me that I couldn't help but chuckle.

A little too loud.

I may have gotten on the posse's bad side, let's just leave it at that.


Then I had a thought - one you have out after witnessing another person doing something unkind or "out of character": I hope I don't act like that.


Truth be told, I sort of do this now. And by sort of, I mean I really do that now.

Example: last week, I went to the gym and as I was on the elliptical, someone began their jog on the treadmill next to me. With their keys attached to their hip allowing all of us to listen to that beautiful sound of keys jingling like it's their main purpose in this world.


Who does that?


Out of annoyance - I left, and drug the hubs out with me. Once we were out of ear shot, I started to get all ramped up about how annoying that was and how some people are so inconsiderate need to learn how to be decent human beings.

Mind you, as I was saying this, we were walking by the pool which was occupied by a group of little ones and their guardians.

Did I care? Nope. I thought they should know it too.


Hold up.

Is it possible that this is what Lucy at the coffee shop was doing?

Did she want her voice - though negative and demeaning - to be heard?


Which leads me to dig deeper: If we were to take action on what comes easy to us all the time and say the first thing that comes to mind like this, that doesn't constitute to growth or good intentions. Despite what we may tell ourselves at times.

In fact, it probably feeds to something quite the opposite: de-railing, bitterness, selfish intentions, to name a few paths.

And when this is done intentionally on several accounts, it begins to translate naturally without our consent.


I know I'm going all over the place here with the elderly acting snappy in coffee shops and millenial's getting irrational at gyms.


Here's where I'm going with all of this.


I'm sure you've heard at some point in your life that if you aren't sharing words that are coming from you, right now, that you believe will benefit others when you speak them - it's not worth saying.


This isn't limited to our interaction with others, but ourselves included.

My one-ness (enneagram type 1, that is: the perfectionist) will start some headstrong conversations to myself that go like this: "Okay, boo. You've been failing miserably at this writing thing you claim to love so dearly, but you haven't posted in like three days. What are you doing, you slacker? Get to it! Post something! Anything!"


What good can I share when the base of it comes from my ruthless inner critic?

What benefit do I or others get when my end game from sharing is for the sake of numbers or the hopes that someone will appreciate my timeliness in my posts?


Nada.


In that and so many other ways, we have the choice of whether or not we are going to use our words - those directed to ourselves and others - to feed into the distractions that thwart our vision of reality or to use them to ignite the spark of what we know gives our life purpose.


So what's the difference between what gives you life and what provides distraction from it?


What gives you life results in a you with healthy, happy long term results. This isn't a short term fix. It answers the questions of what feeds the intentions behind your passion projects? The ability to love better, invest time, love and energy fully? The main purpose of the action (whether intentional or not, hidden or obvious; underlying factor) is to provide healthy growth toward your humanness and all that you do reaps that benefit. You see things clearly, not fogged by anxiety or depression. You see the goodness of God prevail more than the darkness.


Distractions suck that life away and drive you further from what brings you joy. It starves you of your passions. Leads you to believe you are not capable of doing what you hope to do. Distractions make time go by. The main purpose of the actions are to waste time, get approval from others, blend in, or bury a secret pain even deeper then where you dug it up from.

You may start to feel an obligation to scroll, like it's a must on your list of what must be done in order to have a full and completed day.

First of all, let me remind you that you do not need to do anything that risks taking away your desire to

Second of all, there is nothing so urgent that should get in the way of or take away your joy.

And yes, I am admittedly preaching to the choir here

Everyone's go to face down the demons, maybe today you can put the past away (thank you, Third Eye Blind).


What makes differentiating the two difficult?

It's not easy, and that's what makes intentional growth reap more benefits than if everything came easy to us.

Both actions that feed into giving you life and distractions can be simple or exaggerated. Some "distractions" are disguised as good, beneficial for our soul and even healthy.

But after 15 minutes, you realize you feel more bogged down than you did when you started this new thing.

Understand, I'm not saying watching a movie or playing a game is a distraction and you must be reading, listening, hanging out, and drinking coffee at all hours of every day.

Anything can be a distraction if you're doing it to avoid what you need to face head on.


For example, if you're feeling anxious about something but you decide pushing it down and binge-watching Friends re-runs will be a better thing to do, that's not giving you life.

Going on a walk, writing or talking it out - those are a couple of ways to walk through, acknowledge and bring to light the anxiety you are feeling.



It's true that some people find it easier to be kind to strangers who spit on them during the walk to work, smile to those who say terrible things in passing, or to ignore the harsh response by someone on social media. Either from the practice of patience, the pursuit of kindness, or a combination of both.


But there are days when even for you, the one who have finds human kindness as a blessed trait of yours, where you struggle to show absolute agape love (because you're human).


On those days we have the chance to learn more about our limits, capabilities, strong suits, weaknesses, and how we can dig deeper into what it truly takes to become a better version of ourselves.

Who God made you to be.

Reminder: Friend, you're more of that person today then you were last year, and I am so freaking ecstatic for you.


Maybe you'll have a moment or two this week where you'll want to do something like me or the woman at the coffee shop and say something hurtful for the sake of saying it. Maybe you'll drown yourself in other means of distractions. the hurtful words out loud because it needs to be heard. Before you do, ask yourself if it really is needed, and who needs it, then ask if it will end up giving you life or lead you back to more distractions.

I think you'll know the answer.



With distraction at the door and life in her grasp,


Kimber

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