Growing up in an abusive home I would often use distraction and being mentally absent as a defense mechanism to escape from the trauma and chaos happening to and around me. I would imagine myself somewhere else, doing something else. In those days I’d do almost anything to not fully experience my present reality.
This coping mechanism used to help me survive during a time when I had no other recourse or skills, sadly bled into my adult life and I became an adult that was… you guessed it, Addicted to distraction. And seeing how this title caught your eye, I have a feeling I’m not the only one.
Who likes to text and drive ? I loved to text and drive! Texting during dinner? Yes please! Snap Chat an entire date? Sign me up! I was on Facebook while watching a movie, YouTube while my kids were telling me about their school day. If you were talking I was over talking you. Because you see I was Addicted to Distraction.
Always late. Never fully present, never fully showing up. Never seeing, feeling, or experiencing anything in real time. Then afterwards I would analyze previous exchanges and over analyze and obsess and become even more distracted by emotions and resentment of missed opportunities. Yet when an opportunity would next arise for Eryca Renai to say “Present” I would probably be found fumbling around in my bag or downloading a random app.
From the outside my life was a projection of a woman balanced even thriving. I had a career, home, car, nice things,friends, hobbies yet there was lack. Lack of focus. Lack of organization. Lack of discipline.
So how did I even acknowledge that I was addicted to distraction? I hadn’t heard it before but I had noticed that I was always doing something not important while I was supposed to be doing something pretty important. It stuck out to me. Texting and driving was habitual for me it was if it went hand in hand. (No pun intended). I knew it wasn’t right and for my kid’s sake and to hold myself accountable I wanted to sign the It can wait pact. But I couldn’t commit. I began to see how throughly my life; in the classroom, in relationships, and sometimes at work I lacked focus. I’d do really well for a short period of time but I’d lose interest in EVERYTHING.
Being distracted can be tricky. Seeing how you can be distracted by good things. It’s not always going down the rabbit hole on social media or someone calling you to spill the hottest tea while you’re supposed to be praying.
It’s whenever you’re doing something less important while you’re supposed to be doing something more important.
It’s balancing your checkbook during Sunday morning service. It’s doing your family stuff or stressing over your boo while at work. It’s worrying about your teenager and their attitude problem while you’re supposed to be focusing on your spouse. It’s allowing drinking to take priority over your responsibilities to yourself and your family . It’s allowing someone flirting with you to take priority over your integrity as a married person. It’s valuing designer labels over security.
Are you addicted to Distraction?
If so don’t even trip because I wanted to tell you how I overcame my addiction to distraction. I did it through a dare. So I dare you to not be distracted. I dare you to get intentional and to start small. As soon as you see your distraction arrest it. Don’t let distraction rule you but you begin to rule distraction. Just Say No!
I had to learn to not let good be the enemy of perfect because nothing is perfect. it’s okay to show all the way up and for things to not go as planned.
I wanted to tell you my 4 keys to breaking free of addiction to distraction.
1 Ask God to show you what’s distracting you. (Pray)
2 Write them down. Be honest with yourself ( Come into agreement with God)
3 Resist. When you see your distraction or are about to participate in your distraction. Do the opposite. This will be hard and feel strange at first but practice makes better.
4 Watch. This is my favorite step!! Just Watch how your life does a 180 degree turn in the area that you’ve began being more focused in. Results do not vary.
Lastly, I wanted to tell you that you, reading this right now. Yes, you are already free from the addiction of distraction for what you seek is seeking you. Focus and discipline are yours and waiting to envelop you. Simply go towards them because they’re ready to receive you. It is so.