Distraction: The Thorn in My Side

When I was a teenager I watched soap operas.

I would come home from school, flop on the couch and turn on the TV.

Even then I was aware of the disconnect between a girl who was passionate about great literature and philosophers, and a girl who watched General Hospital obsessively.

It was escapism, pure and simple.

I was overwhelmed by the pressures of school, both academic and social, and it felt good to check out for a while. Especially by watching people in gripping crises. They had it so much worse than I did, it made me feel better about my own life.

I wasn't kidnapped. I wasn't a spy with a horrible facial disfigurement prosthesis (yes, a prosthesis that makes you look like you are disfigured.) No life and death struggle. I was just an awkward teenager trying to keep up with her homework and not get her soul crushed by mean kids at school.

Plus there were weddings. Lots of weddings.

Thirty years later? I don't watch soap operas any more. But I do fall prey to escapism. Every. Single. Day.

The agent of my distraction is a smart phone. My beloved iPhone with its "just one quick check" email. Its "I'll pop on for a sec in case there's something urgent" facebook app. Its "Oh let's look that up" web browser.

Always a good excuse. Always a time suck.

"Portrait of the Artist with Her Smart Phone"
"Ladies' Restroom Art"

I don't have time to fritter away on the web. But how easy is it to follow a bunny trail from a news site and find myself on the wikipedia page of an old actor? Or look for a recipe for paleo cookies and end up reading twenty because "there's got to be a better one"?

Not. Helpful.

Insanity--> The woman with time management issues looks up time management solutions. On. The. Phone.

I don't want to do it. My heart and the rational part of mind say STOP! But the other part of my mind, the apparently self-sabotaging part, says "Just for a minute."

The solution? Obviously, self-discipline. And that's going great, let me tell you. Been trying that for a good while now and it's going just great. *rolls eyes*

I don't really know. Phone in time out sounds like a possible option to me. Someone in my house would have to be the phone babysitter.

I try not to be on the phone when my kids are around. And I try to limit my time on the computer. I installed Rescue Time. I get up early (reallllllllly early) so that I can work when they are sleeping. Yawn.

Still, those stolen moments on my phone in the kitchen, or while I am folding laundry... they add up. Popping over to social media sites while programs I use for real work on the computer are loading... adds up.

And in all this distraction, I know there is something deeper going on, just like there was when I was escaping the trials of adolescence by watching soap operas. As logical as I can make all my online activity out to be, I am running away from something bigger.

I am avoiding writing.

Writing is hard. Not the putting down of words. I can type a lot of words, very fast. Words = easy.

No, the hard part of writing is the baring. The ripping off.

It's not fun to reveal the lumps and wrinkles and stretch marks of your soul.

But I have to write. Not just because it's how I was made, but because this blotchy mess has known no greater joy than growing with the Father. No greater hope than pursuing a life that honors Him.

I must write because I love Him so, and long to tell the world that all the bruises and scars and flaws are made beautiful in His good time.

So to those few faithful readers who have stuck around for the past almost three years (!) despite a wildly fluctuating pace of posts, I thank you. I need your advice for taming my "Just for a minute" disease. Please help! Give me your best ideas!

You will know it is working when you see me writing about something other than not writing. ;-)



  1. Oh beautiful friend ... this is outstanding.
    Your voice shines clear and bright all the way through, and there were some laugh out loud moments, and there were some really deep moments.

    Great job. *hugs*
    I'm there with you, by the way.

    1. We procrastinating, distracted writers have to stick together, yes? ;-) Thanks for the encouragement Meredith. I appreciate your feedback!


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