What do I mean by distracted?
We live in a world full of distractions. Social media, Netflix, Youtube...you name it. We are all familiar with being sucked into a vortex of pixels on a screen. I'm not writing today to speak on digital distraction, but something different. I want to take us deeper and evaluate the sneaky distractions--the distraction that most would coin as "good behavior". The inspiration for this post revolves around the novel I'm reading, The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In the next few paragraphs, I will explain what the book is about and how it is teaching me to fight against sneaky distractions.
C.S. Lewis's Perspective
The Screwtape Letters by C.S Lewis is written from the perspective of a senior demon, Screwtape, writing letters to a junior demon, Wormwood, mentoring the junior demon in the ways of pushing humans towards self-indulgence and negative vices. The book regularly references "The Enemy" as the Christian God who is at play and "The Father below" as Satan who is seeking to unravel the plans of The Enemy. This novel is the textbook definition of the devil's advocate because C.S. Lewis is a believing Christian who wrote this in a satirical manner to share how satan manipulates the human mind.
On the topic of manipulation, let me present a quote from the novel and show how I'm regularly manipulated by this exact thought. Screwtape writes to Wormwood stating "keep pressing home on him the 'ordinariness' of things...keep him on economics and sociology; don't let him get away from the invaluableness of 'real life'." Screwtape is instructing Wormwood to keep humans away from seeing God's glorious creation by associating everything as ordinary or insignificant. If things in our lives are ordinary, what difference does it make if a God exists of not exists. Furthermore, if life is insignificant, we fall victim to not seeking our 'real life' and thinking critically about self in relation to God. Real life is now associated with economics, government, or literally anything else besides how we live according to God's design.
How 'Real Life' Affects me
I often fall victim to consuming media about economics and distancing myself from God's provision. With the US experiencing a strange economic downturn and my wife & I house shopping, I'm constantly evaluating and spending time on home searches, interest rates, or the stock market. Typically on a daily basis, the first thing I do and the last thing is read stock-related news. My life has become a metronome of evaluating my financial situation in comparison to the global economy. Don't misunderstand me here, I think being financially literate is necessary, but it often comes at the cost of my own spiritual life. The costs will manifest as anxiety, confusion, and sometimes mild depression. I simply can't keep up, but also, I wasn't designed to. I wasn't designed to ignore God's love and put an emotional barrier between me and Him. I was designed to be free from anxieties and live in an authentic, trust-filled relationship with a God who is mighty and all-knowing.