Our theme for this month: “Change can be good for you”
Our Bible verse for today: “God has made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.” Ecclesiastes 7:19 (TEV)
Our thought for today: “It may be time to simplify your life so you can focus more on the things that truly matter.”
There’s a chronic condition that afflicts many people in our society today know as “multitasking”. It’s the idea that we can focus on and accomplish multiple things at once, and it’s usually spoken of as if it’s something good. Many of us brag about our ability to do two or more things at the same time. We drive the car, talk on the phone, glance at the passing billboards, and tap our fingers along with the song on the radio. Or we have a halfhearted conversation with our spouse or children as we’re scrolling through our Facebook newsfeed on our smartphone.
In such cases we’re multitasking, doing more than one thing at once, but none of them have our full attention. We’re doing several things poorly rather than doing one thing well. Also, the constant pull of multiple distractions eventually dulls our senses, exhausts us intellectually, and drains us emotionally. Korean-born German philosopher Byung-Chul Han (a professor and writer who studies Western culture) calls this kind of constant hyper-activity the signature issue of our society. He says it defines us. His conclusion is that we’re so hurried, frazzled, and distracted that we are, in his words, “too alive to die, but too dead to live.”
Modern society, with all its time-saving technology and innumerable conveniences designed to make our lives easier, is actually having the reverse effect. We’re all too busy, too distracted. It’s dulling our senses and numbing our emotions. But it was never supposed to be this way. As Today’s English Version of the Bible (TEV) translates Ecclesiastes 7:19, “God has made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated.”
Hopefully with all the social distancing, the stay-at-home-orders, and with the closing of many of the places we normally go to and the activities we engage in, one of the impacts of this COVID 19 pandemic is that it has caused all of us to slow down a bit and to simplify our lives. If so, that’s a good thing. That’s a good outcome, and I hope it’s one you will resolve to carry with you out of this. Many of our lives have become so complicated and so busy that we’re doing a lot of things poorly but none of them well. That often includes, most importantly, our relationships with God and with others. Those relationships suffer when we’re too busy and too distracted.
This is vitally important and therefore we’re going to spend some time thinking more about this in the days to come. How could our lives be better if we simplified them, focused intently on the things and people which really matter, and learned to do one thing at a time well rather than multiple things poorly? We’ll explore that thought more tomorrow.