Deeper questions about our lack of focus and rest.

May 9, 2022

I thought it was allergies that were making me feel miserable. Turns out it was something more sinister. Despite not one, but four vaccine shots and boosters, I have contracted COVID. My symptoms aren’t too bad, and I quickly got on one of the anti-viral meds available to me, so, it looks like I’ll rebound soon.

This is the context from which I am currently writing about rest and focus. I have no choice but for the next five days to rest and limit my attention to just a few things. Interesting coincidence.

In my last two newsletters, I raised questions about our inability to pay attention and rest these days. We are not sleeping well. We are unable to be fully present with the people right in front of us. And we simply can’t focus on the things that matter.

This is not good.

What to do about it? Here are a few thoughts and ideas about regaining our focus and rest (written in isolation from my basement office in the fog of the virus.)

Side note: 2 weekends ago I spoke at my church (from which I retired in 2020) on this topic. I introduced a new preaching series on the concept of sabbath. Here’s a link to that sermon if you’re interested.

There are lots of practical and tactical ways to increase our focus and rest – put down the smart phone, go to bed earlier, manage your calendar better, be outside more, delete the social media apps, etc. But rather than just giving you a list of ideas which you can find simply by googling “ways to get more rest and focus”, I’m going to ask some bigger – value level – questions. If you humbly and honestly address these questions I believe you will find hints as to what is ailing you and your attention span.

Warning: these are deep.

Do you really care about the people of your life – the ones right in front of you? How much do you care?

Are you fine letting Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok and the rest tell you what to watch, how often and when?

Why do you routinely overschedule yourself?

Just what is making you so frantic? Who are you trying to impress?

Why have you given up on reading?

What is at the core of your anxiety? Are you afraid of failing?

…Sigh…

Those are tough questions to face. I don’t like my answers to them. Real, lasting, solutions to our chronic state of unrest and inattention will not be cosmetic. They will arise out of the deep part of us. They will feel more like a revolution and less like a few tweaks. If we begin to focus and rest, it will be because we’ve decided to love more than perform …to trust more than achieve.

Peace, my friends.

 

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