The Pandemic of the Preoccupied Mind

3 months ago I stepped away from social media. I had become too immersed in what was happening online. I frequently got into squabbles. I cared too much about how people critiqued what I shared. I watched what people were doing and saying all the time. I felt like I had a life there, to the point that I began to be less than present in my physical world. Most importantly, I distracted MYSELF with it and kept myself away from other matters that were most important, like my inward attention.  

I’m sure there are more clinical ways to describe the process of stepping away from social media. I’ve heard others use the terminology of social media “detoxing”. Which in my case has seemed to be the case. 

For the first few weeks I felt odd. Like a newborn baby, adjusting to life outside the cyberworld womb. To some extent it felt like a form of grief. Then, like I was emerging from slumber, I began to be more sensitive to other ways of interacting with my community. I called and texted friends and set up lunch dates. Strangely and unconsciously, I made some significant decisions regarding my future. It seemed that being away from social media cleared up my brain’s ability to function, kind of like RAM on a computer. I had so many internal conversations going on and so much new, good, AND pointless information swimming between my ears that I had let my mind get bogged down by. I had been unconsciously overwhelming myself with the constant intake of social media, and felt refreshed by its absence. 

To be fair to myself and to you, I know that good can come from social media. I’ve kept in touch with those who I would otherwise not be able to. I’ve received insightful ideas and shared the same. In this sense social media gets a bad rap as if IT is evil. IT is not. It’s a new piece of technology that we’ve not quite learned how to incorporate in our lives in healthy ways.   

Historically, people have always been critics of new technology. For example, many people were threatened by the introduction of the telephone, the television, the novel, the car radio, and the newspaper, just to name a few. Progress that changes the way we CAN think is often seen as an enemy to the way we CHOOSE to think.  

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I recently learned of Hugo Gernsback’s 1920s invention, the Isolator. It was the supposed cure for writer’s block and a way to help a person to refrain from distractions. Sounds profound, huh? He later admitted (and science has now confirmed) that You are your own disturber practically 50 percent of the time”. In other words, the problem of you being distracted isn’t the distractions themselves. The problem is that YOU WANT to be distracted. And if we’re honest, having the World Wide Web in our pockets just might be the MOST TEMPTING DISTRACTOR EVER. (full stop)

Regarding distractions, I’ve read of catholic monks who’ve made vows of poverty and simplicity. They chose to renounce their inheritances and refrain from marriage for the sake of focusing on and serving God. In their times of reflection they observed that if your mind is crowded with too many thoughts, living in a room with a single chair and desk won’t help you. In other words, your stuff and your actions with your stuff is a result of your thinking and your choices, not the fault of your stuff. You have to declutter your mind, and if we’re not consciously making an effort to do so you can best believe that it’s full to the brim. To lay this topic bare we need to be aware that our minds and our choices are where our problems lie, not outside of it, BUT the two worlds ARE connected. There is a very real inseparable connection between us and our world. 

The challenge is to learn to conquer ourselves with the appropriate amount of temperance and grace:To be free, not slovenly; To be balanced in our connectedness. 

I’m just one person, so I can’t speak for everyone but isn’t this the sickness of our day? We’re over-inundated with information, comfortable making ourselves vulnerable virtually, and yet so very disconnected from other humans. We’re in love with being partially connected to the others, but never really known. We have too much information, but not enough flesh and blood experience and the empathy and understanding that comes with human interactions of all types. 

Jesus didn’t pull any punches when it came to keeping us from harm. It was commanded of us that we should have no idols, that we would love G-d with all our heart, all our strength, with ALL our minds. See, G-d knew we would gravitate towards being divided AND He knew that HE was the BEST thing for us. He knew we would not be faithful so He sowed into our consciences a conviction about our commitment towards Him, but presently, it seems that we’ve all but fallen asleep to these commandments. We’ve been entertained into a damn trance. “Nothing can separate us from the love of G-d”, scripture tells us, BUT we can separate ourselves from G-d. We can choose to allow our ears and hearts to become callused. He will not force Himself on us; That’s simply not His way. If you know anything about being deeply connected to G-d you know that fully being invested in Him is the way to unlock true joy in life, full stop. 

Jesus didn’t come as a web page, He came as a human. Our REAL human presence will never be substituted or be able to be adequately avatar-ed with technology. 

I don’t have “an answer” regarding these new luxuries we now have access to, but I want to contend with you that the most profound friend you will ever have is beseeching you to not become callous to His presence. He is the one who can comfort you. He is the one who knows your future and your past. He is the one who will be your helper in times of heartache and desperation. So whatever you do, maintain your relationship with Him. Love Him with all your heart, all your strength, and all your mind and be willing to recognize when something is hindering that relationship. Don’t allow yourself to be so entertained by your damn phone that you lose track of the L-rd. Start your day with your own mind, your own issues, with your Bible and with the L-rd in prayer. Stay connected to Him, listen and follow Him. THIS is where your purpose and identity are found.  

One Allegiance

Psalm 118:22-23

A stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This came about from the Lord;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

As children, we find great fitment and companionship with other kids, with our teachers, and with the schools we attend. We find great comfort in being accepted and having a social environment to fit in to. Yet, as we mature we no longer fit into those places and become independent. In other words, we grow up. Hopefully reaching a level of maturity that enables us to nurture others and help them grow to maturity.

As young Christians, we also find great companionship in certain places among certain peoples. There is a grace given and people entrusted to help others find Christ and His Kingdom. And as we mature into G-d’s Kingdom and become surrendered to Him and His will the comfort of fitting into those grace-filled places diminishes. We grow up and He makes us His own. To quote Jesus in the Gospel of Mark and The Song of Solomon “Come away with me.” He makes us into a people whose home is not here. Into people who do not fit in here. Peculiar people, longing for their heavenly home.

So as you have surrendered to Christ and look back on the days when you were young in Him, do not look back with disdain OR with a longing to return. The grace for that is likely gone. Now is the time to look ahead. To look to the person of Christ who is now your home. He is your comfort. He is where you fit in. And when you find others who walk on the same journey they will help you know that THIS is the right path. To companion the Holy Trinity and those who have been marked by them.

Quit fighting to try and return to the places you once were comforted by. YOU are not that same person any longer. “Know that the Lord has set apart the godly person for Himself.” – Psalm 4:3

Cut to the Heart

Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength?

This was the question Jesus posed to the religious leader in Mark 12. He, like us, interpreted Jesus’ cutting words as “THAT is some really good teachin’!” Because we have the enormous privilege of having all access to God’s word we have allowed the most amazing words ever to be uttered to become too familiar. We’ve  turned them into pleasantries, instead of heart breaking challenges.

Jesus establishes His Kingdom by helping people come to terms with their deficiencies, so that they might find that His provision is more than enough. In like fashion His people are called to do the same.

This is how Hell fire and brimstone preaching works. Not that it is right or the way of Christ. But it shakes people out of their slumber.

Jesus did it over and over again in the gospels. He cut people straight to the heart. Nicodemus came to Him in the night pontificating and Jesus CUT STRAIGHT to his heart “You must be born again!” The rich young ruler came to Him wanting to be justified and He told him to “Sell all you have and follow me!” Peter did it at Pentecost.

Yes, there are wonderful things we can learn about the statements, about the Greek, about the culture of that time etc. etc. etc. But don’t miss the fact that Jesus most always needed to sober people up to the Kingdom.

The reality is that God’s love for us is so very immense that whatever causes us to crack and see Him gets overshadowed by His goodness. There is no dark thing that the Light of God’s love can’t out shine.


  1. Ponder that first question I asked at the top of this page. Bring it into prayer and allow the Lord to meet you in the answer.
  2. Realize the enormous love God has for you and depend on it. Make it such a fabric of your being that you become willing to call someone else out of the slumber of their sad lives unto that same love. Be willing to be that girl or guy. It’s the way of the Kingdom.

Supposed (Luke 2:44 Reflection)

The first red letters of the New Testament come at the climax of Luke chapter 2 when Jesus’ family visited Jerusalem for Passover.

“Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

In the midst of this short story I believe we are exposed to a CRITICAL character trait about the Lord Jesus, to follow Him. His family “supposed” Him to be in the caravan but He was not.

How many times do we do things and suppose Jesus is with us? How many times do we take action and suppose this is what Jesus wants us to do? Are we at a job we suppose Jesus has called us to?

In fact, supposing goes against the act of following. People who are fond of Jesus are sharply separated along these lines. We can confidently recognize one group as disciples and the other group…. not.


Habits of Strong Disciples

(I totally hijacked an entire article on weight training/power lifting by Jim Wendler and changed about 25 phrases to reflect a life of discipleship. The bold words are mine the rest is his. The original article is here He has some pretty brilliant training perspectives. As you’ll see bleeding through this re-written article)



Without a doubt, the strongest and best disciples in the world have consistently busted their buns in the prayer room. For decades. Not weeks, not a year, but decades.  There are genetic freaks out there that achieve a high level of spirituality quickly, but comparing yourself to them is unfair and will probably drive you out of the faith and into a 10-year “I hate church” bender. Now, consistency doesn’t always mean they’re going all out, every day. It means they chip away slowly, but surely.


Even with failures, hard times, faltering of spiritual leadership, terrible churches, etc., the great disciples will find a way to adapt and overcome. If that means following Christ alone in your own sanctuary at your house, they do it. If that means having to train in a mega church by themselves, they get it done. If that means they have to train around wounds, they research and find a way. Nothing will stand in their way and when an obstacle appears, they don’t get frustrated; they simply find a different route around it. It’s easy to be motivated and excited to pray when everything is going your way. It’s another thing to hit a wall, scramble, kick, and scratch until you look back and see the marks of blood and sweat you leave behind.

Continue reading “Habits of Strong Disciples”

Being Human

(This was written to be read allowed as a devotional for ADD listeners like myself.)

A friend asked how I was doing the other morning and I responded “I’m here… I am human”. I was training for a race and my feet hurt. I had been doing too much on every level. Real life stuff, here. I guess I could have just said that I was “doing great!”. But it wasn’t that type of friend and besides, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the status of my humanity.

For seemingly well intended reasons we find all kinds of reasons to remain reserved when interacting with one another. Even in some of our most intimate relationships we still don’t feel safe enough to share some of our true feelings and perspectives. Surely this is a problem.

Sharing all of our inner workings is an error, of course. In fact that can be a different problem all together. More important is the way in which we live so very isolated among plenty of people and find ourselves feeling lonely.

Jesus taught us to call God our Father which was vastly different from the religious teachings of his time. One of the most unique facets of Christianity when compared to the varied strands of philosophy and religion is the right to “become children of God”. This was one of the most unique things Christ brought to our attention: creator, all-powerful, brooding over the darkness, hand spanning across the universe God is our daddy.  It was on this point that the religious of Jesus’ day had such a hard time.Continue reading “Being Human”

From the Future

History has the ability to haunt us. Be it our personal history, family history, or the history of our nation. Yet, the future has a way of bringing us hope, optimism, perseverance, and a bold joy that breaks down the structures of evil.

In recent weeks and months, we have all been reminded as a nation of the extended struggle we’ve had with racial injustice. Although we’ve made gigantic strides ahead throughout the last century, in recent months we’ve witnessed grave injustices in our law enforcement, the tragedy in Charleston, the hate crimes towards local churches and their congregants, and numerous other incidents. It seems that with each of these instances a corporate shudder strikes in us and is a reminder of our painful and shameful past; A past that some choose to use to fuel hatred and bitterness. But for most of us, this past is a very real bruise from which we’re trying to recover. (I think it would be wise to add here that no two of us have had the exact same experiences that would allow any other person to bring complete resolution or speak exactly where we all are. Only God has that capability.)

It seems that no matter how hard we try to outlive our past, with the grave infractions perpetrated by a very small percentage of our population, we are seemingly brought back to square one. I say “seems” because we are so susceptible to allowing the events of the past to dictate our lives. But that does not have to be the case. Continue reading “From the Future”

Progressive Surrender

To say my ambition is dead sounds a little morbid. And an exaggeration. My dreams and visions have had time to reign in my life and for the most part those things had their day. I’ve accomplished things in my life–things that others climbing everest mount-photohaven’t; things to be proud of. But the effort to tame and steer those ferrel dreams has become too much for me. In my pursuit of them I’ve realized that my dreams and how I want them realized are akin to mirages. They seem to be great in the planning and development, but the fulfillment has left me feeling just as empty and dissatisfied as I did when they were unfulfilled.

It seems to me that many, if not all, of those dreams for my life and the people that I envisioned being in them were good and God given. Plans to help others, plans to nurture people and to lay down my life in the process. The thing is–when it comes to participating in God’s Kingdom only Christ’s dream can being fulfilled and it is meticulous and perfect. As much as we, in certain glimpses of time, try and capture the essence of how everything works by making estimations and conclusions, it’s only a matter of time before the proverbial kaleidoscope of time shifts and we find ourselves attempting to make sense of the absolute mayhem that ensued as a result of our decisions. From my estimation most people are in one of 2 stages: the figuring out and controlling stage, or in the stage of becoming aware of how random and seemingly untame this life really is.Continue reading “Progressive Surrender”

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