What is the greatest danger to our spiritual and physical awareness? What is preventing us from having that “right relationship” with God? We are faced with a problem, our enemy is cunning and seasoned with thousands of years of success and failure. Our danger in this age: I say it is attention spam.
Our Sorry State
Our medicated consciousness has been habitually diminished through seemingly esoteric, cultural ineptitudes. Our culture has been indoctrinating its constituents to adhere to the newest fad, latest trend, hottest brand, and current breaking news story. We’ve been trained to shift gears at an insane rate, catching everything culture throws at us. Because of this, we’ve come into the habit of shifting focus and shortening our attention spans so as to absorb as much as possible.
According to a study by Microsoft, goldfish have an attention span of about 9 seconds.
Some state that the average human attention span is approximately 8 seconds; others state that most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 20 minutes at a time, although they can choose repeatedly to re-focus on the same thing.
I don’t consider everything on Wikipedia to be quantitative, but we’ll roll with this for the moment. You might wonder why, if we have such short attention spans that binge watching is a thing, or how people can seemingly focus on a conversation for great lengths of time. There’s a simple answer: it’s not and we can’t. When was the last time you were in a lengthy discussion with someone where they did much of the talking? Now, were you focused in on what they were saying the entire time, or were you trying to think of your response, or even thinking of something totally unrelated? Even when we are engaged in a singular activity we still find it difficult to retain our focus.
Why is that?
As far as binge watching or binge gaming goes, a portion of your brain goes into hibernation when you’re taking in media so that your conscious zones in and subconscious zones out to avoid or ignore distractions. You’re not technically focused or attentive, you’re more entranced or brain-dead. There’s also the chance that you can be devoting your attention continually to something, as Wikipedia inferred. When your attention lapses, you can simply renew it upon the same object.
How did we lose our attention span to begin with? It had a lot to do with attention spam: an overflow of information, so much so that our mental barriers which allowed us to retain focus on one subject and block out others to deteriorate: the wall had been broken down. This is the situation we are in. This is the danger: that we would be so caught up with the things of the world, so attentive to the things vying for our attention at every turn, and so blindsided to the truth. Are we making a conscious effort to regain our attention span? Are we holding fast to the things of God: studying Him and His word, prioritizing His will and the furtherance of His kingdom over everything else in our life? Are we trying to pay attention to God?
The scary part about life is that you do have a say in the way it turns out.
I have to believe in that the depravity of man, and his free will to choose has a devastating impact upon the way the world turns.
Whereas, God is preeminent, God is sovereign over everything, should He choose to order the events of life systematically, with 0 margin for error, He could easily do so. But I can’t make myself believe that the idiosyncrasies of life, my dismal apathy, my consistent failure, my life endangering stupidities, oversights, and willful abandonments were intended by God specifically because it seemed good to Him.
Focusing on God
I’m not saying that God can’t or won’t allow us or even order us to make mistakes that we feel are devastating to ourselves and those around us, with the intention of bringing about the greatest glory to Him through those. What I am saying is that my knowledge of the love, holiness, and righteous nature of our God would betray itself to set man upon a path of redemption, order his steps to every wrong he could commit, only to then bring life to him in spite of his wrongs. Where is the justice in making perfection, causing that perfection to rebel, (because in this hypothetical man has no free will to choose), then torture and punish humankind whom He loves for millennia. Finally, after wasteful destruction of human life, a futile salvation of a handful of truly righteous people, God would then come to save those who had committed no wrong other than being completely subject to His every whim and will. Why would God set us on the path of condemnation only to rescue us, who have no ability to choose Him, to love Him, or even to rebel against Him.
You see, I believe God loves you. I believe God loves you more than anything in this world. Were there a need for Him to save us again, I believe if He would. God loves you more than any love imaginable. Are you devoting, of your own choice, of your own volition, your time and attention to God? Or has the attention spam been polluting your mental inbox so that you cannot focus or even find the messages from God sent to you? It’s hard to hear His voice through all the noise around us every day. It’s time we start cutting down on the attention spam, by increasing our attention spans. Meditating, focusing, devoting our time and our lives to the things of God: His word, prayer, time spent alone with Him just listening, preaching, fellowship with believers, uplifting music and conversations.
There’s no one individual, snap-of-the-fingers way to suddenly be paying more attention to God, to be right with Him, and to hear His voice. It’s a slow, it’s a difficult process to devote your attention to Him and give Him priority over everything else; but it is a necessity. Life lived for any other reason is vain and worthless.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist