One thing that I’ve realized about myself lately, and especially over the course of the past year, is that I can be quite an introspective person. I spend a lot of time thinking. I think about myself, and other people, and I think about the world around me. I often think, not just about one of the aforementioned topics individually, but about how the many components of the dynamics around me intertwine to become the world that we live in.
Recently, I’ve had a little extra time to do such thinking. And in this time, I have been reminded of something desperately disheartening. It is something that we, in America, should be rightfully afraid and aware of.
That is, the deception of distraction.
Artfully deceiving, our Enemy, the devil, works in many ways. In some countries, there is terrorism. In some, there is widespread poverty. In others, there are ravaging natural disasters, and epidemiological diseases, and complete, disgusting social injustice. Perhaps America is lucky to have escaped the brunt of such tragedies. We certainly are fortunate to live in the Land of the Free, a country that many people have died to try to and to live in.
And yet, we have on hand our own catastrophe. It is, perhaps, the catastrophe of a false reality. So, let’s think about a few things that have been on my mind, in an attempt to demonstrate my point.
How much time do we spend concerned about how many followers we have?
How much of our life is spent trying to please other people and make ourselves appear perfect?
How much of our life is spent trying to climb an illusory power ladder so that we can feel significant?
How much time do we spend focused on promising-yet-unproductive diets, and strict exercise regimens, and make-up brands to make ourselves look like so many people that claim to inspire us to become “better” versions of ourselves?
The list can go on. And I am not saying that some of these things, in moderation, are wholly bad or evil. But I am saying that, in the midst of all of this, the Enemy has distracted us from the reality of what is actually going on around us. I know, because I see it all around me, and I see it in myself.
The reality is, outside of our made-up worlds inside our phones and screen and celebrities, there are people around us hurting. Each person struggles in different ways that some of us could never imagine. The reality is, in the midst of our lives, there are approximately 123 suicides per day. The reality is, nothing will change unless we decide to change first. The reality is, there is a Hope that we can cling to, whose name is Jesus, and is willing to carry our burdens. And the reality is, although our world can be disgusting, it can also be unimaginably beautiful.
We just can’t let ourselves be deceived anymore. We have to live our lives for what and for Who is actually real. Our family. Our friends. Our Savior. And we can bring hope to those who are hurting. Instead of becoming obsessed with our followers, we can fall in love with the service of others and the beautiful relationship we can have with our Creator.
To wrap up, I will paraphrase a song lyric by Ryan O’Neal: The universe will expand with our heartbeats, exhales, and the hope of open hands.
So let’s live. Let’s share love with the hope of our open hands. And, most importantly, let us not be deceived.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” -John 10:10