We do a lot of multitasking in our day and age. I remember in college and seminary trying to study my Greek and Hebrew while watching TV or a movie. Didn’t work. I tried reading books while having a conversation with someone. Didn’t work. And now, today, it’s even worse. We’re on our phones checking e-mails (and Facebook/Twitter updates) while talking with people. We think we can do more than one thing at once.
Multitasking is a myth. And even if you disagree with me, think about it this way: If you’re not focused on one thing at one time, how can you give both things your full attention. Not possible (even if you’re ADD like me, it’s still not actually multitasking, it’s just starting one project, not finishing it yet, starting a second one for a while, then going back to the first one). Now, I can talk on the phone with someone with my earbuds in as I load the dishwasher or cook dinner, but I’m not fully paying attention to either thing (something gets burnt or broke or both).
The same is true in our spiritual lives.
We can’t spiritually multitask.
What is spiritual multitasking? It’s when you try to do too many things at one at the same time in order to serve/be with God. Too many times we equate spirituality with doing something. We equate how spiritual we are with what we do and how we do it. And it’s not just exclusive to Christians either.
There are so many times when someone finds out that I’m a pastor they give me their spiritual credentials, as if they need to prove that they too are a spiritual person. I get things like “I pray every day and help out others.” Or “I’m spiritual too, I do a lot of meditating.” Or “I’m religious and go to church each Sunday and attend the weekly Bible study.” Sure. That’s doing stuff, but it’s not focusing first. It’s equating spirituality with what you do not with what you focus on.
Focus is important in your spiritual life and walk with Jesus. To be truly spiritually alive, to have spiritual vitality you need to focus, have a laser like focus, and not multitask your spirituality. I’ve written about this a number of times actually (you can check some of them out here, here, here, and here). If you’re not focused, you’re not getting done what truly needs to get done.
If you’re running around trying to do all the things that make you spiritual, then you’re not focusing on the main thing that is important to a true fully alive spiritual life–Jesus.
So, how do we focus. Stop. Stop and listen. Stop and let things go. Stop and be, exist, allow God to be present in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Here’s just a few things to note about how we can focus (and it’s not even an exhaustive list either)
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2
“The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Habakkuk 2:20
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Yogi Berra is attributed to saying “Keep the main thing the main thing.” To be fully spiritually alive, we must keep Jesus (who is the main thing) the main thing. We need to be still before him. We need to know who is the author and perfector of our faith and keep our eyes fixed on him.
Don’t try to spiritually multitask. Begin with focus. Focusing on Jesus. Focusing on the movement of the Holy Spirit. Focusing on God himself. And then from there slowly begin to move forward, trusting in and following Jesus. The rest will flow from there.
Where are areas where you need to stop spiritually multitasking and focus?