Linked below is a short blog post from Shane Speal that demonstrates how a set of 25-year-old circumstances diverted him from an opportunity to develop an important spiritual concept: creative worship.
Then we unpack a little about what distracts us and why ignoring those distractions allows the space and time for our individual creative pursuits, and perhaps our own creative worship.
A Missed Opportunity
In his post titled The Old Man & the Omnichord, Shane describes attending a church service at which an old man led a hymn in a way Shane had never before experienced.
As Shane puts it, the man gave "... his offering to God in his unique style."
The old man's unique offering was made using an Omnichord: an electronic musical instrument you likely don't think of when you picture a church service.
The performance and the choice of the musical instrument were so intriguing to Shane that he wanted to stay with the old man after the service to hear more of this unique expression.
To experience more of this old man's creative offering.
However, immediately after the service finished, circumstances that day pulled Shane away from the church and the old man, and perhaps an opportunity to cultivate that idea of creative worship.
Wrote Shane in his blog post, "Unfortunately, the people I was with were in a hurry to leave. I still regret following them out of the church."
Circumstances distracted Shane from exploring some deeply profound feelings that day, 25 years ago, a long period in which to learn, grow, fail, do harm, and to learn again.
To live life and to grow closer to God.
Nonetheless, a seed was planted deep within Shane's fertile spirit. His exploration of creative worship today is blooming in his Facebook group aptly named Creative Worship.
As you can likely attest, there's something ready to distract you from what you're doing right now, even if what you're doing maybe the best thing for you.
This isn't' to say that reading these words is what you need to be doing or that it's the best thing for you.
The issue is, rather than focusing on being present in the moment, there's always something more comfortable to do, or more important to do.
There's always something more interesting to consume or seemingly more worthwhile to pursue.
Perhaps, the constant examples of things tugging on you to close this browser tab or hit the back button are just distractions.
Maybe they're only countless shiny objects designed to "keep your eye off the ball."
In any case, something more stimulating is never more than a click or a tap away, and so goes how we live our lives.
There's always something more inspiring or more important to be doing at every moment.
Something that distracts us from deepening our connection to ourselves and the world around us.
Something that diverts us from opportunities to create something profound in our lives.
Ignore Distractions & Create Meaning
My path to creating something meaningful, and to enjoy spiritual growth, has been hindered only by the choices I've made.
Throughout life, I've allowed myself to be pulled in any direction other than the one that leads to God.
For years, those distractions were primarily drugs and alcohol.
Now the mighty mobile-supercomputer (aka cell phone) that I carry around, filled with infinite shiny objects, is one of my biggest distractions.
Regarding my path to spiritual growth, I'm now focused more on being present to explore what God means to me, and to develop my relationship with God.
That exploration requires me to put down the phone and to access the tools I need to create that meaningful-something.
And that feels pretty good.
Focusing less on shiny objects and outside-expectations that take value from, as opposed to creating value in, my life is no easy task.
It's much easier to give way to passive entertainment or to lead an unexamined life.
Thankfully, music has become a foundation upon which to build my own creative worship.
It focuses my energy to develop meaning in my life and to glorify God.
Among all the things that can distract me from this path, the phone is just one.
Moreover, it's likely only a symptom of a more significant problem, which is an idea that needs to be explored another time.
What has distracted you from creating something meaningful in your life?