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Distracted

I’ve never thought to myself before, “I need a bench so I can comfortably sit and put my shoes on.” Then it came out of my mouth. Don’t really know how we got to this point, but here we are.

For the better part of three months we’ve been distracted by one thing: a home. All the logistics of the sale, moving, repairs, painting, inspections, and on and on. Then buying things. All the things you didn’t know you needed. Like realizing you put your desk in the farthest place away from the wifi router and need to buy a mesh network. Or the layout is much different than the old place and there’s no great location to put your keys. This leads to endless scrolling, amazon searching, and pondering which $300 bench-hooks-cabinet combo would look perfect in the entry nook. There’s no end to the possibilities.

Ever since we started this home-buying process several months ago, I feel like we’ve only been doing two things: moving into the house and buying things for the house. Stuck in this place of spending and pre-spending all our money on our newest baby. It’s like the house is our third child, which I thought we were maybe planning for in a few years but a stork suddenly delivered last minute.

I’ve mostly just felt distracted. It’s taken up my thoughts so much that I haven’t wanted to write about generosity, or even lift my head up long enough to see if there were needs unless they were right in front of my face.

The weirdest moment happened two months ago, near the beginning of the downward spiral. I’d scheduled weeks ahead of time to help at a nonprofit one Saturday morning. The night before serving, we had gone to see a house and wanted to move forward with it. This was the most serious we had been up to that point and it was bringing up a lot of emotions. After arriving that morning to serve, I just sat in the parking lot with my notebook trying to solve all the issues I was having around the moving process. Wondering if we were moving too fast, not going fast enough, if the house was too far out of town, was it big enough, etc. After texting over and over with my wife about my feelings, I finally just drove home. Never even made it out of the car.

I was too distracted to focus on other people’s needs because of my own.

“Distraction” might be the main reason people aren’t generous. Not that they are evil, selfish people, or don’t have the capacity to be generous. People are just distracted and aren’t looking. It’s why the first goal of giving I wrote about is “Give Compassionately.” It requires seeing the need around you. You can’t do that when your distracted.

When I started writing this post, I initially wrote that there had been no moments of generosity in the last couple months since things got so serious with the house. But I looked at our budget and realized it wasn’t true. Not only did the things we’ve automated still go out, but we also gave to needs that spontaneously came up as well.

What’s weird is I couldn’t remember them. I had forgotten a lot of it by being so distracted. If you can’t remember who you gave to, is it really generosity?

I hate that feeling and my spirit realizes it. That I haven’t carved out time towards looking for opportunities and following through. There will always be time to scroll Amazon. But the opportunities God presents to you and me to be generous to someone else might only be here for a moment. And if we aren’t looking, we might be too distracted to do anything about.

As the craziness of the holidays are upon us, and distractions multiply like rabbits, we are also closing in on Thanksgiving. That’s as good of an excuse as any to get my head out of my butt, get back to writing regularly, and look around for opportunities to be generous instead of pre-buying entry nook benches.

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