A few years ago, while I was catching up with a friend at a youth night service, a man whom I’ve never met approached us. He introduced himself, and didn’t hesitate to go straight to his point: “Strip the distractions to keep the peace.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember our entire dialogue but I’m glad that those few words stuck with me, because they replay in my mind when it feels like I’m losing myself.
More often than not, I’ve allowed myself to become fully consumed by stress — like skin breaking out, barely eating — stressed out. While many of the circumstances in my life were beyond my control, I’ve come to realize that I was voluntarily holding onto things that brought out the worst in me. I was being unfair to myself by putting my problems first and my well-being last.
Needless to say, stress was getting the best of me. While it’s easy to sit and complain about my problems, it only distracts me from coming up with solutions. A lot of people I know speak of the benefits of journaling, so I’ve decided to give it a try. I set time aside and wrote down a few of my current distractions: I call it Jess’ Stress. For each stressor, I listed two or more possible ways to reduce or eliminate it.
At the top of the list is my phone. I once had Screen Time set up but I had to turn it off because I felt offended by Apple showing me the amount of hours I waste. I can spend a lot of time endlessly scrolling down my timelines, and of course, in no way does this benefit me; I’m just left with a drained battery and drained mind. To work towards a solution, I purchased an alarm clock/oil diffuser so that I can shut off my phone at night and relax. As soon as I wake up, my focus needs to be on preparing for my day and eating first. I do become eager at times to check my texts or emails, but as I reaffirm that someone else’s urgency is not my own, it gets easier.
If setting boundaries is what it takes for me to find peace and regain my focus, then that’s what I'll have to do. In regards to social media, I will log off for a day or two, or even go “cold turkey”, by deactivating my page altogether. The
cat videos messages can also wait. I shared one of my distractions because it is my hope that it will help you to reflect. What’s been distracting you lately? No matter what it is, let this be a reminder to “strip the distractions to keep the peace.”