We discuss the three step approach to evaluating, eliminating and emancipating yourself from distractions.
Most of us feel drained, exhausted and pulled in a million different directions all the time. It doesn't have to be that way. Distractions rob us of our focus, time and energy and can ultimately lead to burnout or perhaps even worse a life lacking direction and purpose. We as Christian men desire to live lives that glorify God. To do this we have to declare war on distractions and begin detoxing now.
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Hey, guys, if you're like us, distractions can drive you crazy. And God doesn't want us to live like that. He wants us to have a purposeful, meaningful life and we've got a three step approach to get you there. Stick around. And Brandon. What's up, dude? What's happening, man? How are you? I'm just hanging out. So you're all tanned from vacation? Yeah, I just got back from the the wonderful ocean down Charleston. A great time. That I tell you. That's where Vernon and I honeymooned. We love. Charleston. Yeah. Oh, OK. See, we honeymooned in Gatlinburg, which actually, to me, is our fifth anniversary today. Today. Congratulations. That's why we went out of town. But we ended up. Work schedule stuff, but. Well, good man. Congratulations. That's awesome. We. We have a little. We have a little bit of heritage there with Gatlinburg, too. So that's when I knew that. I knew that. I knew that Fernanda was the one, because we went on, like, the singles retreat through church at that big, like, cylindrical hotel up on the hill. It's like as you're driving into Gatlinburg, it's way up on the left and looks down over everything. Yeah. And we were there, and I'll try to keep the story short, but we went and saw this, like, breakout session, and there were, like, missionaries there, and they said, if anybody gives, you know, 20 bucks if everybody in this room gets 20 bucks, they'll fund us on mission for a year. And I was like, OK, whatever. Okay. You know, we're broke. Single young, young people right? Yeah. And Fernanda comes back and she's like, We need to give 20 bucks apiece for that. And I was like, Oh, that is a sweet, tender heart. And I was like, Man, you know, where are we going? To come up with that? We had literally saved 20 bucks apiece for tickets for the Toby concert because they came to our church. Yeah, he came to our church, and I was like, Well, I guess we're not going to tobymac. We're like, Well, that's a sacrifice we're going to make. And so cool enough. Basically what happened was I got called from the church like a week and a half later, and it was somebody I knew. And I was like, Hey, Tiffany, what's up? And she's like, Hey, I just want to let you know, you actually won two free tickets to see Tobymac How awesome. So Lorde, like, showed revealed me the beautiful heart of my wife fell in love with her in the most covenant, meaningful, deep biblical way. Yeah, through that. And we still got to see Tobymac. That's awesome. That was good, man. That is awesome. That has absolutely nothing to do with distractions other than I got completely distracted. When you say Gatlinburg, you. Know, that's that's part of this is finding those distractions in life and evaluating them on the moment. But I think that was a good one. Indeed. Indeed. Well, hey, I'm going to Ryan is back in and bring it bring us down to to business and to business. I want to do a quick shout out to our affiliate we love Bud Sprout. If you guys aren't familiar with them, Buzz Sprout dot com, basically, they're a podcasting service that actually proliferates and syndicates all your content to the worldwide web and all the podcast directories there who we've used for about the past year. And we love them. Easy to use, user friendly, all that good stuff. We're going to put their contact and our affiliate link in the show notes. And I believe if you sign up, you guys get a $20 Amazon gift card. So if you're thinking about starting a podcast, look at Brett Sprout, check him out. I think you'll like it and that's that's enough about that. I like it. All right, man. So let's do what we need to do. Press in, man. Let's do this thing. Dear Lord, thank you for this day that you've given us, father. In a world full of distractions and full of things that can just captivate our mind pulls away from the focus. Lord, I pray that you would just guard our hearts card our minds guard our time. And, Lord, I pray that you would just place that barrier between us and those distractions so that we might be faithful servants of you. Or that's the goal. And that's the process that we're under in this sanctification, is so that we can become more devoted followers of you. And then one day Father, we trust because your word says so. One day will, in this sanctification process and enter into our glorification with you. And Lord, we look forward to that day. But until then, keep us safe from distractions. Guard our hearts. It's your precious son's name. We pray. Name it. Man All right, man. Let's get into this. So basically, basically, we were we were very Baptist about this. We've got a 33. approach and it's got great alliteration, like fantastic alliteration. And I was proud of you. Whenever I saw it, I was like, that is some good stuff right there. So. So unpack is tell us what the 33 steps are. So basically, it's a three step in that we're going to evaluate, eliminate, and then we're going to emancipate So wonderful alliteration, like you said. So but we got to talk about these distractions and how kind of what are some of the effects that kind of go on whenever we're dealing with these distractions and better help us identify them? Well, I think I think a good motivation, too, is actually to tie it back in. And I want to read the scripture Proverbs for 25. It says, let your eyes look directly forward and your gaze be straight before you. I mean, how clear cut is that? It's don't be distracted, you know, when you're on mission you know, we as guys, we're wired to be doers and movers and shakers. And that's just kind of how we are. So as we're moving and shaken, as we're going through and doing life, we have to make sure that we're not like, oh, social media, oh, you know, this relationship drama, oh, this over here, this or that, but ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, you know, we can't pin ball back and forth in between all these different distractions. So that's why it's so important why we kind of have this, you know it. And I think it's important to say to this is kind of extra biblical, just comment, kind of common sense wisdom. Yeah, it's rooted in scripture. But don't listen to this. Don't go out and say, oh, yeah, it says in the Bible that you need to evaluate, eliminate and emancipate because it doesn't. That's what full power says, that we're just giving you some common commonplace wisdom. So. Absolutely. So yeah, man. So let's, let's dove in to evaluate where do we start with this thing? We got to take inventory where we're at. Um, I think it's important for us to sit down and honestly just bring ourselves to the table and even bring your spouse with you as far as this goes. Have that conversation or with friends around you and just kind of ask them, say, hey, where are some of these areas that you see my time being devoted to? Um, and I think that's a really good way because if you're, if your wife's anything like mine, she's gonna tell you the truth every time. That's right. And good. Amen for that. So, yeah, I think taking inventory that way about the Holy Spirit to yeah. Illuminate these situations and illuminate those distractions so that you can then deal with them and heal will be faithful to do that. Um, I heard a preacher once say that, uh, if you pray for the Lord to show you where your biggest sins are, that is a prayer that will go answered every single time without fail, probably before the sun goes down. Yeah. So I agree with that. I've, I've definitely seen that prayer always answered in my life, and it's not really a comfortable prayer to have answered, but it's necessary. Be careful. Pray that one, you know? That's right. That's right. Well, yeah, man. So I think practically as we're doing inventory, two things that I know of that can be really helpful are one, and I'm going to speak to the iPhone users, and I wish I knew a little bit more about Android to help those guys out, too. But if you do have an iPhone you can actually use screen time on there. And what that does is actually literally has two different sections. If you kind of drill into its settings, screen time, you can actually go to it's called pick ups and then notifications. And the reason that those two reports and graphs are so important in kind of figuring out your distractions are because pickups, they'll actually show you when you you know, when you literally pick up your phone, what are you looking at? Like it'll say for me, I like I'm a visionary. So I'm always generating ideas and I'm like, I want to research. I want to research that. So like for me, like email's like a little tiny sliver. Social media is even smaller sliver. And then you've got Google Chrome, like, I research everything. So every time I pick up my phone, it's like I'm trying to got a. Question that needs. It. Yeah, I got a question that needs to be answered. But all that to say, you can figure out exactly like what's driving you. So I didn't really realize that about myself until I look at those analytics. And then the other one notifications, that's, that's really the one, the thousand one we were trying to evaluate are distractions because you know, obviously what is, what is taking our attention away and our phones are usually the biggest culprit, you know, we've got text message alerts, we've got social media alerts, we've got email alerts. We've got heaven forbid we actually a phone call on our phone. I mean how how 1990 is that what. You do with those. I just was more of. That that and like the green text bubbles from the only answer the blue text bubbles from other iPhone. Users only only people in our click you know. Oh my goodness that's right. Well no and we we love them too you know they're probably going to heaven but. Probably. So yeah. Using those tools and then actually keeping what I like to call a distraction journal and that can just be as easy as a one page you know piece of paper and when you're sitting down with your wife or you're sitting down with your girlfriend or your accountability partner, whomever, you know, just really be honest and say, hey, this is the data that I was able to pull from from my screen time. Yeah. You know, this is after I've done personal inventory with the Holy Spirit. This is what he's illuminated and convicted. You know, these are things that really pull me off focus. And these are the things that, you know, I'm putting down in my inventory. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that's key being able to identify those things. And that's one thing for me that and I think we might, you know, might be jumping the gun a little bit. But one thing that he recently has been super affluent in my life, I guess something that's been very beneficial is I get emails all the time, like constant emails. And it's one of those things that for my job, whenever I get an email, I need to respond to it quickly. Well, I was taking that email, allowing that to be a almost as like a stress trigger. So as soon as I got that sound for my notification of my email, I become stressed and then I become very distracted because my mind's going in a million different directions. Yeah, well, I knew that actually these emails aren't that time sensitive. Nobody and nothing's going to happen. Nothing bad is going to happen until, you know, if I can read it later. So I was actually with Danny, and he helped me set up because I guess his girlfriend helped him set it up to where I get notifications at 9:00 in the morning.I get notifications at 6:
00 at night, but I don't get anything in between there. Yeah. And I have been so strict like that relief, so much stress off of me because there's a little bit of a time change between me and my boss and he'll send emails like 3:00 in the morning. I'll get them and then I can't not read them. I got to read them. Yep. So yeah, that's eliminated a lot of stress. So I think that's a good way to eliminate distractions is set those notification times for different things or you know, hey, this is when I'm working or this is when I'm stopping working, we'll deal with it then. Yeah, that's good man. And that kind of Segways too. So we started with evaluate, so we did the evaluation. Yeah. Now we're talking about eliminate. Like how do we go through specifically? We're talking about technology right now, how do we go through and kind of pare down and I agree with you setting setting windows where alerts are allowed to come through another layer you can do on that is, again, I apologize Android users, but maybe speaking to the iPhone people because that's what we know and I'm sure there's probably a way to do it on your platform, but we're just not aware of it. So with iPhone, you can actually go through and put favorites. So you can say like Brandon's a favorite or my mom's a favorite, my dad's affair. My wife's a favorite. Yeah. And those people, you can actually specify when they can ring through and when their alerts come through, like text messages, phone calls, whatever, and it's important to set those groups because that will actually dovetail with what's called focus. And that, I believe, was introduced with the latest version of iOS which is iOS 15. And then we've got sub versions of that, but not to nerd out too much because this is the SEC man. I know what version of my iPhone. Well, that's my background, right? So it was like my thing for years and years. So I kind of nerd out on this stuff. But it's awesome though. But the cool thing is you can do focus mode and what that allow you to do is you can specify different times like This is my work time or this is my personal time or this is my gym time, or this is my sleeping time or family time or whatever. And within those times you can say, OK, during work time, I need Brandon and Daniel and Fernando to ring through. Yeah. Now, outside of work time, I need to block Brandon and Daniel because I don't want. You from. No fair to that. And I will say that I am very stringent about my ten to four is basically the only time I phone will ring unless, you know, it's like a dire emergency or something. So and I set that so that I don't have these distractions, right? Yeah. And I think the other thing, you know, this is a lot of kind of common wisdom that we're talking about. And so I want to read it back in scripture, but Philippians 48, I'm just going to paraphrase it, it talks about just keeping your mind on what is excellent. So as we're eliminating things, we need to couple that with the first step evaluate. We need to actually say, OK, these are the things that we found. Now what is actually excellent and what is God calling us to? Because, you know, before we started, you got a notification from the Bible app that is significant. You know, that is helpful. That's not that's not a distraction. It can be at certain times. But ultimately you're being reminded to get back in God's word. That's a good beneficial thing. Yeah. So if we're thinking about it in the lens of four days, 48, that is excellent. That is calling you and bringing you back to God. So I think it's important to keep it kind of in that context, in that mindset as well. Absolutely. And that brings that brings to mind in Luke Chapter ten where it talks about the story, Mary, Martha, and she is so busy trying to do what's good. She's trying to do a good job and she's working hard at it. But she traded what's good for what's best. And I think that's that's the key when we examine our lives and we're rooting these things out and trying to figure that stuff out, we have to evaluate, you know, we're splitting hairs a lot of times what's good and what's best for me. Yeah, maybe that does mean and there for a little while I've actually got out of habit of it, but it's really beneficial me, my wife, whenever we come home a few months back and we haven't been doing it, you know, faithfully since then. But I think it's something good that we should start back up we would put our phones on the on the table as soon as we got into the house and it's like, wow, this is weird. You know, you had the you kind of had the ticks for a little while. Yeah. Like, where's my phone at? I got a you know, have those withdrawals, but after a while, then it becomes freeing and you're able to kind of withdraw from that. That time suck I've just been inside the Matrix, so to speak, all the time. And I saw a picture online that was very fitting. It was a picture of a phone and everybody like drawing or whatever on their phones. And I had bonds that came out and wrapped around people's heads. And that's that's the thing is it's consuming you and you're becoming a part of this reality. Instead of focusing on the reality that God wants us to live in. That's good. That's good, man. Yeah, I, I definitely agree with that. I mean, we have to be cognizant of this, and you know, even on top of the technology distractions, you know, there can be distractions of relationship stuff that pulls you off of you know, whatever God's got you on, there can be responsibilities that are distracting. So as you're going through and kind of evaluating and then eliminating, it's important to say, hey, you know, Holy Spirit, show me what and this is going to be a quick aside. If you haven't taken the time to do like a mission statement, you know, let the Holy Spirit guide you. But do you actually a mission statement for your personal life and for your family? Do that because that will give you the filter to make all these decisions and all these choices. And that allows you to stay distraction free because you can say, is this part of, you know, like for us, we're a creative content ministry and we're here for the upbuilding of men, so do we. For us, is it a distraction to create content? Is it distracting from Upbuilding man? If it is, then that's something we probably have to eliminate. Yeah. So do a mission statement that's helpful to give you that that guiding and something else. I love this quote, but I'm pretty sure the guy that said it was a nut job. Because sometimes they have moments of lucidity where it's. Yeah, so I remembered this quote from like forever and I was like, I'm going to Google it and find out, like, you know, who said it and everything. And so the quote is, have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful. Or believe to be useful. And I love that quote because as we're eliminating things, if it's not beautiful and drawing you back to God, and putting you in a heart position and posture of worship, it's not necessary. And if it's not something that's like you got to have it for work or you have to have it for your health or your spiritual health, if it's not necessary, then it needs to be eliminated. And the reason I say is, guys in that job, because the caveat like after I've researched, it's like this guy was a radical socialist, and I was like, oh, oh, that's kind of why he's talking about houses and simplicity and not having much because the government would take it all. Yep. But I digress. I guess I got a little political there, but I do love the quote, so hey, anyway, God. Uses fallible people sometimes bring little pieces of the puzzle together, but I agree. 100%. And I'm you're talking about things outside of social media. And phones and digital world and things like that. I get I'm super compulsive. I'm kind of I'm one of those people that when I get into something like no matter what, a couple of months, couple miles, probably about six, eight months ago, I got into knife making nice and man it's so therapeutic to just grind those bevels in there and do all this other stuff and make this handle fit up together. Well, even before I knew it, I was open until like 11:00 out in the shop. Yeah. At night I come in to eat dinner and then going back out and that's not healthy. That's not good because I'm then sacrificing my time with my wife and. Yeah, so anything, anything in general is not necessarily bad in of itself. It's when you start to allow it to be a little lower case God in your life. And that is so, it's so easy to for that to take root because we're people who like to worship things were designed to worship something. And whenever we find something that we're either A good at or B we enjoy doing or whatever, you know, the saying too much of a good thing, that's that mindset because then we start to worship it in that way. So yeah, I hear you, man. And you know, any time, any time something starts creeping up on the throne of your heart and becomes like a little g god and an idol, you got to take inventory. And, you know, you got to eliminate it. So that kind of that kind of brings us so evaluate, eliminate. We've kind of, you know, beat that dead horse and so the last part is emancipate. And I think for guys, this is probably the hardest because it's it just seems difficult for us to actually like accept freedom. You know, it's like my chains are gone. I've been set free and it's like, but am I, you know, I don't know. You know, I kind of like. Actually give me that weight again. I want to drag it for a little while. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That kind of deal. And, you know, we all do it. We've all been there in different capacities. And so, you know, this emancipate peace. That's why this step is so important because this is where you free yourself from that spiral of distractions. You know, we've talked about you set the notifications on your phone again, I'm sorry, we're speaking to the Apple people, but because that's what we know. But if you know, if you if you're in the Apple ecosystem and you've got a Mac MacBook an iPad, an Apple Watch, that focus and mode can go across all your devices. So if you have it like set for work mode or whatever, that goes across all your devices. So it's it's very powerful and very freeing. So, you know, implement that. I have to. Give that a try. Yeah. And I think that's something that will be good. I was talking to Danny the other day, and I know I've rolled out some new technology with the new chat and communication platform and everything. And I think we need to have a technology day and for, for like our wellbeing as a team. I think that, you know, making sure we get focused mode dialed in on our devices is going to be huge. You know, just give us a lot of yeah, absolutely. Focus, get rid of those distractions like we're talking about and really be able to dial into, you know, kind of what God's got us going, going toward. And you know, I think, I think a lot of this too is we were talking about involving your your significant other, your spouse, you know, your accountability partner. As you do that, you need to also kind of set and define boundaries like the one thing is by Gary Keller is a book that I like. And literally in the book, they give you a little door hanger. It's like, you know, like you hang on the door at like to do not disturb the hotel. Yeah. And it says, if I'm not strong enough to tell you myself, I'm doing my one thing. Please, you know, basically leave me alone, you know, and it's a little door hanger, but the idea is very true and very strong. It's, you have to have those boundaries and you have to set them with people because I don't know who says. I think I think Dr. Phil says it, but I don't think he's like the origin of it. But we we really do treat people or we we teach people how to treat us, you know? And it's the same thing with boundaries. You know, if I didn't say my phone's available from ten to four, you know, people wouldn't be like, Oh, well, why can't I get you at 9:00 at night? Well, I'm already asleep because, you know, basically I'm an old soul and so does everyone in my household. But the older I get that we talk about this earlier, that is wisdom. Yeah, that is wisdom is in body what your parents and grandparents are doing. Go to the beach and read books. That's all me and my wife did. Just relax. That's fantastic. Need to have all those all those things distracting you. Absolutely, man. And that that literally, like, is exactly what I wanted to hit on next with the guys is the significance of Sabbath and vacation yeah. I mean, it's it's one of the ten commands, I believe it's number four. And the cool thing about this commandment is God rested. So obviously he didn't need to he's omnipotent. He's got an unending well of power and ability. So he didn't need to, but he did. Yeah. And he sets aside for us knowing that we need to and then he blessed it. Yeah. Nowhere else in Scripture does he bless a day. Absolutely. He blesses the Sabbath and that's every single week. And one thing I'm going to throw out there is, you know, make yourself own your Sabbath and make it a priority. And what we've done is we go to church on Sunday and all that. However, we volunteer at church. So for us it still felt like it was programed, it was scheduled. We're, you know, we're volunteer but still kind of felt like work and stuff like that. We're like, we're not really resting and we're not able to just press in as a family and worship God, which is the ultimate goal of Sabbath. So Saturday is our Sabbath, you know, and for some people it could be Friday, it could be any day of the week where you're like, this is sunup to sundown. Is the, the Jewish Hebrew tradition of Sabbath and it's like, OK, we're and you don't, you don't take it to a religious extent where you're like, you know, like the Pharisees did. You can't hear on the Sabbath, you know. Switch on that kind of thing. Yeah, exactly. So, you know, make it where you can prioritize getting to a place mentally and emotionally where you can worship God and be at rest. So that's important. And the only way you can do that is to be distraction free. And then the other extent of that is vacation like you were just talking about. And it's so significant and important that we carve out regular. So I'll I'll give a little personal story. So back when I was doing real estate full time, we had made a commitment and this is this is a God thing. We like you know, hell or high water we're going on, you know, maybe not a super long, but at least a multi day vacation once a quarter so we went on four vacations that year. Yeah. And this is this is not prosperity gospel. This is not the recipe to be healthy and wealthy or anything like that. But I will say that in that instance, we clocked six figures that year and we made every single vacation. Yeah. And the reason that we did that was for spiritual well-being. And God honored it through material stuff as well. And again, hear me, that is not a recipe that is not a formula. Don't don't take that away. Take away the priority of having significant time of rest and not allowing yourself get to the point where you're so distracted that you're, you're approaching burnout or you're so distracted, you're approaching a point where your life doesn't have purpose or direction anymore. You're literally just trying to make it make it to your bed every night. Yeah, absolutely. And man was not made for the Sabbath. Sabbath was made for man. And I think that's one thing that a lot of times, especially whenever you kind of slip off into a religious area with the Sabbath thing, that it becomes this this add on to our salvation and I know it doesn't mean to be, but then that's what it becomes. But a lot of people, this is a healthy thing. This is something just like you're talking about that weekly respite from all of our work so that we can just reflect on what God has done, reflect on, you know, things that might need to be done, but just that attitude of rest and yeah, like you said, vacations, they're vastly important because they're for a little while we had we didn't we didn't have one for a couple of years. This is work was crazy on all and. Covered man covered got crazy covered. All that stuff. So basically it was once you went back on a vacation and you realized oh my goodness, yeah. That stress has been, been there the whole time and then you find yourself stressing about work even though you're not at work. So yeah, that's, that's my downfall. But yeah, I think make sure you carve out times for Sabbaths, just rest in the Lord and make time for those vacations, make time for your family, spend time with them because at the end of the day, that's who we have here. That's who we've been blessed to be a part of. So make time for them, make time with them, and then cherish their time as well. Yeah. Yeah, that's good, man. So I'm going to I'm going to kind of put a bow on it and, and circle it all up for everybody. So we got the three step approach, right? So first we evaluate and we go through, we check all the data, check all the analytics, we check our screen time we do our little distraction journal and all that kind of stuff. So we take inventory. So we've got a list of the culprits, the distractors that are really just eating our lunch and then from there we go straight into elimination, and that's where we just ruthlessly approach, you know, anything that is not beautiful that's drawing us and moving us back to God or anything that's necessary that we just, you know, have to have in our lives. And then ultimately we move forward to emancipating where we just break the chains you know, and we set those boundaries, define those notifications on our devices, all those practical things so that we're able to live in Sabbath and and be able to be mentally and emotionally free to take a vacation and all those different things. So that's really where we get back to being able to live an intentional, purposeful life that's characterized by the fruit of the spirit. Specifically, peace comes to mind and you know, I think that's why it's so important that guys hear this and that we all commit to being distraction free. So any any final thoughts? I think you I think you tied it up really well. I think it all kind of goes back in my mind when you're looking at this distraction stuff to kind of like a garden metaphor. And, you know, when you have a garden, things like that, little animals come in, they try to eat, you try to take the things that you've worked hard to produce there. And I think that's analogous of what the Lord's doing in our life producing that fruit. But then these distractions come and they wither all this stuff away. And so how do you keep that from happening where you got to put up safeguards, you got to build fences and things like that to keep out those unneeded distractions and that like again, like I say, that's extra biblical, but I think it's vastly important. Sounds good. Build that hedge around around your time in your heart and your family and allow allow that to be what protects you there in the Lord. Yeah, that's good, man. Prayer out, please. Absolutely. Lord, as we look back on our time today, Father, I pray that you would just allow these words to be beneficial for somebody. Lord, they've been beneficial for me. And I pray that as people are listening and as people are implementing this into their life, that it would help them ruthlessly weed out distractions in their life and it would allow them to have a better family life at home, allow them to have a better more intentional time with their children and their wife and their family in general. Lord, most importantly, we pray that this would impact the way they live their life in communion with you. Father, at the end of the day, you're in control of our sanctification process. And Lord, we want to be faithful in doing our part. And Lord, as we partner with you to see that work done, I pray that you would just be faithful and just to do that and keep us close to you at all times, it's in your son's name. We pray even. Amen. And Brandon, appreciate you, man. And guys, thanks so much for tuning in. We appreciate y'all, as always, your love and your scent and if you got any value or benefit out of this, hit the subscribe button and leave us comment. We love to hear from you guys and click the notification bell. And that way you won't miss any cool videos coming down the road from us. And guys, as always, be good. Have some fun out there and we'll catch you on the next go round. God bless.