Tomorrow, Alberta, the Province I live in, will adopt a comprehensive “distracted driving” legislation. I pulled this from a government website:
“Distracted driving is anything that prevents you from operating your car safely including anything that takes your eyes off the road, your mind off the road, and your hands off the steering wheel, including using a hand held cell phone.
The Distracted Driving Law goes into effect September 1st, 2011 and applies to all vehicles, whether you are on a bicycle, waiting at a red light, stopped for a train or backed-up in traffic.”
No distraction in a car. No distraction near or far. No distraction, Sam-I-Am. Drive distracted? Go Ka-Blam!
I’m all for it, Sam I am. Like many thousands of people on the roads today, I’ll just have to change a few of my habits, starting tomorrow. No big deal.
But I think what they’re taking aim at isn’t distraction, but diversion. Personally, when I’m texting I’m not even remotely distracted. I’m focused, in the zone, dialled in—on the wrong thing, at the wrong time. My attention isn’t drifting, it’s being diverted from where it should be.
This, I think, is the problem with most of our lives. Most of us aren’t full of grotesque moral failures. We all limp through life with a fatal flaw, true, but after walking with Jesus for a little while we generally mean well and try to live for him. Our biggest problem isn’t usually distraction—wandering through life aimlessly without becoming conscious of our need for purpose and direction. Our biggest problem is diversion—spending our energies, our cash, our time, and our families on the wrong things at the wrong time.
Or maybe a better way to put it is, we spend our time on lesser things and miss out on greater things. We take that God-given drive and passion… and pour it into video games. Or candles. Or wining and dining. Or amateur sports.
There’s nothing wrong with video games, candles, or wine and a good steak. I have no beef with sports in general. What I’m talking about is pouring our souls into those things as if they are greater things. They’re not. They’re lesser things. They can deliver greater things, but they themselves are a waste of our best energies.
What are the greater things?
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40).
Don’t let love get too abstract, though. The context for love is community, and the effect of love is impact. Living a life of love with Jesus, sharing your heart in genuine community, and investing in others to make an impact are the greater things Jesus talked about over and over again.If those aren’t the first things, the greater things in my life, I’m a diverted driver. A diverted live-er.
Which is far worse.