As I was cooking dinner one night, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the buzz of the dryer, because the load contained shirts that I didn’t want to wrinkle. Meanwhile my husband called and said he was going to be home late because of traffic. I hung up the phone, and my 11-year-old son started talking to me while I said, “Just a second. Rachel! Set the table please!” and I heard a “Yes, Mommy.” Meanwhile my son was talking, but I have no idea what he was saying because I heard the dryer buzz. I set down my spatula from the stir fry to go to the dryer. I quickly and efficiently folded all the shirts as fast as was humanly possible. My head felt thick as my son continued to jabber on and on. I still wasn’t listening to him because… oh, no! Dinner was burnt! I lifted the pan and turned off the burner, looking toward the dining room to make sure that my daughter had obeyed me about setting the table. She had. I set the pan down. I decided to serve the dinner burnt.
We have come to think of multitasking as being efficient with our time. Especially as mothers, we tend to be doing between three to five things all day long. We try to juggle to get everything done, but the truth is that we have forgotten to focus. And we have forgotten how to live in the moment. The saddest part of all this was that the only thing of eternal value in this scenario was my son’s open heart to me, wanting to share something with me. He is soon going to be a teenager, and if I don’t listen to him now, he won’t bother to tell me things in the future, the things that matter. Because what’s important enough for him to say to me, I ought to be able to listen to. But it seems like I don’t have time or brain space. My brain is juggling six things and can’t input more information without dropping something; in this case, burning dinner.
Actually, whenever I focus on only one thing, I get a lot more done. This includes being with people. When I am in my room, sitting on a chair, and my son wants to talk, I can focus great, and we have the most wonderful, deep spiritual conversations. Like the other day he was telling me how frustrated he was with his brother, who would over-react. This would infuriate him, but he had enough self-control not to show his anger. I told him he didn’t need to give in to the temptation to become angry; that God always provides a way out so that we don’t have to sin. “Look for the way out,” I said. We brainstormed ways to do this. Then we prayed that God would transform all of our hearts to help us to overcome sin. You see, I was paying attention to him because I wasn’t multitasking.
Being scatterbrained is no way to live. I was never scatterbrained until I became a mother, and I felt like there was no choice. But we do have a choice. We can choose to do laundry at the beginning of each day so that it doesn’t interfere with dinner. We can ask God how to eliminate action clutter, things that don’t matter that we happen to be doing. And we can learn to be present, to live and breathe, and to do one thing at a time.Tweet