Spiritual Practice


Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller

Remember Dug, the hyperactive yet loving dog from the movie Up? Dug is easily distracted. Often in mid-sentence, he shouts, “Squirrel!”—and then pings off to chase another idea or animal.

My husband and friends like to joke that I’m a bit like Dug. They say I ping from thought to thought so fast that I can cover a dozen ideas in less than a minute. I’ve found that my work as a journalist—with its constant stream of information from phone calls, texts, emails, and social media—makes me more apt to be distracted. I have a hard time putting down my phone. I can’t unplug even to eat a meal or watch a movie.

Technology should make my life easier. Instead, its distractions leave me feeling drained. My brain never shuts off, which leads to a lot of sleepless nights, and my health takes a dive. These distractions also damage my relationships with my husband, family, and friends. Rather than living in the moment, I find myself checking my phone in their presence to see what I might be missing.

Being plugged in 24/7 also affects my relationship with God. When I am distracted, I can miss what God might be trying to tell me. Like a plant that shrivels without water, my soul becomes dry and lifeless. I miss so many real-time opportunities because I have overloaded my brain with what I see, hear, and read on social media.


Making a Change

Each year I choose one word to shape and guide my life. This year I picked delight; I wanted to focus on taking delight in God’s world. For me, finding delight means unplugging from distractions and focusing on things that feed my soul. It means spending less time scrolling through social media and more time with my nose buried in a book. It means turning off the phone and learning a new technique in an art class. It means less pinging and more breathing. It means less screen time and more time with my friends and family.

I’ve learned that in order to become my best self, I need to focus less on the world and more on God. I’m not perfect. I still get distracted. But this year I want to focus more on delight—the things that encourage me, give me strength, and feed my spirit. I would rather end the year with fewer “likes” on social media and deeper, stronger relationships with my friends, family, and God.



devozine Lectio Divina TS 97648012One way I have learned to find delight is by meditating on scripture. Every night I read the daily verse on YouVersion (a free Bible app) and write it down in a journal. Then I jot down my response—my related thoughts or an image that comes to mind. This practice focuses my attention and allows me to find delight in God’s word.

What one word might encourage you to stop pinging and start breathing? What practices might enable you to focus on feeding your soul, enriching your relationships, and finding delight in God’s word and world?

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller is a journalist and creative soul who lives in Oklahoma—45 miles from a Starbucks. When she’s not juggling assignments, she’s home at her #LittleFarmOnTheLake with her lawman husband and pets BatCat, Muzzy, and Opie.

—from devozine (July/August 2019). Copyright © 2019 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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