According to a study that was conducted by Microsoft in 2019, the average human now has an attention span of eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000. WOW! Eight whole seconds!
We are a nation of fast-paced sound bites, high-tech videos and personalized marketing. We find ourselves forced to divide our attention between many things at once, and multitasking is a valuable and exhausting skill.
Many people find it uncomfortable and even difficult to be still and quiet. In college, one of my philosophy professors used to refer to his class as the, “Lost Art of Thinking.” At the time, I didn’t realize just how meaningful that statement would become.
It is unfortunate, but a lifestyle of habitual busyness creates a lot of negative things. Culture pressures us with noise, and the louder, the faster, the brighter and shinier it is the more attention it demands.
A person must be intentional in order to find quiet and peaceful spaces. However, they do exist and for me, that space is in my garden. It is a place where I can meet with God, and observe what is instructed in Psalms 46:10—“Cease striving and know that He is God and that He will be exalted among the nations and in the earth.” My garden is a place that is simple and, at the same time, so complex that I never tire of its wonder.
I have heard it said that a garden is like a treasure chest just waiting to be discovered. On the surface, it appears as mostly soil, plants and bugs. But in order to see it as a hidden treasure, you must take time to hold the little seeds and really look at them. Smell the different leaves and flowers and taste their flavors. Watch the insects that come to visit and see how each plant responds to the different kinds of weather.
You must apply the healing properties of herbs to your own ailments and experience their benefits and enjoy the honest flavors of fresh vegetables. You need to clean the dirt from a freshly picked berry with just your hand and eat it while it is still warm from the sun.
The whole process takes time and requires focused attention, and with just a little effort, you cannot miss God revealing Himself. While the world is screaming for your attention, a garden is a place that allows you to appreciate the small and slow things.
Luke 5:16, tells us that, “Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” He would leave the crowd, the conversations and the expectations behind and go to a quiet place. The wilderness wasn’t a busy city or a nice coffee shop that had a quiet corner booth. It was a vast and barren place that people weren’t rushing to go to.
I’m sure that, while He was walking through that wilderness, he noticed small pebbles, the heat on His brow, dust and clouds. He didn’t slip away to have a few uninterrupted minutes on His social media, but He slipped away to pray.
I get it. It’s easy to get caught up in everything that is going on around us, but if Jesus felt it necessary to be alone and dwell in the presence of the Father and talk to Him, then perhaps during these unprecedented times we should, too.
Now is the time to slow down and go to a place of solitude that will allow you to see things with fresh eyes. Enter His gates with thanksgiving in your heart and His courts with praise. Truly dwell in His presence and talk to Him.
Eight seconds is just about long enough to take in your first breath of His peace that passes all understanding.