For years I have loved a good book. Something happens in my brain when I hunker into ‘my chair’ in the living room and read. No matter how long I have been reading the book, I do not notice the passage of time. All that must happen is for me to become interested enough in the book to read it.
One thing I noticed when disappearing into the pages of a great novel is how quickly it happens. If I know the book and have been interested in it for a while, I can be completely zoned into the books universe in minutes, even seconds. However, if the book is new or I am not as interested, it takes longer, sometimes I can never really ‘get into it’ at all.
It’s a balance between getting through the book and enjoying it. My family have noted how, being in a house with eight people, many of us kids have developed ways to tune out everyone. My way is to become so intently focused on something that everything else is filtered out. I distinctly remember a time when I woke up early in the morning, before anyone else had woken up, and became another piece of the couch. I loved the book and had read it before, so tuning out everyone was easy.
What I did not know when reading was that my entire family, ( all eight kids and parents) had woken up, made breakfast, left, cleaned up, and even got into an extended wrestling match without my noticing. Several hours later, my little sister was sent to wake me up. Because I had not moved or made a sound, as well as being hidden behind several pillows, no one realized I was in the middle of everything the entire time.
I find it hilarious, even though my siblings were a little annoyed that I never took a side in the wresting match. Several weeks ago, I took my little sister to my favorite coffee shop in Old Colorado City. Fun fact, when I took that picture, my little sister was not in it. She is the one who looks like an angel peeping out of the corner. I love that coffee shop because the entire upstairs portion is a bookstore.
How is it that we become so focused on something that we basically vanish from everything else?
I know I have heard of the phenomena before, when people become entrapped by their activity and the rest of the world turns into the magician’s vanishing theatre. Life can be satisfying, life can be fantastic. You just have to know where you find your focus.
It’s a word used to describe what happens psychologically when anyone’s brain decides it really enjoys something enough to cut out every other experience. I have had a few very prominent experiences with flow. One I related already, but the second actually happened quite a long time ago (at least for me).
I was fourteen at the time, which was really only a few years ago, but I had attended a Christian concert with my dad. The reason I went was that my older brother would be playing with Worshipmob as a lead guitarist and singer later that evening.
There were multiple bands that came to Heaven fest in Colorado that year. Yet, although I know I saw Switch foot and Skillet and Barlow girls perform, I do not remember any of them clearly. I do not remember them because what happened next eclipsed everything else I had seen that evening.
Each family member of the band who attended Heaven fest were invited to be ‘the mob’ onstage. My father and I got to go on stage with the band and stand in a group with more than two hundred people on that stage.
When they began singing and worshiping, I remember that the noise and reverb was so loud that I could not understand anything, no words, no chords, not even the melody. Because we were on stage, the noise was aimed out toward the crowd. I began singing. Whatever came to my head, I screamed at the top of my lungs.
At that moment, I imagined that I was alone in a huge white space, in front of the throne of God. For the rest of the three hours we were onstage, I did not feel time passing. All I felt was joy and an endless stream of energy that filled me when I praise God. During that moment, I began jumping around the stage, bouncing, and dancing.
That is the first time I remember experiencing flow. Isn’t that awesome?
I also remember how frustrated I became when I could no longer achieve that place where I simply worshiped God without barriers thereafter. How do we get there?
How do you get back?
My dad tell’s me that God does not work the same way twice.
This is an incredibly individual phenomena. What I can say about flow is where you find it. Look for the cross between your hobbies, and your passion. What is it that you are good at, that you can lose yourself in? There is no skill you have that was not given to you by God for a purpose. If you truly enjoy something and get satisfaction from it, you may need to invest more time and energy in developing that skill.
Here’s the catch. You honestly should not try to develop your passion for your own glory and fame. Why do I say that? Because we have this nasty tendency to only remember ourselves and no one else. What does God say about that? “And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
Do not forget the people living on this planet with you. God has made you for a reason, and perhaps that reason is to touch someone you see everyday, but have not noticed.
Look around and see what God has put before you today.
Be blessed today.