Years ago my son Dan was on spring break from college and challenged me to a game of chess. Although I hadn’t played in several years, I readily accepted. It had been a while for Dan, too, so I figured we would be equally rusty.

After making a series of errors in the first game, I realized two things: I was not as patient a player as I used to be and Dan was much more thorough and thoughtful; he was making excellent moves. I lost the first game—and then two more. I didn’t ever recall losing three games in a row.

With increased resolve and a commitment to focus, I started the fourth game strong. But after establishing a superior position, my play became haphazard and I dug myself into a hole. Its conclusion would have produced exciting commentary for chess aficionados, but I will spare you the details.

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In short, Dan offered an intriguing gambit and I went for it. Though he played his endgame without fault, somehow I emerged victoriously. Garnering one win out of four, however, was not the outcome I expected.

Though I hate to lose, I am proud of how well Dan played. His academic focus on his engineering studies had served him well, developing his mental acuity and increasing his logical thinking. I am so pleased.

I, on the other hand, was dismayed at my difficulty in concentrating and propensity for the quick versus quality moves. The culprit, I fear, is years of trying to multitask (which is really only an illusion). Now, when I try to stop multitasking, I can’t. Rarely can I concentrate on a single chore without spurious thoughts impeding my focus.

And my chess game is among the victims.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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