I always joke that I would have been better off living in the past when things weren’t as hectic and complicated. When I’m at home, I watch The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie almost religiously. I find the simplicity of it all incredibly relaxing. My husband laughs at me and reminds me Laura Ingalls was probably freezing and hungry a good deal of the time. Sigh.
There’s an episode of The Waltons where the family has a telephone installed in the home and it rings during dinner time almost throwing poor grandma Walton into convulsions. The very idea of such an intrusive distraction is just too much for her to bear.
I wonder what these people would think if they could return to 2017 and see the way we live. Phones in our pockets, twelve different social media platforms, televisions at gas stations blaring the latest news. Our days are a whirlwind of craziness, we are always searching and rarely finding anything worthy of our attention. The hours are filled with fillers… scrolling, sending, receiving and checking for the next thing. Information overload.
When my boys were babies I remember them not being able to handle too much stimulation. If a room was too loud for too long, they simply shut down and went into a deep sleep. I sometimes feel that way at the end of the day if I’ve spent too much time feasting on the world’s junk. Exhausted. Spent. Checked out.
‘The struggle is real’ as they say… we are created to search, but we’re also created to find fulfillment in the right places. Christians these days are fantastic at seeking, but I wonder how are we at genuinely settling down and receiving? Are we even capable of quiet anymore? We are wired to take in eighty bits of useless information in a minute, but can we sit down with Jesus for an hour and take in maybe one big, fantastic truth from Him? Something like: You are loved. I am for you. Settle down. Hold fast. Confess. Worship. Simplify.
Most of us are in such a whirlwind most of the time that it’s difficult to even discern what is happening to us.
“The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.” AW Tozer
Here is a man ahead of his time, showing us that mindlessly seeking after every new thing isn’t unique to our century. It’s true, we see mediocrity around us and we want to rise above it. We desire better things. We inherently know there’s room to grow. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, we are created to live abundant, fruitful lives.
But to what end? To get ahead of our neighbor? To promote ourselves? Or to glorify God?
We’ve deceived ourselves into thinking the answer we’ve been looking for lies just beyond, in that new bestseller, that ’40 days to (fill in the blank). Every month there’s another idea presented in shiny packaging by a shiny writer and we think, ‘Ok! I’m on board! I’ll read, I’ll journal, I’ll draw prayer circles around my children, whatever it takes!’
And then… fizzle, poof. It’s on the shelf of our good intentions collecting dust.
If something isn’t pointing us toward Jesus and away from self, it’s probably not going to stick. Self is a dead-end road. Jesus, however, is the fountain of living water that never runs out. God desires that we love Him for Himself, that we “seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).
The spirit of this age loves to complicate what is simple, to corrupt that which is pure. Too many cooks in the kitchen of Christian thought and you end up dangerously close to burning the whole thing down.
I truly believe one of the most dangerous habits of our day is over-complicating the ways and truths of God. Some of us have a great talent for it. We are professional seekers who never find a single thing worth holding onto. Seeking is important, but we are meant to find something at the end of the search.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart…” (Jeremiah 29:13)
Too much clutter, too many opinions, and information overload dull our senses. We can’t see clearly through the lens of the world, and there is an enemy who wants nothing more than to keep things out of focus for us.
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
It’s no Walton’s Mountain up in here, but it is possible to disengage awhile from all the distractions that keep us always seeking and never finding. Put all the well-meaning clutter on hold for just a day and open up God’s Word. Soak it in and see what comes of it.
Too many cooks will indeed spoil the broth. Let some of them out of the kitchen for a bit and see how things turn out.