Does anyone else receive a weekly binging alert on your phone telling you to how much screen time you’ve averaged the past seven days? What an interesting little development this has been for our family. Humorously and without fail, our entire family receives their stats every week as we drive to church. It becomes of course, a competition for bragging rights and/or a totally mortifying moment of shame depending on how much screen time one has accumulated the past week. If your average time has gone down, you obviously brag about it. If you spent too much time on your phone, you sit quietly hoping no one will inquire into your weekly numbers. Its great fun, especially as we prepare our hearts for worship and a sermon. (Insert eye-roll here.)
We like to emphasize just how darned busy we are working, going to school, keeping our proverbial ships afloat… and we are without a doubt a culture that doesn’t value slowing down. I noticed something this week that kind of agitated me: even when we aren’t necessarily busy, we are ridiculously distracted.
When we are home together, we often aren’t really ‘together’ at all. Everyone has their little ‘default’ setting that they go to, and it’s increasingly to a screen. It’s understandable, after long days at school and work, we need our down time. It’s funny how we we unplug by remaining totally plugged-in. Our handy-dandy weekly screen time reports tell just where and how we are spending our time, whether it’s social media, games or YouTube.
Maybe we aren’t as busy as we’d like to think… maybe we are just increasingly distracted.
Isaiah 30:15 says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
In a world of perpetual chaos and distraction, getting quiet goes against all our instincts. Quiet is kind of weird. It’s definitely uncomfortable. As a little kid, I was made to take afternoon quiet times in my room with just myself and one book of my choice. No shenanigans like practicing headstands or playing school with my dolls (these were my vices, lol) were allowed. Just a time to calm down and chill out.
We don’t believe that quiet brings us much benefit anymore, much less any actual strength. God tells us differently. Our strength isn’t in our busyness or our accomplishments, it comes when we shut out the noises and go to be with God.
Like little addicts, we get kind of twitchy when we are out of arms reach of a screen. We see the connection it brings as a real path to fulfillment, otherwise we wouldn’t covet it the way we do.
“In returning and rest… in quietness and confidence…”
Like those fantastic noise-cancelling headphones people wear on airplanes, we need to tune out much of what we are listening to and tune in to God’s voice.
Well-meaning friends. The news. Co-workers. Twitter. Facebook. Your own head.
I stuck a little verse up on our fridge in a not-so-subtle attempt to remind everyone (especially myself) of this fact –
“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” Psalm 119:37
It’s ok to be busy and it’s ok to crave a little distraction. We just need to remember to present ourselves to God on a daily basis so that His voice remains the loudest one in our head.