‘We are merely moving shadows and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth not knowing who will spend it.’ Psalm 39:6 New Living Translation
The first portion of this verse really pierced my heart and it nudged me to pay attention to the things that I am doing with my time. Last week I took a day unplugged, no social media, no checking texts every few minutes, no electronic devices. It was amazing, refreshing and convicting. Now please hear me when I discuss this subject, these are my observations and thoughts that I believe God has shown me. You do not need to own these ideas but consider them and experiment with them and see if any of them fit. My challenge is for you to find what works best in your life while paying attention to how God wants to speak to this subject for you.
I believe distraction is not only a tool of the enemy but another way that we protect ourselves from hurt, often unknowingly. I am sure those that know me and my ADD tendencies are wondering how I can stay focused enough to write this. (just for the record, I have made some breakfast, texted a couple of people, brought the laundry upstairs and took a picture of Owen’s schedule while writing this haha) I say that just to show I have some expertise in this field of distraction. I have mostly learned to work with these tendencies by persevering with the project at hand and being deliberate about finishing things. The biggest help has been submitting these things to God and asking Him to order things and my thinking. I know I cannot accomplish this on my own.
The distraction I have been observing the most in myself and others lately has been the infamous cell phone. The first mobile phone was invented over 40 years ago and the evolution of it has been astounding. Do I believe it is incredible that we can contact anyone, anytime, anywhere they are in the world practically, absolutely. Do I believe it is necessary? absolutely not. I do believe that there is use for them but I believe they are highly overrused and feed into the neediness of our souls. The parts of us that are longing for God and connection with Him are tied up in the constant barrage of messages, postings and ideas. I realize as I type on my computer through the media of wordpress and that this will land on my timeline in facebook shows how integrated media is in our lives and sometimes necessary to communicate to others. For me, it has been recognizing how this has infiltrated my life causing fractures and disconnect and in that recognition to ask God how to set the boundaries in how this will play out in my life.
I wanted to address a bit why I think that we use cell phones to protect us from hurt and in essence don’t interact in healthy ways. They have become a buffer in relationships, a tool often used wrongly to try and communicate with someone. We need to remember that in communication only 7% is actual words and that non-verbal communication is actually the most telling with about 38% being your tone of voice and 55% is your body language. So how on earth is it possible to get the full affect of what is being communicated by looking at a device with words. The art of understanding and conflict resolution are becoming a thing of the past and relationship difficulties are multiplied with the lack of real communication. There is nothing like sitting face to face to resolve things or know someone.
God recently had me challenge a nephew with these thoughts, God has placed you on this earth to make an impact. What does that look like for you? What do you want the future generations to remember you for? In turn this challenged me especially as I have been praying about the best ways to utilize my cell phone time. I want to be remembered as being present and engaged, constantly checking my phone does not portray that picture to the ones I am with. I want to be remembered as having made a difference in people’s lives, encouraging them to live in God’s fullness, wasting hours on social media everyday will not make room for that. I want to write and impact people with that gift, the fracturing of time with constant phone interaction obliterates my effectiveness.
This is a constant discipline and it will look different depending on what I am doing but I want to use my best for God and His Kingdom. Psalm 90:12 NLT says ‘Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.’ Brevity – shortness of time. Think next time before you mindlessly reach to check your phone and especially think before doing this while driving or you may truly know the meaning of brevity. Is it worth it? Have you set some boundaries? If you are constantly looking for likes and messages and notes, ask God what it is you are missing and ask Him to fill it instead. This is the only place you will truly find the fulfillment your soul longs for.