Bored? Pull out your phone and browse Facebook.
Lonely? Pull out your phone and send a quick selfie-snap to your list of Snapchat friends.
Doing something cool? Better pull out your phone, grab that photo, and post it on Instagram post-haste because if your friends don’t know you did it, was it really worth doing?
Home alone? Put on a movie, of course, or watch an entire season of whatever TV show strikes your fancy.
Let me tell you a little story. A couple of weeks ago, I was a counselor at a girls camp where there were no electronics allowed. I have to admit that when I first heard that I was a little shocked and actually nervous about what I’d do without my phone for seven long days. …And that was my first clue that maybe my phone had become more than a necessity.
Well, do you want to know how that week went? I actually cried the first night because I couldn’t text any of my family or friends and tell them how nervous I was about the week at camp. I had to opt for what felt, to my embarrassment, like second-best: talk to God about it. But the next morning, and for the rest of the week, I experienced freedom. I enjoyed what was around me. The quiet of nature. Talking to my girls. Talking to God. Reading my Bible. Just thinking. And let me tell you this: I was more aware than I had been in a long time of a few things: 1) the spiritual needs of the people around me 2) my own dependence on God 3) the voice of the God’s Spirit. At the end of the week I didn’t even want to see my phone again because life had been so real and rich without it, I had seen quick answers to prayer and had seen God work in crazy ways.
At first I was surprised – why would I feel like I was hearing the Spirit more when I was away? What was the difference? What had been wrong before?
We all have filters in our minds. Imagine a water filter – when that filter is clean, lots of water comes through without any trouble. But as the filter becomes clogged with minerals and junk, the water is hindered from flowing through and might even come through a little messy. Our mind-filter is constantly processing through what we feed it. We feed our minds every minute of the day, via the music we listen to, the movies we watch, the people we talk to, and perhaps most prominently through the social media we ingest. I realized that every day I was – yes, feeding myself the word of God, conversation with God, and some good music. But more than that, I was feeding myself the random things that came up on Facebook, or Instagram. I was swallowing whole the emptiness of certain music, movies, valuable moments spent in worthless talk. And that all was clogging my filter, making me dull to the spiritual realities of this earthly life, making me less sensitive to the Spirit of God, making priorities less than eternal. I was getting frustrated at my inability to walk in love and victory, all the while shutting the door to the opportunity to do so.
I think you all know that this doesn’t mean I’ve burned my phone and will never watch a movie again. It just means my eyes were opened to the fact that my filter was pretty clogged with some junk I had unknowingly been feeding myself, and I need to be careful in the future as to what I’m feeding my mind. It’s a good rule of thumb to skimp on the secular things and feast on the sacred things. Think…really think about the condition of your filter right now. Is water flowing clear through without hinderance? Or maybe not so much?
What are you feeding yourself?
We can’t complain about not being victorious over sin when we give it access into our minds countless times every day via social media.
We can’t complain about not hearing the voice of God when we are quenching it with the junk we feed ourselves daily.
This week, if you are bored, read a book. If you get lonely, have a conversation with a wise and trusted friend. If you go on a grand adventure, turn your phone on airplane mode and really invest in the people you’re with, and enjoy the scenery. If you’re home alone, play the piano, or call a friend, or maybe even read your Bible and pray. You’ll be surprised and delighted to find that life is more enjoyable that way.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” -1 Timothy 6:6-7
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” -Philippians 4:8
I could write for awhile on this, but there are a couple of people who’ve articulated what I’d want to say really well…I highly recommend a quick read-through of both of these short articles:
You Might Not Want To Go To Heaven by Matt Walsh (powerful article on our perception of heaven and how unprepared most of us are to spend an eternity doing something that we hardly spend an hour a day doing now)
Consumed by Nathan Streyle (I just met this guy randomly the other night and really recommend this article he wrote on practically making room for God to speak and work in our lives…he’s also going on a mission trip soon and there’s an opportunity to donate if you follow the link)