I tried something scary a while ago. I removed the internet browser, email, and Facebook app from my phone. It was hard to do at first—but actually enjoyed it. I no longer had as many incessant notifications begging to get my attention, and my daily commute was much more peaceful. Why was it so hard to do in the first place?
We live in a culture that is addicted to distraction. Along with food, drugs, and alcohol, we’ve added smartphones to the arsenal of things we use to numb negative emotions. We use cellphones like a drug. We don’t want to feel.
Where we are headed.
The book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury describes a future dystopia where books are banned and even confiscated and burned. The protagonist, Guy Montag, burns books for a living. His wife stays at home and is obsessed with technology. She spends hours watching “interactive television” and has a mini radio always blaring in her ear. The book was written in 1953, but details like this are strikingly prophetic.
Media theorist, Neil Postman, notes that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World predicted that our society would eventually arrive at this place:
“In Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”
This world is temporary but it's easy to get caught up in the distraction. Jesus warns us about this when He says:
"Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
What does it mean to "be always on the watch?" It entails communing with God on a regular basis. I'm not completely against entertainment, but we can easily get lost in it. Spending hours on Facebook and binging on Netflix may keep you occupied, but it certainly won't feed your soul. We have to be disciplined enough to carve out time with God.
Create space for God.
When I say create space, I literally mean setting aside a physical place where you can be with God. I have the privilege of having a spare bedroom in my home. It sat vacant for several months until I had the idea of making it into a prayer room. The only rule is that technology is not allowed there. It really helps me shift into the right mindset as soon as I enter. When I was in seminary, I didn't have a spare bedroom, but I had a chair that I only sat in while reading my bible and praying.
If you are having trouble setting aside time with God, I challenge you to do the same. You may not have an extra room, but try setting aside a corner of your house meant just for prayer—set aside a holy place. It never ceases to amaze me that on the days when I pray, I find myself less anxious, less stressed, and more content with what God has for me in the current season of my life.
Subscribe to My Newsletter