This past Sunday, Pastor Bill spoke about moving from being distracted to being intentional about where we spend our time (see the Facebook livestream - starting about 31 minutes in). A study at the beginning of 2016 showed Americans spending over 10 1/2 hours per day during the week looking at a screen (mobile devices, TV, computers, etc). That’s over 50 hours a week — like a full time job with some overtime!
Our assignment this week is to take an honest look at our screen time and find areas to cut back on distractions and expand our time spent in real relationship. But where shall we start?
God isn’t far away and uninvolved in our lives. He’s right here, even as you read this. The Holy Spirit is with you and in you, and knowing what to do is sometimes as simple as asking the question in prayer and listening for His answer.
As with any improvement effort, it helps to collect data so you can make an informed decision. Track yourself. How many evenings a week do you spend in front of the TV, browsing Facebook or YouTube, or playing video games? How much of your “free time” is spent with a screen instead of in relationship with a person?
When measuring, also consider the nature of the screen use. Is it entertainment? Escape? Keeping up with the news or the lives of your friends?
Look for ways to fill that desire in a healthier way, one more directly interacting with people in ways that further God’s work in you and them. You can replace watching TV with playing games with a family member or pursuing a hobby that uses the gifts God has given you. Replace social media with actually calling a friend.
Once you see an area you can change, go for it. Don’t wait, start today! Cut out the distraction and replace it with something better. If you don’t have a person available to fill the time in real relationship, spend that time in relationship with God. Listen to online sermons or worship music, read your Bible, pray about your life and your loved ones.
RIDE OUT THE DETOX
Your brain is used to the stimulation it was getting from TV, social media, or other screen time. It can be like a sugar or caffeine addiction: when the stimulation suddenly stops, you may experience restlessness or agitation. After a couple of days of change, you may want to go back to the comfort of the old habit. Hang in there! Replace the old with the new, and keep at it until the new becomes the habit.
WE WILL NEVER HAVE “NOW” EVER AGAIN
The time we have here on earth is finite, fixed. We will never get this time back. Every hour we spend distracting ourselves from heartache, pain, or boredom is time that could have been spent pursuing healing, answers, and the purpose that God has for us. (Yes, you have a purpose!)
You're not alone in this. Especially if you challenge a friend to join you in cutting distractions. Share this post, leave a comment below, or simply bring this up in your next conversation. Use the power of positive reinforcement to keep you motivated!