Photo Credit: Jeff Coleman (my talented husband)
We live in a world of constant connection. The Internet and handheld tech tools have changed the way we do life in constant connection and information… arguably, for both the better and worse. From the time we wake in the morning until the time we go to bed at night, we’re juggling between what sometimes feels like a never-ending stream of texts, calls, emails, Google searches, social media notifications, and to-do’s… not to mention our (over?)scheduled “leisure” activities of choice. Busy has truly become the 21st century American condition.
But what if our quest for activity, community, and relaxation is actually handing us the opposite of their intended outcomes? What if what we really need is more stillness… margin… rest?
Stillness is a repeated theme in Scripture. The Lord calls us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). But it’s hard to be still and sit in silence when our phone, laptop, Netflix, fill-in-the-blank is an arm’s reach away. A decade ago, when you were waiting in line, what did you do? Maybe talk to someone next to you, or just sit quietly and think? Nowadays, my tolerance for stillness, for boredom seems a lot lower. There’s always an email that needs attention or something to see, to read, to learn, to do. I’m too often reminding myself to put my phone away and just be.
For the past couple of years, the Lord has been prompting me to examine my heart as it relates to how I focus my time and attention, to how my habits are cultivating stress or rest. And, if I’m going to be effective in doing that, I must take a hard look at how I’m being intentional about connecting with – and disconnecting from – technology. Activity isn’t bad, and technology isn’t bad… but anything in excess can distract and numb our hearts, and if we are honest with ourselves, even become idols.
Constant connection has a tendency to leave me feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, striving, even apathetic. But, praise God, Jesus calls us to something better – to set aside our Martha ways and sit at His feet like Mary. To be intentional about setting aside distractions and focus on the one thing that is needed (Luke 10:42). To soak up His goodness and enter into His peace, freedom, and rest – the only true, lasting rest for our souls. To redirect our hearts and desires to become more like His – for our good and His glory.
Each day, you and I have a choice to be intentional about how we connect with Jesus and with people – both in-person and through our devices. May we be granted grace and mercy to choose well, and to get back on track when we fall astray.
This morning during my walk/worship time, I was greatly encouraged by the words of a favorite song. This is my prayer today for me, and for you:
In my life
Burn away the things
I hold tight
Eyes to see
The way You want it
What can be worth more than You
What do I have I wouldn’t lose
If it means You and I
Look more alike
That’s what I chose
I’d give up the world to find my soul
Pour out my life, give You control
I just want to be what You want me to be
I just want a heart that’s true
A heart like You
I just want a heart like You”
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!