Do you ever find yourself drawn to look at a your smartphone at a time when you know you shouldn’t look at your smartphone? During your child’s sporting event. In a meeting. While driving. Sitting in church.
Yup. Guilty. We’ve all done it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this the last few weeks. The trigger for these thoughts was the new super-strict cell phone law here in the State of Washington.
Since part of the law is that you can’t even look at your phone when you’re at a red light, in last week’s post I looked at how we can weave praise, prayer, and thanksgiving into our stoplight time.
If last week’s post looks at what to do instead of looking at your phone, the thought I keep having – and what I want to explore today – are the two main reasons why we have to look!
Warning: This might hurt.
Reason 1: We are less content with our lives than we’d ever admit.
You can call it “The grass is greener on the other side” or “FOMO” (the Fear Of Missing Out) or “My glass is always half-empty.”
Whatever you call it, the end result is still the same: My life isn’t as good as I want it to be, so I will either escape to an online world or live vicariously though the lives of my friends on Facebook and Instagram.
Even though we know the posts we see on Facebook (about our friends or the famous people we’re envious of) aren’t the whole story, we still look. And we still want what they have.
Isn’t it interesting that one of the most famous verses in the Bible (Phil 4:13)…
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
…is preceded by two verses that both use the word content?
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Our discontentment is real. And complicated. And it is destroying us.
Battling discontentment is certainly not going to be covered in a single blog post. However, I do find one practical way I’m battling it is to make sure I spend five minutes of each morning simply thanking God for either who He is, what He’s done in, through, and for me, or for what I have.
There is much to be thankful for. It is nearly impossible to be thankful and discontent at the same time. Don’t try to beat discontentment. Simply replace it with gratitude.
Reason 2: We are afraid of silence.
You and I live in a noisy world. Sadly, we invite and add to the noise more than we invite silence.
When was the last time…
…you got in your car and left your radio off for the whole ride?
…you exercised without music on?
…you didn’t turn on the TV, radio, or music the entire time you were getting ready for school or work?
…you didn’t check social media for 24 hours?
…you intentionally sat in silence for even 10 minutes?
We need silence. And yet, most of us don’t build it in. We don’t take the time or make the time for silence. But if you and I want to hear from God, doesn’t it only make sense intentionally listening is a necessary part of the process?
We feel like we should be “doing something.” Silence feels like wasted time. We don’t want to appear lazy, so we do something. Anything. The reality is we will never be done with everything. There will always be something that appears more important than sitting in silence and listening to our Father’s voice. Until we recognize the lie that drives that last sentence, we will never pursue silence.
We “tried silence” and it just didn’t work for us. If you have ever sat in silence, you’ve probably experienced the whirlwind of thoughts flying through your mind. Your to-do list. Your appointments for the rest of the day. The house that needs to be cleaned.
After 5 distraction-filled minutes, you throw up your hands and say, “Silence works for some people – but it’s not for me.”
Silence is for you. It’s also hard. It takes practice. And it does get easier. (Although, in my experience, it never gets easy…just easier.)
Have you ever “tried” exercise…or eating healthy…or learning a new skill? How was your first attempt?
You and I need time to sit still. To think. To listen. To hear from a God who still speaks.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…”
Be still. Five minutes today. Five minutes tomorrow. Maybe 10 minutes in a week or two. It won’t be long before you crave it…even more than your smartphone.
NOTE: If you would like to learn about silence, Invitation to Solitude and Silence was extremely helpful for me a few years ago. It is practical, encouraging, and challenging at the same time. You can click the book to read reviews or grab a copy on Amazon.