I have a confession. Anytime I have more than 30 seconds of “down-time” for my brain, I am tempted to fill the time with either music or glancing at my phone. It feels unnatural to simply look around…or think…or pray…or…do nothing.
How about you?
When you’re in line at the store, or walking to the mailbox, or sitting at a stoplight, or two minutes early for a meeting, do you immediately grab your phone?
Here’s a harder question: Is it possible to hear from God if we never stop to listen?
Could it be that you and I have filled every tiny space with noise – audible and visual – and made it impossible to hear that “still, small voice?” Do we really expect God to shout?
I want that to change. I need it to change. I need to declutter my brain in 5-minute chunks.
To that end, here is my challenge (and I’m inviting you to join me):
- Pick one day in the next week.
- Pay attention to when you have down-time for less than 5-minutes. (Standing in line, short drives, emptying the dishwasher, walking between meetings, etc.)
- Don’t fill the time. (No phone. No radio. No email.)
- Pay attention.
That’s it. Pay attention. Notice people.
I’ve been doing this more and more over the last few months. It’s been life-giving. I have seen more and listened more.
A Quick Warning: It will feel weird. Really weird. You’ll feel like you should check to see if you got a text. You should scroll through social media. You should send that quick email. You’ll feel like you should be doing something…anything.
If you feel the need to do something, here are a few ideas:
- Notice something in your surroundings you can be thankful for.
- Pray for the people around you.
- Pray for your kids, spouse, or friends.
- Meditate on a single Bible verse or truth.
- Dream about what you want to accomplish in the next day, week, month or year.
- Ask God what He would like you to work on.
- Pray about a hard relationship.
- Thank God for any easy relationship.
- Think about a memory where you laughed hard.
- Be still.
I am not saying you should never check email, send a text, or even scroll through social media. What I am saying is that we shouldn’t fill every spare moment.
We need silence.
We need stillness.
We need to listen.
We need space.
We need to think.
We need to stand in awe.
We need be thankful.
One of my favorite quotes – I believe it’s by the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning – goes like this:
God cannot pour His blessings into hands already full.”
Allow me the leeway to modify it for the context of this post:
God cannot speak to minds never listening.”
One day. No added noise to our 5-minute windows of downtime.
What do you say? Are you in?