When was the last time you just sat quietly with no music, phone, TV or Internet to distract you? Think about just how often you grab your phone just out of habit when you have nothing else to do.
This morning I was sitting at my kitchen table finally slowing down and spending time with God when I read these words from Psalm 131, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul.” As I am reading this, I hear outside my window the sounds of construction equipment beeping, workers yelling, and hammers beating against the side of the building. In this moment, it hit me that noise is everywhere in our lives, and if we are not intentional about calming and quieting our souls before the Lord, it will never happen.
Our culture does not know how to sit in silence. We are scared of it because when we don’t have noise pouring into our lives, we finally have to do deal with the thoughts and feelings that we have been suppressing and running away from.
From the moment we wake up to the minute we lie down to sleep, we always have to have something occupying our mind and entertaining us.
What’s the first thing we do when we get up in the morning? Look at our phone. Then we hop in the car and turn up the music. While walking around campus or school, we have our headphones in our ears. At work, we have music on in the background. Then any downtime we do get, we have our face buried in our phones checking social media.
One study found that the average teenager spends over 7.5 hours a day on media, some even estimate up to 10.5 per day. I’d say this isn’t much different for all of us. That means we spend over 53 hours per week, and roughly 113 days per year on some sort of media.
So with all this social media and entertainment before us, surely we are satisfied right?
Not even close.
One study found that Americans are twice as likely today to say they are lonely compared to ten years ago. So actually social media has made us less social and more isolated.
Another stat says that 42% of all mobile phone users say they expressly use their phone for entertainment when they’re bored.
At Oxford, England’s Social Issues Research Centre, researchers say, that “by filling almost every second of down time by peering at our phones we are missing out on the creative and potentially rewarding ways we’ve dealt with boredom in days past.”
They would go on to say, “Informational overload from all quarters means that there can often be very little time for personal thought, reflection, or even just zoning out.”
Sadly, we are filling our boredom with noise that will never satisfy our desires. As Matt Chandler put it, “We are the most entertained generation ever, and yet the most bored. That unsatisfied heart should reveal that we were meant for more.”
With all of this said, we can see we are chasing after satisfaction from the wrong places. We are expecting the entertainment of this world to fill us up, but in the end, it is like training for a marathon and fueling our body with McDonalds. It will not sustain us.
The same goes for many of us as we are trying to live out a Christian life without ever quietly resting in God’s presence. And what God is asking from us is to simply turn down the noise in our lives and start listening to Him.
It is so easy to settle for momentary noise to temporarily fill our boredom instead of resting in the everlasting Father who fills us with His eternal peace.
So if we are going to do this, we must intentionally hit pause and assess our lives. This is straight from Scripture when it says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Eugene Peterson phrased the verse this way in the Message,
“Attention, all! See the marvels of God!
He plants flowers and trees all over the earth….
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.”
We need to step out of the traffic of our lives and take a break and simply, be still and keep our eyes on God.
How can you be still this week?
What if you put up your phone during the down time and instead used that time to pray?
What if instead of listening to the same songs on the way to school or work, you listened to the Bible app, and then prayed through those words the rest of the commute?
What if you kept a journal with you, and rather than checking Instagram, you wrote to God about what was going on in your heart?
What if you tuned out the noise of this world and tuned into the Creator of the universe?
All we have to do is be still…
I’d love to hear any other ways you have found helpful to disconnect from the busyness of the world and connect with God.