In a bold and unprecedented move, I did the unthinkable last week:
I removed the facebook app from my phone.
We live in a time a few years beyond when the average house has a home phone. So to be safe in an emergency, I’ve resorted to keeping my phone on the nightstand next to my bed. In an emergency, this will be a smart move. But on the average day, it’s created a lot of chaos in my life.
My phone lights up every morning when I wake up with a long list of notifications that I missed overnight. Each one of the highlighted boxes is begging me to tap through to whatever app wants my attention. And on my phone, most of the morning notifications were facebook.
Some were legit notifications from people who reached out to me, whether personally or for my business. Some are just things that I had commented on and the app was telling me someone else said something (probably better if I don’t know!) And a few are things that drag me down these rabbit holes that are so deep, and sometimes so dark that my phone keeps me in my bed, toying with my emotions and starting my day with a negative attitude.
I decided enough is enough.
Each of us has a life and a story that is so complex and detailed. Our lives intermingle, our stories involve each other and God knits the plans He has for each of us in such an intricate way that we can’t even begin to understand.
When did everyone else’s problems and opinions start shaping the attitude I had about my own life and circumstances?
Facebook was no longer a place where I went to see cute pictures of family reunions, because they are no longer happening. And there are no social events to talk about, no school programs, no church gatherings. So it seems that my whole feed was filling up with the anger, frustration, confusion and hurt that all of my friends are feeling in these trying times. And they were seeping into my own life, and I was slowly crumbling under the weight of problems that aren’t even mine to begin with!
God tells us in His Word that this world will be full of troubles. But He also tells us not to worry, and that He has already overcome this world.
In these uncertain times, I think it’s more important than ever to immerse ourselves in the truth of God’s Word and try to tune out the noise around us. We won’t be able to believe what He tells us if we can’t remember what He said in the first place. So many things fight for our attention and our emotions that we need to each be intentional about where we spend our time. We need to filter the things that we read and watch and balance all of that with a good dose of God’s Word.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified”John 17:13-19 Jesus himself knew that it would be an uphill battle for us to be “in the world” but still remain separate from the way the world runs. But He called us to be not “of the world” in this passage. He prayed that we might be protected from the evil one. So as modern Christians, we need to ask ourselves a question:
What tools or means is the enemy using to pull me “into” the world? For me it was Facebook. The time spent mindlessly scrolling, and the sometimes ugly conversations I was getting pulled into were definitely not making me feel closer to Christ. Instead I felt more anxious and upset. So for me, I had to take a step away and a step closer to His truth. Replacing time I spent scrolling with some time with Him instead.
Here are 6 steps you can take to analyze, prioritize and take action to remove the things that are pulling you away from time with God:
1) Make a list or chart of how you spend your time on the average day. What things take up the most time. (hint…if things are done on your phone, check out your screen time stats, you might be SHOCKED when you see how long you are actually spending on certain apps every day!)
2) Looking at this list, which items can NOT be removed or changed? (think meals, hygiene or health/fitness.)
3) On your first list, which 2 things are taking up the most time?
4) On your first list, which 2 things have the most negative affect on you mentally?
5) Looking at your lists from steps 3 and 4, which things would you like to either remove or minimize from your average day?
6) What are some practical steps you can take to achieve that? (for me it was removing an app from my phone. I can still access from my computer, but I spend far less time scrolling on there!)
I hope this exercise helps you find a little rest in this busy and tiring world! It’s amazing how we sometimes don’t even realize what is taking our time and where our anxiety and bad moods come from. Reclaim the peace that only God can give through time spent with Him.
It’s a choice only you can make, so who gets your attention? Your distractions? Or will you set your focus on Him instead?