Fight The Noise

Fightthenoise

And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. (Romans 16:17)

I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked. (Psalm 26:4-5)

A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. (Proverbs 20:19)

Read: 2 Chronicles 33:14 – 34:33, Romans 16:10-27, Psalm 26:1-12, Proverbs 20:19

Relate: For about a week I had the glorious privilege to go unplugged. I had a backpack with about 30kg of food and water behind me and an open road in front. That first day, I couldn’t tell you how many times my fingers were twitching for my phone. There was yet another beautiful skyline and it was all I could do not to grab my phone and send a picture out to my twitter/instagram/facebook world. Technically, I did have my phone with me but that phone’s battery had to last me a week until I could get to a place where I would be able to recharge. I had to be very careful when and how often I turned it on.

Before that first day was out and over the next couple, I began to truly enjoy the silence. I had no music. There were no distractions. The social world that is so much a part of all of us was losing it’s hooks on my mind and heart. As it did, slowly another world began to open up to me. I began to truly enjoy the silence. The pain of step after step, mile upon mile became an intimate friend. I found that I didn’t miss all of that social media one bit. Nobody was going to suffer if I don’t click like on their latest inspirational thought. My day is still complete even if I am not one of the fourteen million people who saw the new video of the amazing feet accomplished by some random pet. And here’s a thought, facebook isn’t going to implode even if I am not there to defend against all the religious and political heresies that others are posting in my absence.

 

React: Unfortunately, I did have to return to the real world much sooner than I expected. Once my phone was plugged back in and I re-entered Verizon’s network, I was instantly ably to again discern the different notification tones I have for facebook notifications vs text messages vs emails vs wordpress likes or comments vs espn updates. The temptation returned to immediately check in every time one of them chimed in. I found myself sliding right into that same world of noise and gossip. It is so hard not to.

So this is what I have decided to do. That world gets eight hours of my day. At noon, I will turn my phone on. At 8PM, it goes back off. I will not allow hypothetical extremes be an excuse for letting that nonsense slip back in. If there is an emergency, it can wait. Goodness, how on earth did people survive for the first 10 thousand plus years of civilization before the advent of phones? If they somehow they managed for all that time, so can I for half my waking day. So can…

You?

Respond: 

God, all I need is You. This is something I can say so frequently, but all too often my lifestyle and actions would add that I also need this and that and the other thing. Help me to recognize those distractions as distractions. Help me to understand that all too often the social media I am so plugged into is little more than a modern form of gossip that distracts me from spending time with You and that clutters my life with so much noise that I have a hard time hearing You. Help me to find balance. Help me to be in this world while not being of it. Help me to keep You first. 

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22 thoughts on “Fight The Noise

  1. Yes, amen to this! It is startling how plugged in we all are. I do not have a phone because my laptop is enough of a distraction. I enjoy it a great deal, but taking the time to get away from it all is so important. Getting out into nature is critical, too. Sunsets, flowers, the moon, these are all like gifts from God, little presents He has designed just for us. It’s not polite to forget to go out and appreciate them once in a while. 😉

  2. Amen. Technology becomes an addiction and a major distraction that takes us away from the things that are most important…like devotion, walking in our purpose, and spending quality time with God. We lose our focus and as a result of that lose our way. Sometimes we do have to make more of an effort to get unplugged. Awesome post!

  3. This is something everyone should focus on doing, religious or not! We must reconnect with ourselves, the world and others without technology and social media getting in the way and creating unnecessary barriers and distractions. Thank you for the reminder. God be with you.

  4. I’m totally following you and have already. In the past 6 months reduced my use of social media. I’m still an enthusiast but no longer an evangelist. If I could point to a reason, I’m sure it would be much the same as yours. I have not used notifovations at all except text messages and calendar reminders. I turned notifovations off as soon as I install the apps.

    Granted we have to use social media today, but there is a vast chasm between the two sides of balance and obsessive.

    Good post. I hope you enjoyed your hike.

  5. This is so true. I have thought on this so much, and have even tried it. I would come home from work and cut my phone off, so I can spend more time with my family; how I have slipped away from that. Thank you for the post. I will share it on my page Random Manna as well. We all must detach ourselves, so we can re-connect with our heavenly Father. Blessings

  6. To be honest, I don’t get on facebook very much, only once or twice a weak. If I want to post a tweet, I schedule several at one time, so I don’t have to burn up my iPhone battery tweeting. I use social media, but not as often as so many other people do. I feel that these tools are necessary to a certain extent, but some people let today’s technology take control of their lives. Thanks for a wonderful post, and God bless.

  7. Well done, keep it up. I wish I could just disconnect completely from social media but trying to manage marketing for the local church and also completing a blogging challenge puts an end to that. My daughter spent so much time on social media today that when she truly needed her phone to tell me where she was it had drained the battery. I try to respond when I in front of the computer and I try to limit this because things need to be done. God bless.

  8. I recently went on a trip like you did where my phone didn’t work. It was nice. It was beautiful. And for once, it freed up my brain space. Since I returned, I noticed a depression sinking in as I am texted or emailed by a chronic complainer who just wants constant validation and someone to agree with her bad behaviors. I decided I will respond once and no more. As for facebook, I think I am going to shut it off all day after I check it once in the morning. Its super distracting and a time suck. I dont use twitter and my blog is pretty quiet and even if that wasn’t the case, I still dont need to be on it for more than an hour a day. I imagine this will allow me to think better and get everything done more easily than when I am glued to my phone.

  9. Yes, I have recently enjoyed a “fast” from all electronics for 4 days. I did have to check my emails and voicemails once a day at 3pm, and I let my “people” know what I was doing. It was freeing! I had uninterrupted thoughts and got so much done! I had challenged myself with a list of projects and stayed on task without interruptions. Having children does make it nearly impossible to completely unplugged because of possible emergencies. I simply refuse to allow others to dictate how I must be available to them 100% of the time. I loved reading about your similar experience in your unplugged period of time. I plan to “unplug” routinely from now on, with notifications to my “people” now that I have gotten them accustomed to the unfamiliar practice.

  10. I could totally relate to your message about social media and the need to fill the silence. I have been working on me trying to embrace the silence. That proverbial tug of war between the mind that wants to think and that space of presence that God speaks to us in.
    Sometimes I have to have acceptance for my mind when all it wants to is dance and shout and other times I get to enjoy the peace and connection to somethiig so much more then it. I imagine that is simply part of life. The ability to overcome ourself to be more then ourself.
    It’s nice to be reminded of the things that matter in life and not bombarded with the distractions so many think are important.

  11. The commandments we have from God are designed to separate us from the rest of the world, and even if we do that on the simple level of turning off the phone, then we are doing something worthwhile, God deserves our undivided attention, and I am first in the line of those that fail to do so correctly. Thank you for this post, which reminds me the best way to focus on God is by shutting out the world.

  12. I spent 2 months doing serving in the bush in Africa and it drove me crazy to not have access to the outside world via Internet or smartphone for the first 3 weeks or so. Then I really came to appreciate it, as you did.

  13. How did we ever let technology and social media become such an idol? It is–for me and so many others. I so appreciate how you could express the challenge of leaving it behind and the wonder of the silence, the discipline of being quiet with God. Thanks for this beautiful picture of true rest.

  14. mmm mmm mmm!!! That is some good stuff there! ^^
    I have been struggling with trying to unplug as well. My first attempt lasted 1 day. ha. 1 whole day. That’s more than just a little embarrassing. My intent was to start with a day a week. I’m still working on my strategy but the desire is there and getting stronger everyday.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with this.

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