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)
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…
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.