Recently I gave up my smartphone for a day. Now, in today’s world where we are connected 24/7/365 and can be reached at any time, it seems like a really dumb thing to do. Especially as a parent.

“What if I need to be reached?” This was a common thought that went through my head when I decided to go a day without my smartphone. But the reality was, that I was still available, just not at EVERY MOMENT of the day. So, I gave it a shot. Overall it was a really good day for me and something I plan to do it again sometime in the future (to read about my experience, click here).

Through this experience, I took a hard look at how easily I get distracted by my phone and with social media. One thing I noticed about my personal use of social media was that I become so focused on sharing my life with others and checking in on the life others were leading, I wasn’t really living my own life. It became more about “showing” than “doing”.

For instance, I feel like I am a good dad (at least I’ve been told this). And I love my girls. But, for some reason I had to show the “Facebook world” just how good of a dad I was. In my effort to show everyone on Facebook that I was a good dad by posting plenty of pictures, I was actually becoming less of a good dad to my girls. I would get frustrated when they didn’t want to take a picture of what we were doing because they knew I would post it on Facebook! Now, I may be painting an extreme picture, but I was discovering that I was more of a reporter in my daughters lives than a participant.

Once I began thinking about how my social postings were influencing the girls, I started noticing in moments where I was bored or there was too much quiet in my life, I would immediately check my phone or social media. I didn’t know how to be bored or enjoy quiet moments anymore. I needed to be distracted.

The problem with our distractions is that when we can’t be quiet or still, we miss opportunities to discover and hear from God. We don’t give ourselves time to think, process, or even daydream. When we fail to do these things, we fail to fully live our lives.

Two of my favorite verse/passages in the Bible that talk about this need for quiet are:

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

1 Kings 19:12 – “And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”

Be still and know that I am God and God spoke to Elijah in a low whisper. God didn’t speak to Elijah in the earthquake or fire. He spoke in a low whisper!

We have so many distractions in our life that we don’t know how to be quiet. And when things are quiet, we can’t seem to be still and enjoy it. But it is in those moments that we have a great opportunity to hear from God, reflect on Him, and discover where He wants to lead us.

Here is my challenge for you: Limit distractions and enjoy the quiet; focus more on the things that matter most. If you want to know more about how you can turn off some of the phone distractions, Relevant has a great post about that here. Living without electronic distractions is possible and could lead to some great discoveries about ourselves and God.

I know I plan on limiting distractions and being quiet more regularly.

Tom

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