We were laying and chatting casually on the bed, when my husband suddenly got up.
“I’m going to have a shower.”
“Ok! Well, if you’re going to have a shower, then could you please bring me my iPad? The baby will probably feed for another 20 minutes.”
My husband rolled his eyes and laughed, “…Because God forbid that you should be without entertainment for 20 minutes!” He playfully flung the iPad in my direction.
What was meant as a casual joke came at me like one big sucker punch, leaving me dazed – and though he really wasn’t looking for one, I found myself wanting but unable to come back with any kind of acceptable retort.
Did I really need to be entertained all the time?
My iPad has certainly gotten me through many nighttime breastfeeds and served a certain purpose – but upon reflection I realised that I had let it get to a point where it was no longer serving me. I was serving it.
My life has certainly been a testament to the dangers that seeking to much entertainment can bind upon a person. I spent basically my whole teen life being a bludger by day and an internet gamer by night. I have often struggle with maintaining the balance between the internet being a help or a hindrance. In one of my previous posts, An Almost Perfect Picture: Social Media and Self Control, I talked about how the internet had at that point become overwhelming, and the steps that we took to prevent that. For that time, those measures served their purpose and we kept internet usage under control, and I felt like I had maintained that. I am now able to put down the internet whenever is needed and get stuff done or simply be with others. Yet however in control I think myself to be, I still found myself at 14 weeks postpartum drowning in a sea of glowing screens and floating in the constant hum of indie music and inspirational podcasts.
But I’m not neglecting anyone, so all that is ok, right? If my baby is down and I have an opportunity to be productive I will use that time wisely. If my baby wants to play, or I’m with company I don’t force anyone to compete for my attention (nothing bothers me more than someone messaging other people while on a coffee date!). It’s only while my baby is settled and feeding at the breast, I am doing the dishes, or I am folding the washing that I will read, watch, or listen to things. Sometimes those things are educational and inspiring, like TEDtalks, sometimes they are thought-provoking biblical sermons or podcasts, and sometimes they are simply something to entertain me; but all of them have one thing in common: They all distract me from myself.
Is this a problem? I have found it to be so – for while I was so eager to be engaged every moment of every day in some way I was missing out on something very valuable to my walk in this world.
I had forgotten to listen to God’s desire for me and my time. I forgotten what He said.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
– Psalm 46:10
When from that point I decided to every-so-often wash the dishes in silence and breastfeed without distraction – I noticed things flooding into my mind: inspiration, motivation, self reflection, regret, prayer, praise, thankfulness, sorrow, a drive for self improvement, an itch for creativity, and a myriad of other ideas and emotions.They had been struggling for attention against all the competing noise I had surrounded myself with.
While seeking to be constantly engaged I had neglected to simply “be still and know.” I had forgotten the beauty of silence, and it’s necessity.
I don’t really love silence. Growing up in a large family I rarely had it – there was always the constant hum (or more like bustle and bumble) of activity surrounding me. I am the kind of person who is more productive sitting in a cafe than in a quiet room.
Yet, despite my preferences, that day I rediscovered the fact that I simply need time without distractions to help me process information, reflect, listen to the sound of my thoughts, generate ideas, foster creativity, and rekindle my relationship with God.
There were things I hadn’t wanted to think about that I confronted and conquered. I believe that is what having time to be with your thoughts will do for you – if you let your mind be free from distraction and you are meditating on the right things.
It came slowly, and it came painfully – but it came. A renewed love for time with just myself – and God.
I honestly think that the skill of disconnecting is one that is dying fast in this generation. Even when we are in God’s Word often our study tool of choice is an electronic device and we are still connected.
It is so hard to be still in this age.
You see, we live in an age where we are presented with such a glut of information that often we are tempted to drown ourselves in a deluge of articles, podcasts, and motivational YouTube videos. And while this is all well and good, if we never take the time to process the information we have taken in and allow it to settle in our minds and change our lives – we risk never really thinking for ourselves, never really enjoying a moment, and never letting information change us for the better.
We risk never being connected to someone Higher than ourselves.
However we take the time, we all need to take time to be present. We all need to take time to be still and know.
Even Jesus saw this need to be rid of the outside noises. He was extremely busy with His ministry – and there was always more good to be done – yet He still took the time to reconnect with God.
“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23).
Did you catch that? He dismissed the crowds. Can you imagine any preacher today dismissing a crowd of people that were so eager to hear him for longer? Some might even say that to do so would be wrong. Yet here is Jesus, One Who has the very wisdom of God, understanding the importance of disconnecting from everything to reconnect to God. Now that’s a powerful example. Even when there were important things to do – Jesus saw this time alone as being more important.
He took the time to be still and grow closer to God.
I challenge you – as I challenge myself – to take more of that time. If Jesus took the time to be still, I know that that needs to be a priority in my life. He is, after all, my perfect example of living.
Whatever that time looks like for you, it needs to be taken.
The time to be still. Disconnect. Reflect.
Maybe that time looks different for you than it does for me. For me it’s usually going for my walk, distraction free. In being outside and seeing God’s creation I feel closer to Him – and prayer and reflection come easily – that’s why I take a walk at least 5 times a week. I also enjoy sitting at a cafe with a notebook and pen – with all my thoughts (ok, and maybe my baby) my only company.
Take the time to truly connect with God, and know how your life reflects in the mirror of His Word.
Don’t let distractions steal true joy from your life.
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance – then think of and connect to the One Who sits above them.
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder […]
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
and wonder where those years have gone.”
– Ronan Keating
Question: What things in life help you to be still and know?
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