Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10.
At the last school assembly of the year with all the visiting parents and grandparents in attendance, our headmaster loved to say, “Allow your children to be bored. Let them go outside and lie on the grass and look up at the sky and listen to the birds and the insects. Don’t plan every moment of their summer.” I’ve been thinking of that recently as I’ve looked at all the ways I keep myself from being bored.
Like everyone else, I spend a lot of my time waiting. Waiting in line; waiting in doctor’s offices; waiting to get my oil changed. Just waiting. It used to be that I would look around at other people and imagine their circumstances and sometimes pray for them. There was always something interesting happening around me because I entered into the present and became engaged.
I suddenly realized over the weekend that when everything stops, I pull out my IPhone to see if I have any messages. I check FaceBook for new entries. Has someone posted on Instagram? Is there an update on the News bureaus? Does Marco Polo have something? And if I’ve already done that, there are games I can play. I like Spider Solitaire and plain old Solitaire. My IPhone does not allow me to be bored. Or to be quiet.
There are so many messages in my head in response to what’s been sent to me or news items that disturb me. I’m frustrated that I’m having a losing streak with Spider Solitaire. I’m reflecting on work challenges that were revealed in weekend emails. I don’t have time to be bored. And how can I possibly be quiet?
How can I hear what God wants to say to me when I am able—all by myself—to be stimulated or frustrated or entertained with that little electronic rectangle I keep in my pocket? I’ve come up with a brilliant solution, and so far, it’s working: FAST. Yes, fasting from all electronics that are not mandatory for family relationships and work. I’m trying it cold turkey, and it’s rather nice.
Obviously, I’m speaking in hyperbole, but I’ve been observing how electronics can bless or curse us. I don’t want the Voice I most need to hear and observe to be obscured because I’ve forgotten how to be still. So for now, I’ve called a fast.
Father, above all things we need to hear you. Show us what to do to ensure that we never miss a word from you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.