We were sitting across the table from each other, but we may as well have been in two different restaurants. Something had come between us, and I was having a hard time feeling connected to this sweet and cherished friend.
It wasn’t a relationship issue or an offense that kept us from enjoying each other’s company and intimate conversation.
The culprit was her cell phone, and an undeniable restlessness I saw in her that would not allow her to relax and focus on the present. Her attention was divided between the real world and the virtual one, and the result was a high level of distraction and an unquiet soul that was not fully present in the moment. I was right there with her, and yet I still felt like I missed her because it just didn’t seem like we were connecting.
Then I thought about how many times each day I reach for my OWN phone.
Do I suffer from the same malady?
I’m so thankful for the technology and the way it has allowed people all over the world to connect. Really, I am. But the vortex of cyberspace can so easily suck us away from real people in real-time, and in that situation, we all lose.
Face to face relationships can be replaced with social media, which is easy to engage in, addictive, and requires nothing of us. Nothing, that is, except copious amounts of time. Time, which seems so insignificant in small doses, but which added up at the end of the week, amounts to work not done, games not played, gardens not planted, art not created, etc.
Is it all bad and wrong? No.
Is there, then, a way to have a quiet soul in such a plugged-in world without throwing our phones into the toilet?
Do you too struggle at times to find the balance between quietness of soul and the demands of modern, plugged-in life?
If so, brave friend and fellow God-seeker, let’s be willing together to ask ourselves a few diagnostic questions. It may not be easy, but the results will be so worth the temporary discomfort. Ready?
Tip #1 On How To Have a Quiet Soul in a Plugged-In World – Be aware of what’s going on inside you
Sometimes we don’t even recognize that a problem exists! Asking the right questions can be quite revealing. Here are five questions I decided to ask myself, even if the asking of them made me cringe. Especially if the asking made me cringe!
5 Hard questions to ask in a social media-dominated culture:
- Am I giving the best of my time and energy to virtual relationships/ keeping up my online identity?
- Have I chosen to allow the noise and emotional gratification of online connection to fill my head and addict my soul?
- Is checking in with social media the last thing I do before going to sleep and the first thing I do upon awakening?
- Do I view real life as an interruption of my computer/phone time, or am I fully present in the moments of my day and with the people God has placed in my life?
- Do I daily prioritize my time and continual connection with Jesus?
How did you do? If your answers revealed that some changes need to be made, you are not alone! Now that we know the truth about how cluttered our souls may be, we can cooperate with God in the gentle restoration He longs to do but putting Him back in first place.
TIP #2 ON HOW TO HAVE A QUIET SOUL IN A PLUGGED-IN WORLD – Replace constant connection with the virtual world with constant connection with the creator of the world
This morning in my devotional reading, my eyes lighted upon the ageless words of David in Psalm 62:1, and they deeply resonated in my spirit at the truth I needed today:
“My soul finds rest in God alone…”
Oh, yes…God alone. The very reading of those words is both an invigorating breath of pure oxygen and an invitation to come deeper.
REST for our cyber-weary souls.
We can sit at the feet of the Master, and our souls can drink deeply of the Living Water only He can give.
I must do this, and I must do this daily. I must make the effort to keep everything else at arm’s length – to push it back forcefully and declare, “Not yet! There will be a place for you in my day, but this time is sacred!” To unplug, and to walk in the green pastures and quiet waters He will lead me to.
That is the place of refreshing. The place where my soul can be restored, and I can again have something to give.
What does that look like on a practical level?
It may be different for each of us. For me, I think it will look like a new level of awareness, guarding my time, and training my thoughts God-ward.
What about you? What aspect of this plugged-in world tries to rob you of genuine connection and quietness of soul? How do you combat it? Leave a comment – I’d love to know.
Will you pray with me?
Lord, please forgive me for allowing other things to take Your place of preeminence in my life. I want to have a quiet, uncluttered soul and to live in Your restoring presence daily. Please help me to guard my heart against idolatry, to value the people You have put in my world, and to love and seek You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Help me to achieve balance in a plugged-in world, to use the tools at my disposal, but not allow them to rule over me. You are the only One who is worthy of my devotion and constant attention.
Now let’s go about our days, proclaiming the truth of God’s Word, from a place of quietness and richness of soul that will produce abundant fruit for His Kingdom!
With faith, hope, and love,