I've been reading two amazing books: "Get Your Life Back" by John Eldredge and "Undistracted" by Bob Goff and both books have really challenged me to make some changes in my life.
I don't know when exactly to pinpoint my life getting crazy busy- but I do remember- that for almost a year before my Europe honeymoon trip with my husband Derek- it just seemed like life was constantly running full speed and that we could not catch a break or slow down the pace. And we would try to slow down, but it just felt like it was constantly one thing or another, and there was many hardships and blows that increased our anxiety and restlessness in our soul.
It was so amazing to visit Europe for two weeks. I just got back three days ago. But the most amazing part, wasn't even seeing six countries. I thought it would be. I have always loved traveling, and really and truly the trip was incredible and mind blowing with beauty- but the best part of the trip for me was the mental reset.
During the trip we were so busy seeing new things, enjoying ourselves, and traveling that we didn't think about the daily grind back home and it was such a different pace and transition that it really helped my mind to mentally rest. Every day we would travel two to three hours on the bus so we had ample opportunity to simply do nothing. And this doing nothing- was honestly one of the healthiest parts of the trips. During the trip I did not have international cell service so while traveling and waiting I could not get on my phone and that was a blessing.
John Eldredge writes about our unhealthy attachment with our phones and how quick we are to look to it immediately and stop whatever we are doing- the minute it beeps of a text message- or rings. And this is so unhealthy because by being willing to stop whatever we are doing to look to it, it starts to control us. He writes that the average American spends 4 hours a day on their mobile devices, three hours using apps of various kinds, and 10 hours a day consuming some sort of media. There is a proven link between social media use and anxiety and depression, and as rates soar across America, it is likely our phones and laptops play a huge cause.
It is easy to think that our close tie to social media is not a spiritual threat but really that is only Satan's cover to make it seem like it's not pulling us apart from God. Technology and the frequence of distractions in our lives is a spiritual crisis because God desires our attention. One of our highest callings in life is to glorify Christ and we do this when we meditate and focus on his goodness. But how can we focus on God if we are so distracted looking at our phones?
Eldredge talks about the importance of taking "a one minute pause" frequently throughout our days to quiet our souls. And during this one minute pause we need to simply do nothing, except for surrender our hearts and minds to God. We can repeat the phrase "I surrender everything and everyone to you God" until truly in our hearts we find surrender. As we get more comfortable quieting down even for a minute, we can then train our minds, to quiet ourselves longer until we are comfortable in stillness for ten minutes, thirty minutes, or even an hour. This will also help our prayer life because when we are so distracted, we struggle even to quiet ourselves to pray.
I have been so blessed already as I am reading these books and I have been challenged to slow down and decrease my use of social media. I know that it will be a process but I feel very strongly that distractions and social media are threats to my relationship with God and so it is important that I make some changes to slow life down and get rid of distractions.