Advice From A Recovering Quoteaholic

I am a quote junkie. Deep breath…It’s out there.

I just love those little sentences that inspire and motivate. Funny quotes, health quotes, Bible verses out of context (that’s a whole other topic!), movie quotes, quotes with beautiful fonts and backgrounds, you name it. And the meme phenomenon has only fueled this obsession. Growing up there was a notebook I creatively recorded quotes in, but it’s 2017. Today, I simply ‘save image’ or screenshot that eye candy.

The problem with this practice? Well, other than all those seconds spent holding my finger down on the screen to save the beautiful words which, are almost guaranteed never to been looked at again (like that notebook tucked away somewhere in my parent’s attic), what has been the actual point? Sure, sometimes they make me think for a second, but what are they actually inspiring? What do they motivate me to do? What action is taken?

…words in ‘quote’ format have become a kind of outlet that I started to recognize was gradually distracting me from life’s finer moments.

This simple activity has recently brought the question to the surface of how I spend my time. Not only online (harmless practices like wishing Facebook acquaintances I haven’t talked to in years and don’t have cell phones numbers for a happy birthday or saving that random bible verse artistically expressed so beautifully) but what I spend time doing period. I believe this has been highlighted because I have 3 young kids and words in ‘quote’ format have become a kind of outlet that I started to recognize was gradually distracting me from life’s finer moments. I knew that nudge to rein it in was from God… he won’t let us wander too far off course. His grace is so unbelievably beautiful.

But in the midst of this technology-driven life, God is not silent.

There are an increasing number of articles floating around right now that talk about the need for this tech-savvy generation to re-learn how to be intentional again with our days and not let the internet or social media hijack our lives and hold it ransom under the pain of loneliness and guilt. Even when we are doing things that are seemingly innocent there is a good chance it’s ultimately meaningless and bowing down to the notification idol sacrifices more than we realize. If you’re in your teens and 20’s, chances are you struggle to remember anything different. But in the midst of this technology-driven life, God is not silent. We just have trouble hearing over all the noise and there is a lot of noise out there.

…I bet in 50 years not one of us will say, “I wish I’d spent more time pinning, snapping, double tapping, and swiping.”

Now, I’m not telling you to sell the tablet or do a Netflix-free weekend. Chances are a little media fast like that will simply be a Band-Aid on a gushing wound that needs deeper attention. But if what you spend your time on isn’t causing positive change in your life or the lives of those around you then I submit that you are probably wasting those precious minutes. Maybe there are weekends of binge watching that bring a certain level of relaxation (you keep telling yourself that) but I bet in 50 years not one of us will say, “I wish I’d spent more time pinning, snapping, double tapping, and swiping.” Those don’t have value. Even if some of those moments lead us to focus for a few seconds on something good, something Godly even, they aren’t actually benefiting our days, causing change or putting action towards anything at all.

My path to recovery started with putting the screen away. It’s not a distraction if it isn’t in my hand. Sometimes we need to stop and take control of what controls our attention. We need to form good habits that will last a lifetime instead of stumbling into bad ones we would never have chosen for ourselves. 

Often times to hear God’s voice we need to silence everything else. This undeniably includes anything online. Don’t miss out on the most important connection you’ll ever make because you let pixels steal precious hours of your life that God intended for more

 Are you willing to put down what’s distracting you for the sake of the people right in front of you? To experience more of God?

Come join us for a Discipleship Training School to learn how God speaks when we make time to listen.

Ready to make the jump.

At YWAM Montana-Lakeside, we are all about doing whatever it takes to know God and to make Him known, together! We’d love to help you make that next step in your global missions education. Apply now!

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