Living distracted by screens?
I sat behind this family. A pre-teenish aged girl, head down except for brief moments coming up for air, or rather, back into real life. Head back down.
I struggled to disengage following her phone habits. Her distraction from life around us was totally distracting me. The thing is, this is the norm for many teens today. But let’s be fair. The struggle is real for us adults as well.
When she engaged in real life, she complained to her parents about being bored. When she was bored, she picked up her phone.
She bounced from one social media platform to the next.
This isn’t unique to this girl. It’s all of us. It’s me too.
How often do I reach for my phone out of boredom, looking for that next hit of entertainment or distraction?
How often do I reach for my phone for the high of escape?
When I don’t feel like listening to one more complaint or argument, I pick it up.
When I feel awkward waiting for a friend to meet me, I pick it up.
We watched an entire family sitting at a table at a restaurant never looking up until the food arrived. 2 parents, 4 kids – scrolling through life. Missing the life of each other right before their eyes.
What stories went untold? What laughs never broke free? What impact or influence never passed one to another?
Real life vs fake offering
So much life missed trying to stay up on the fake life a screen offers.
We are missing the best and accepting the counterfeit.
This is nothing new.
‘When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”’
They were tired of waiting, so they reached for the counterfeit.
They chose fake over real. They chose immediate gratification over lifelong satisfaction.
The very next verse shocks me.
‘Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’
Aaron so quickly went along with the people and not only joined the masses but led them in their rebellious desires.
We do too.
We know we are trading real life, real connection for the false idol. Yet, we follow. We accept what never satisfies.
As we scroll through life, we are indulging our flesh. We indulge our desire to be entertained. We’ve created our modern day golden calf. We worship at the altar of our screens.
We have a choice to make.
These screens we scroll through will never give us what we truly crave. It’s like eating a diet of candy. Over time we will become sick.
I believe at various times God brings us enlightenment and we have a choice in what to do. We can continue down a path or make corrections.
Focused on Life?
There have been moments that happened I’ve looked back on and thought, “If I’d been buried in a screen, I would’ve miss that completely.” At the same time, I know for a fact I’ve missed countless moments as I’ve lived distracted by the scroll of my phone. I’ll never know what I missed. But I have a choice in each moment to claim it or let it pass.
I want to live a life full of beautiful moments. I want to have relationships that can stand the test of time and life. I want to create memories we can talk about around the table in 20 years.
Living an intentional life means looking ahead at what we desire and choosing today the steps we need to take in order to arrive.
It’s looking ahead and deciding what we want our Thanksgiving table in 20 years to look like and realizing it takes action today to achieve that. Meaningful relationships and moments take nurturing.
Intentional living is living life on purpose rather than scrolling through life mindlessly.
What are we nurturing today?
If you’ve followed along here for some time you know I’m passionate about guarding our families from screen intrusions. When I started writing online my goal was to encourage others to live an intentional life. Ironically, this was before screens were at play. It didn’t take long for screens to begin to dominate in homes and I’m determined to keep preaching this message.
The first post I wrote on this subject circulated into millions of homes. I received messages from parents who felt alone in their desire to raise children who could live with heads up and eyes ahead focused on life. They realized they aren’t alone. If you’d like to read that post you can find it here A Letter to My Sons – The Real Reason I Say No To Electronics.
You can can find other posts I’ve written on this topic by clicking here.
And if you aren’t subscribed to receive posts via email, click here. I rarely post more than once a week and promise never to spam you. I count it a privilege to encourage and inspire you to live an intentional life.