What Are The Things That Matter?
The Christmas season is one that intentionally brings people's attention to the things in life that matter the most. Things like family, kindness, and most of all Jesus Christ, unfortunately we are constantly surrounded by things that pull our attention away from those things. Our time is a valuable resource and your brain can only consume so much information before it kicks the bucket and you loose focus. So how do you balance the time you have and your ability to consume information? Have you every tried to limit certain areas of your life so that you can maximize in other areas? Are you trying to maximize your spiritual life?
How Can I Increase My Focus On What Matters?
Fasting is a spiritual discipline that we see in scripture that more often than not involves not eating food for a period of time and instead dedicating your meal times to focusing on God. That same spiritual practice of fasting can be used and applied on multiple levels and in our modern age it is healthy for your spirit if you cut out media and use that time to focus on God.
On average we spend 144 minutes(2 hours and 24 minutes) a day on social media for Americans, which is a climb from 90 minutes in 2012. Television is its own category consuming on average 3 hours a day for Americans. The word Media can mean a lot of different things, Radio, TV, Social Platforms, Youtube, Email, Etc. and the answer remains the same.... We are looking at the wrong thing too often.
What Difference Can It Make?
Imagine if you cut out your screen time..... Imagine if you did that and instead of listening to the news...or a podcast.... or that new album..... or whatever you do on screens..... you PRAYED. Pray for family, pray for country, pray for sick people, pray for doctors, pray for the church, pray for the lost, and the list goes on, and on, and on, and on...... but we would rather look at a screen. So this week try to fast with us, no one needs to know how or why( scripture asks us to keep these things between us and God). Decide How and how long and then just turn the screens off.
1) No Social Media At All- This is in my opinion the easiest of the opportunities this week because all you have to do is delete the apps for a few days and when you would normally be on social media, choose to be in PRAYER. No Facebook, twitter, Instagram, YouTube, tic-toc or whatever social platforms you choose to use. The challenge of this is that there is no "set time" that we go on social media so we may instead choose to fill that time with some other media like TV. So I would suggest marrying this with another item to fast from.
2) No Television- Just don't turn it on, I know when i watch TV, its in the morning with my coffee and at night with my dinner. So whenever and however you watch TV.... just don't. Use the time that you would have watching the news... or Netflix... or Disney+..... or whatever you watch and just PRAY
3) No Screens- How often to you look at a lit up screen? Is there a way you can turn one of those off for a day or two? No computer for a week? No cell phone for a day? or even no cell phone for half the day and just turn it off for your evening. There are so many screens to choose from and so many different ways you can choose to not look at a screen and instead... look at God in PRAYER. This is one of the more challenging ones because our culture says you "need" your phones and computers, but if you try you might find its actually kind of nice.
5) The Grand Buffet- In all my time seeking the Lord I have only ever done this one time(my wife can testify). I turned off my phone, my computer, and the TV for a full 7 days in complete silence and did not say a word unless I had to in a public situation. This is EXTREMELY challenging, but what you find is a profound sense of what your heart is wrestling with as well as a deeper understanding of the ways that God speaks to us through our wrestling. This forces you to be in Prayer for a full week because there is no conversation and there is no distraction, It's just Jesus. While I don't expect anyone to do a full week of this..... you may want to try a few days and see what happens.
The main focus of this is to take the time an Item(s) is used for media and replace that time with PRAYER. Pursue this however you feel led, but dot forget to PRAY.