Luke 5:16 says that "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (NIV) Many of us were lonely during the last couple of years with the pandemic shutdowns, but were we truly quiet in that loneliness? Were we quiet for the purpose of seeking a relationship with God? Can we seek “quiet” now that life has picked up its pace?
Would Jesus cast out our phones like a current day demon as in the account from Luke. “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly, “Come out of him!.”[i]
The average American spends 3.5-4.5 hours a day on screen time. We check our cell phones, on average, 58 times a day. We are deeply connected to our devices. We fill screen time with screen time by checking our cell phones during every commercial on television. Each glance at the cell phone can lead to a winding road of endless messages and posts. These minor distractions add up during the day. According to a study by the University of California Irvine, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the deep focus you had on a task once you have been distracted.”[ii] Even if you do not utter a sound, this is activity is not quiet. Evaluation of our screen time may lead us on a quest to seek true quiet.
Noise and distractions are everywhere. It seems that we Americans are not happy when there is any kind of pause. We feel compelled to fill every moment. Work, hobbies, family, entertainment grab at us like the tentacles of an angry octopus, until we either don’t recognize quiet time or never practice it.
We carry the title of “Christ ones.” Jesus knew he had only a few short years to spread his message to the world. He could have set a frantic pace for himself. His disciples were sometimes surprised when he would walk away to be quiet. Matthew 26:36 says, “then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” In the book of Mark we see that Jesus rose early in the morning before it was light to go to a desolate place and pray. [iii] How then can we shed the tentacles of distraction and take on the clothes of Jesus’ example?
There are spiritual and physical reasons for seeking a regular quiet time with God. We know that purposefully turning off distractions can lower blood pressure and calm emotions. The body relaxes and the brain gains clarity.[iv] Our bodies cry out for it, yet we rarely nourish them with quiet. Spiritually, quiet time can build a relationship with God. Not only to pray and place our desires and concerns at God’s feet, but to breathe in the essence of God. Allowing Him to speak to us. Jesus sought time with God the Father. God the Father yearns for us to connect with Him.
Usher in this Holy season with quiet. Wake up in the morning and do not touch your cell phone until you have spent time with God. Pray through a verse in the Bible. Breathe in God. Listen to a song of worship and sing along in your heart or with your voice. Meditate on a Bible verse throughout the day. Receive the blessings of quiet time with God.
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