How much time do you spend each day scrolling through social media or watching/reading news outlets?
Has this amount of time increased during the pandemic?
How do you feel right now?
Honestly, stop and think about it.
Are you anxious? Upset? Sad? Angry? Afraid? Content? Excited?
Sit quietly for a moment and take stock of yourself, then write it down, including today’s date.
Many of us use daily news sources to keep up with what’s going on in our world.
Many turn to social media to stay in touch with family and friends, as our source of news on current events, or for an escape from our day.
But, excess time spent on these things, especially when coupled with a lack of time spent alone with God, will have a negative influence on you.
During his sermon yesterday, our pastor issued a challenge to the congregation. (It felt impromptu. I don’t think this was something he planned as part of his Sunday message. This was something the Holy Spirit laid on his heart in the moment).
He first mentioned it as an aside…something like, “By the way, we ought to be spending more time each day focused on God rather than on watching the news…more time reading the Bible than reading the paper.”
To me, his point was that we had to keep our eyes on God so we don’t drown in all the negativity around us right now, especially as portrayed by the news media.
Our pastor mentioned it a few times in the beginning of his sermon, then he stopped and issued a formal challenge:
Spend more time with God this week than you do looking at the news…and let me know about it.
In my life, this means less time on social media, especially Facebook.
I can’t tell you how many hours a day I waste scrolling Facebook posts. (Actually, I could tell you if I’d used the Screen Time control in my iPhone settings. It’s turned on, but I rarely look at the data…guess I’ll have to start using it this week).
Consequently, Facebook is also my source for news, and that’s scary because that means I’m getting information mostly secondhand, from another person’s post rather than directly from a news outlet…which may or may not be more unbiased and credible, if I’m being honest.
(By the way, that’s exactly how I learned about George Floyd’s murder, through a Facebook friend’s comment about not being able to breath. I didn’t understand the reference, and it was still a little while before I actually found out what happened and connected it back to the post).
So, I accept my pastor’s challenge and offer it to you as well: spend more time with God each day than you do on social media or news outlets.
Try it for at least a week. Let’s see if it makes a difference.
As we go through the week focusing more on God, pay attention to yourself and how you feel, how you react to things, how you respond to people, etc., especially compared to right now, before you start the challenge.
Does your stress level change? Your outlook? Your focus?
What has God said to you this week? (You may be surprised to hear from Him again or maybe for the first time once you’ve cleaned out some of the excess noise).
I’m going to try to share each day how I’m doing in the challenge. I’d like to hear from you, too. Please comment here or contact me through the blog’s “Contact” link, and let me know how things are going. I’ll try to follow up through the week with my own updates as well as any tips and tricks I’ve found helpful.