We’ve completed the challenge – 7 days of intentionally spending more time with God than we do watching/reading the news or on social media. We should pat ourselves on the back 🙂
On the last day of the challenge, I was able to spend about an hour and a half in quiet time with God – praying and reading the Bible. Also on Day 7, I logged 12 minutes on Facebook.
On the surface, the challenge was a success. Over a period of 7 days, I was able to spend more time with God each day than I did scrolling Facebook.
I accomplished my goal.
But I don’t want to fool myself into thinking I “won” just because I met the challenge.
This exercise brought other issues to the surface.
For example, even in successfully completing the challenge according to the original terms explained by my pastor, my focus on God this week wasn’t necessarily genuine. I realized that much of the time was spent trying not to look at Facebook rather than on trying to spend more time with God. I avoided Facebook as much as I could; that was my focus. I concentrated on what I shouldn’t do rather than on what I should do.
That is legalism, and I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to focus on the outward and ignore the inward. I want my heart to change.
Instead of concerning myself with what I shouldn’t do, I should make looking at God the focus of my energy. In reality, Facebook isn’t the enemy. An unguarded heart and eyes that don’t focus on God are the enemy.
Also, because of the challenge, I was forced to acknowledge other things I do throughout the day that take my focus off God, even once I drastically cut time on Facebook.
Using the Screen Time setting on my smartphone to log my daily phone usage, I could tell that I spent fewer minutes on Facebook than I normally do. But, while I logged less time on that app, time on other applications increased, taking Facebook’s place. For example, most days this week, I spent more than an hour a day texting.
This reiterates something I already learned – I shouldn’t focus on not scrolling on Facebook (because I might be tempted to simply fill in that time with something else on my phone). I should focus instead on keeping my eyes on God. If I do that, many of the other things should fall away on their own.
However, there was still rich quiet time with God this week, and time spent with God is never wasted.
What did I learn during our time in prayer and in reading the Bible?
I was reminded that God will make a way.
I was reminded, through a friend’s input, that all God wants is me – nothing fancy – just my genuine desire to simply be with him. I don’t need to worry about meeting a challenge. I don’t need to attempt to check “quiet time with God” off my to-do list for the day. I just need to be in His presence.
That is refreshing and freeing. There is no singular right way to spend time with God. I don’t need to set a timer or watch a clock to be sure I do it for a certain amount of time. I don’t need to read a certain number of scriptures from the Bible. I don’t need to pray for a certain number of prayer needs. I don’t need to make sure I sit in the same position or in the same place every time. I just need to get still and quiet and listen to and talk with God.
What about you? Would you say the challenge was a success for you? What did you learn through this exercise?
How do you feel after 7 days of focusing more on God than on news outlets or social media? Compare your current mood or attitude right now to how you felt when you first read about the challenge? Feel free to share here.
Whatever the outcome for you, let’s continue to concentrate on God. Let’s continue to weed out the things in our lives that cause us to lose focus on Him. When God shows us stumbling blocks, let’s remove them.
After all, the idea is to keep our minds and hearts on Jesus – not to spend less time looking at news outlets or scrolling Facebook.
Give God first place. Top priority.
Have faith in Him
Look at Him