My husband caught me red-handed at the restaurant along with my daughter. We were sitting right next to each, not having seen each other all day, and instead of spending time with each other we were checking our social media. We weren’t even eating the food we had ordered! We were letting unimportant “friends” become more important than our own time together and even worse we were allowing this handheld addiction to separate us. How often do we do that with God?
How often do we take those few extra minutes we might have to crack open the Bible – God’s Word and engage with Him? We trash our time and opportunity often and wonder why we can’t connect with God. Our overly crammed schedules are just that – crammed packed with “have to do” postings dictated by a following of people that most of us don’t even know. We use “not enough time” as an excuse to avoid the fact that many of us don’t know where to begin to connect in the Bible any more or with God. 93% of us have access to a Bible but most people admit that they never open one. American homes have almost 5 Bibles collecting dust on a shelf and almost 50% of American Christians have never read the Bible cover to cover one time.
Where do we begin to connect again with God? Here are four suggestions:
- 1. Take a walk unplugged and alone. The sound of silence is rapidly becoming a frightening thing in the age of media noise and constant visual assault. Research tells us that we’re bombarded with thousands of media messages daily. Our lives are so cluttered and distracted that it’s causing us to have an inability to make individual choices. Instead, we’re opting for group choice and marginalizing ourselves.
When was the last time you took a hike where there wasn’t cell service or billboards? When was the last time you heard your soul speak to God? And even more importantly, when did you last give Him an opportunity to talk to your heart and mind? Take a walk… or maybe go sit in a bathtub like Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie did. Both of them wrote in the bathtub and there are a number of famous writers who did their best thinking and writing in a parked car. Find a place that’s relaxing so you can think and let God speak.
- 2. Write a handwritten letter. Some call this journaling. It’s an activity that’s vanishing in our online keyboard culture. But, there’s something slow and methodical about physically moving a pen on paper. Our racing minds tend to leap fast on the keyboard but when we write our words in a handwritten form our brain is forced to slow down and ponder. When we write by hand we can’t change words quickly so thinking about what we want to say before we actually write it must be done first or we’ll have a mess. You might even take it a step further and write a family member or close friend and actually put a stamp on it. Handwritten letters are becoming something that can be cherished for a lifetime when our thoughts of appreciation, reflections, and wisdom are handwritten and sent with love.
- 3. Give yourself permission to indulge in God time – guilt free. Lay in the grass, sit by a fire or quiet room and open the Bible. Recent research by the Center for Bible Engagement has proven the positive benefits this activity has on our lives. Depression, anger, bitterness, anxiety, and even guilt all decline when we engage in Bible reading four or more times a week. God’s contentment and peace will multiply in your life when you give yourself permission to take the time to read His Word. He can’t give you direction if you won’t open the roadmap.
- 4. Finally, if you don’t know where to begin, pick up a copy of my new devotional, Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture. I wrote it on a 4-day format and it has stimulating stories and challenging questions that end with a call to action to direct you to engage with God. Use the devotionals to give you a starting place. Then, watch God propel you to new places of peace and contentment. Bible engagement builds firm foundations to stand on when the ground around you begins to shake and crack.
It begins with picking up your smartphone and scheduling time with God 4 times or more a week and then putting it down along with any other media device that may be distracting you. Recognize how the devil robs our peace and contentment and don’t let him steal another day from your life.
The Bible says: But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. Matthew 24:43 (NIV).
Are you letting yourself – your house be vulnerable to theft? Lock up your device and build your eternal relationship with your Heavenly Father.