Several months ago I found myself in the middle of what Jen Hatmaker calls an “anemic faith”. I had been swept away in the current of our culture and was longing to be passionate about my Savior. I had several hours alone on Sunday mornings and I would sit there with my Bible open longing to hear from Jesus, but for this period it wasn’t coming as naturally as I’d experienced in the past. Then my phone would buzz or that show on Netflix I’d been binge watching would call my name and that was it, my time with Jesus was over. Yet again I gave in to the clutches of social media and entertainment.
On a Sunday morning, similar to what I described above, I decided I would go on a Screen Sabbath. Every Sunday I would use my phone only for essential purposes, and for significant lengths of time it would be completely turned off. This meant no social media, no email for sure, and no texting or phone calls unless absolutely necessary. I was on a mission to hear from the Lord and you know what, I received so much more than I imagined.
I received quiet from the noise. It was a freedom I didn’t know I was longing for. Do you know what I’m talking about? That constant pressure to catch up on Twitter, answer that one email or that feeling when you realize you didn’t cook a fantastic Sunday lunch like your internet friend? Those feelings were gone for a whole day.
We don’t have to bow down to that pressure any more. Take control, be intentional and take a break.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe social media can be used for so many good things and a great source of information, encouragement and community. I’m not recommending that you cancel all your accounts and revert back to the flip phone. I’m simply suggesting that we begin to be intentional about our consumption. We can’t hear from God if the noise coming from our screens is never silenced.
I definitely want to admit that I’m not perfect at this. There are Sundays when I cave and check Twitter out of sheer boredom or habit. I’m having to learn how to not be hard on myself if I’m not perfect. But you know what, perfect is not the point. The point is to be quiet before the Lord without distraction. We have to be diligent in prayer and spending time in scripture to know when He’s talking. I kept finding that my phone and Netflix were getting in the way of my ability to listen.
Here are some suggestions for how to use your Screen Sabbath:
- Find a segment of time that you typically use for media consumption and commit to spending it in the Word and in prayer.
- Take a walk, be in His creation and begin acknowledging His glory and majesty.
- Do something fun and out of the ordinary with your family. It’s so much more fulfilling and relaxing when you don’t have the ding of your phone
A great benefit of the Screen Sabbath is that it teaches you self-discipline, a fruit of the spirit, while connecting you to The Father.
Living significantly and intentionally require listening to God, we can’t do that we with much noise in our life.
I hope you test out this idea of a Screen Sabbath. I’d love to hear what you experience!
Let’s live significantly!