Another sunset, this time with my bride. We sat outside the restaurant enjoying time together over fresh Italian. We watched a steady stream of hungry looking patrons pick up takeout orders, and mask-clad staff work breathlessly to keep up.
The restaurant facade stood straight ahead, and my wife and setting sun were to my left. I couldn’t miss the news coverage of the pandemic through the restaurant windows. The Covid Ticker occupied the lower portion of a large screen, providing viewers a real time case and mortality count. Play by play, day by day, quantifying tragedy.
I chose a hard and steady left – our time together. I simply couldn’t be present with my emotional energy directed elsewhere. I had learned. Several years ago, I traded a steady news diet for extra margin overnight after my first trip to South Sudan. Life improved. I’ve selectively stayed informed on what matters.
Other worlds can devour our time and morph into serious stressors that drain us. Minus a well-calibrated balance, worlds like tech, streamed entertainment, people drama, TV, social media, politics, gaming, hobbies, projects, and the news cycle can pull us away and become proxies for God. They can destroy balance as they consume valuable bandwidth, elevate stress, and devour peace.
Tech is a biggie and worth exclusive attention. It has quantumly advanced life globally. Our ingenuity and creativity here clearly reflect God, but tech has also fostered perpetual mental motion, addiction, and a disproportionate percentage of diagnosed cases of anxiety. Average daily screen time globally on mobile devices varies but totals many hours. Achieving balance here is critical.
There are steps we can take to balance tech’s impact like setting specific times and time-boundaries on use, limiting where we use it, turning off notifications, limiting app check-ins, and putting away our devices. We can also modify our screen time settings to monitor and limit our use. Try it. The impact on stress can be immediate and significant, and very productive toward establishing peace.
God desires the top position on our priority list. When other worlds compete for that spot, they are best downsized or dethroned. Intentionally seeking God’s view on all these worlds through prayer and devotion, and potentially through counseling, greatly raises our probability of success.
What have you elevated above God? How would your life be impacted if you were to balance it properly or eliminate it?
Galatians 5:16-18 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Galatians 5:22–25 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.