I subscribe to the verse of the day on my phone. Every day I get a text with a verse. What a great idea! Right? It was a Monday morning when I noticed what I was doing... I had just answered three texts in a row and felt my Apple watch vibrate again. I was a bit annoyed, I had been trying to concentrate on some writing and wasn’t getting very much done. Mondays are my get ‘er done day. It sets the tone of the rest of the week for me.
Anyway, I glanced at my watch to see who it was from and if it could wait. It was the Verse of the Day...
I set my hand down and said to myself, "I’ll read it later." As usual when I do that, I get a pang of guilt. So I lifted my hand back up (like this still wasn’t worth picking up my phone) and read the verse on my watch.
"God, my Shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction." - Psalm 23:1-3 MSG
Bam! I hadn’t been heading in the right direction at all. I'd been screwing around with texts, emails, and Instagram for over an hour with nothing to show for it. As always that makes me anxious, but yet I keep doing it. Sometimes it's hard for me to get started on what I should be doing. Especially when it comes to writing. I will run circles around everything before I find my center and start writing. Can you say Squirrel!?
I stared at this verse and I had the thought, "I am ignoring a text from God." I needed direction this morning and God was trying to give it to me.
I was ashamed, I’d been wasting time. I was paying so much more attention to the things of this world than what God was asking of me.
We hear everyone talk about how fast time goes, including me. Why is that? I think it's because we waste so much of it.
Here’s my theory: we have more to do than ever before. Emails, Texts, Social Media Posts, they take up more time than ever. Twenty years ago we were not using it that much, thus we had more time. These things also present a lot of opportunities to waste time.
We had more time to speak to one another on the phone or in person instead of a text. More time to read a book and gain knowledge instead of scrolling. More time to check in with God when we wake up instead of seeing if little Timmy survived his first night at camp or if those denim pillows are on sale yet. You get the idea.
Do not misunderstand me. There are so many things I love about social media! There is a big difference from mindless scrolling to usefulness. I love seeing friends and family's pics on Facebook and Instagram. The design tips are so valuable as we build a house. The recovery community is hugely inspiring on social media! Then there are things like the Verse of the Day… always inspiring.
I’m speaking at an event on September 21 and the topic is Tuning Out.
Every time I pick up my phone, I have made a decision that what is on the screen is more important than anyone or anything right in front of me. I did that whenever I picked up a bottle of booze too. That alcohol in front of me was the most important thing and nothing else mattered as much as tossing that back. I cringe to think about it. I missed a lot when I was drinking. I'll be talking about that too. Worst distraction ever.
The key is to find balance and set boundaries. It takes willpower, strength, and asking for God's help just like any other bad habit we are trying to break.
Step 7 in the twelve steps of AA says, “Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.” My thought is where do I start? I have so many! That’s the beauty of our God. I can come to him with a list (humbly) and admit where I need help, direction, and strength, and he is there to help. He doesn’t ask that I am perfect, just that I try.
I intend to answer when he calls next time, no matter what I am doing. A welcome distraction.
Peace on Your Weekend.