filling the moments
Spring is just around the corner, can you believe it? Long, warm days, thoughts of Easter break, and a freer schedule is on her mind. As she scrolls through social media, she is bombarded with beautiful posts of flower filled meadows and floral cotton dresses, and her mind begins to wander.
Her kids are seriously so talented.
Wow, that house looks amazing!
I want that dress—it’s only $25? Even I can afford that! (Swipe up.)
Look at that . . . sushi is food art at its best . . . now I’m hungry.
We all know what it’s like to let our mind wander while scrolling through social media. Chasing butterflies of interest—so delightful and pretty—only half aware as we wander through a labyrinth of endless, time-killing distractions. With every image we absorb into our minds, our emotions instantly react.
Social media is a fun way to keep up with all that’s going on in our friend’s lives. It can be a positive way to stay up with ministries and businesses that are helpful, encouraging, and informative. But when we analyze the amount of screen time we spend (and perhaps the negative side effects of wallowing in the mire of comparison, envy, or discontent) we might need to make some changes!
It seems like a harmless way to pass time, I know.
Somewhere in the back of our mind we know we can just delete that app or put our phone down. But it’s so easy to reach for that phone isn’t it? Sigh. Nature abhors a vacuum. So if we fill those moments with good things, we won’t find ourselves back in the same time-wasting habits.
You might be thinking, really Cathe? There are bigger battles than this. This is much ado about nothing. What does it matter, in the grand scope of things, if we waste a few minutes in the day? A few minutes? Here are some disturbing stats I recently came across.
Teens spend an average of nine hours on entertainment media every day (and tweens average six hours) not including time spent using media for school or homework. For that, tweens average more than four and a half hours of screen time a day and teens more than six and a half hours.
Surprised? Maybe this is only a problem for teens—surely adults don’t use that much screen time! You’re right, they don’t. Adults actually use more! According to a 2018 Nielsen Total Audience Report, nearly half of an adult’s day is dedicated to consuming this content. In fact, American adults spend more than eleven hours per day listening, watching, reading, and interacting with media.
Listen, my friend . . . it isn’t the small luxury of just wasting time on what is so benignly attractive that makes it dangerous. All this looking and listening can divert, root up, and devalue the good things—the best things that God intends for us to engage in.
In his book, The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis writes about a senior devil named Screwtape who advises his nephew Wormwood not to overlook the subtle methods the devil might use to catch humans in his web.
“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
God’s Word reminds us that, whether we realize it or not, we live on a spiritual battlefield. Beware the gentle slope, soft underfoot. Let’s not let anything in our life edge out the time we spend chasing after God and His good plan.
“So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you be holy’” (1 Peter 1:13–14 MSG).