The Battle for Our Time

I’ll admit it; I’m a news-junkie. I watch Fox News constantly, read the Drudge Report hourly and absorb talk radio whenever possible. My excuse for this ridiculous dependence on media outlets is my job in politics. Political careers can be made (or unmade) in mere minutes—staying informed provides job security.

Unfortunately my connection-obsession doesn’t subsist between 9 and 5. I drive to work with my cell phone attached to my ear and my radio on. In my office, I’m greeted by the voicemail box blinking with messages that need to be checked. I don’t own a Blackberry but I don’t need to; I can simply look over the shoulder of any number of coworkers who type away on its teeny-little screen continuously (“Isn’t it great,” a coworker said to me recently, “you can always have access to e-mail!”). And speaking of e-mail, I have two laptops with wireless access at work and at home. Solitude is hardly possible.

I’m among the first generation to grow up hearing our PC speak, with love, those three life-like words: “You’ve got mail.” Combine that with cable and cell phones and I can hardly resist the insatiable desire to remain constantly connected. But I’ve noticed something: For all the advantages of continual communication, there are some unfortunate disadvantages. Days go by that I’d rather connect with a computer screen than a person and talk on my cell phone rather than talk to God.

It’s ironic that the very tools that are supposed to make connecting so easy actually distract us from connecting with what we should. How can I “Be still and know that He is God” when my cell phone won’t stop ringing? I’d rather buzz off another e-mail to a friend than set aside 20 minutes of quiet time with God. It seems more convenient (and many times requires less thought) to surf the web rather than open the Bible. I recently read about a Christian company that will text a Bible verse a day to your cell phone for a mere $5.99 a month. I applaud these and similar companies for utilizing technology to both further the gospel and nurture hungry Christians, but I have to ask: Do we really have so little time for God? I doubt most of us would only invest the two seconds it takes to read a text message in a friend or spouse on daily basis.

Instead of finding myself more satisfied and knowledgeable as a result of the time I spend e-mailing, surfing the web and watching the news, I’ve found myself more empty. Instead of ending each day quietly content in what God has accomplished through me, I’m perpetually worried I didn’t do enough that day—my mind whirls with the day’s bombardment of information and activities.

This frenzied environment of invasive-connectivity makes me wonder if indeed, God in His divine omniscience has allowed us to be acutely aware of our need for relationship; but being flawed mortals, we’ve chosen to turn to our Blackberry rather than talk to our Savior. It’s no wonder why, at the end of the day, I feel more disconnected and frazzled than ever. No cell phone plan has yet to satiate my need to be known by an Almighty God.

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After months of walking in a haze of scattered distraction, I decided I needed God and I needed to live within the bounds of restraint, to prioritize time with Him, and concentrate more on people. Relationships of lasting impact take quality time and solitary focus, so I’ve been making a conscious decision to close my laptop and open my Bible, asking God to fill my quest for knowledge instead of Google.

To be honest, this has been hard for me, because I’ve grown addicted to the constant buzz. But I need God more than I need 24/7 connection to the Internet and my cell phone. And I’ve found time and peace with God when I remember that He created me with needs that only He can fill. A quest for any other kind of fulfillment, be it through technology or media, will leave me distracted and dissatisfied.

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