Guest Blogger – Bill Lewis, Apostle and Lead Pastor of The Connection in Butler, Ohio
Are we overstimulated? Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and a multitude of other platforms are calling us. Add to the choices we make for social media our smartphones and email addresses. Robo calls are daily interrupting, some days it is incessant. My list of blocked calls is longer than my contact list. Still, they keep coming daily. Everyday I clean out the spam and junk mail from my email accounts. When I empty the trash for the emails, sometimes it is hundreds. Going to the mail box creates another pile of advertisements that add to the trash. We are under an assault.
Driving down the road, I watch for distracted drivers. If you pay close attention, you will see many with their phone to their ears while driving. Even more dangerous are those with their heads down engrossed in their phones. We are being blessed with communication and cursed with communication.
Sometimes when I am preaching, I see people surfing on their phones and it is not just the kids. Our attention span is being reduced to brief moments as we move on to something else. Visual stimulation has overcome the mind. Listening, paying attention, absorbing thoughts, contemplating, and meditation are fading from the majority. If you are amazed at the trend, it is staggering to realize the first iPhone was released in 2007. In a matter of a decade we have been transitioned to reliance on our devices.
Now, I like my devices. They are great aids and tools. I like the technology. However, as in any invention, there are good and bad uses. When anything begins to replace basic human interaction and decency, we have to step back and evaluate. Children are being babysat by devices. Children are inside, on devices, in front of the TV. Playing outside, using imagination, role playing are sadly lacking.
You may think this is a rant by an old guy. Maybe. But I use the technology and like it. But I see trends that concern me, particularly, the spiritual implications.
Looking at the life of Jesus, he constantly had to refresh himself with solitude. He would withdraw for meditation, prayer, heavenly instructions. He also withdrew for physical replenishment. There is a power in reflection and quiet. There, in the quiet, we often find the presence of God. We can hear. The cacophony of sound, motion, pictures are removed. The visual makes a change to the creation of God, the sound changes to the surf pounding or the wind whispering or the thunderclaps and light show of the heavens.
Are we overstimulated? I believe we are by the reactions prevalently displayed in the anger, taunting, and bullying of our current society which is being stimulated by video games, media reporting, video clips, cyber responses of hatred and racism. We need peace, quiet, reflection, and allow our hearts and minds to start healing.
Take time. Reflect. Listen. God is speaking to those who have ears to hear.