My brain is too busy. Having an active imagination is great, sure. I rarely ever get bored. I always have something to do. But the problem is that I always have something to do. I never default to resting. I always have to be running around like a chicken with my head cut off in order to feel useful. That means I have to make the most efficient use of the limited time I have. In turn, that means always being connected.
This past week has been oddly challenging. My phone died, so while I’ve been on the road, I’ve been disconnected from my readers, my business, my contacts, and everything I’m usually connected to. If I can get to a computer, I can see everything, of course, but I used to have everything on my phone.
It’s strange to be unplugged. It took a little getting used to. As a teenager, I was never that dependent on technology. Even in college, I stayed mostly unplugged. But as an adult, especially as an adult who relies on the connection of the freelance world, my phone and my internet connection has become something of a necessity. And I’m not sure I like it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful for it. I couldn’t do my job without it. But if moderation is wise for everything else in life, shouldn’t it apply to our use of technology too?
The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
I am easily distracted. My brain likes shiny things. So adding distraction on top of distraction in the form of an always-on internet connection via my phone keeps my brain on a constant rabbit-trail adventure. Most of the time I can shut it out. At least, I could when I was younger. But anymore, with all these responsibilities on my plate, my brain is just looking for any excuse it can find to procrastinate.
There’s nothing wrong with technology. Actually, technology is one of the greatest blessings we have in this world. But when technology keeps you from focusing on what God is trying to tell you, that’s when it becomes a problem.
This parable that Jesus told is talking about being distracted. The seed that landed in with the thorns didn’t have a chance to take root because it was only focused on everything the thorns were taking away from it. Sound familiar?
God has given me a job to do. I know that. He’s given you a job to do too. Otherwise we wouldn’t still be here. But the truth is that we are all surrounded by thorns and weeds and abundant-life-sucking distractions. So I guess the real question is, does the seed have the ability to fight back? Can a seed choose to bloom where it’s planted regardless of where it’s planted?
I think it can. Not that a real seed is capable of making a choice. But a person can choose what he or she thinks about. A person can choose what direction they take in life. A person can choose whether or not to worry, to be selfish, to be jealous. A person can choose to make decisions that will honor God.
For some of us, that may mean limiting the distractions in our lives. For others, it may mean changing the crowd we hang out with or the television shows we watch or the music we listen to. What distracts you? What keeps your brain from thinking about what God has for you?
Too many times I think we make broad declarations about what is bad for us. We generalize and say technology is bad or eating eggs is bad or drinking coffee is bad, and that’s just not true. Too much technology in place of God is what’s wrong. Eating too many eggs or drinking too much coffee isn’t healthy.
Don’t generalize. Get specific. Because it’s different for each person. What takes your eyes off God and God’s plan for your life? What causes you to worry? Identify the source and take steps to limit your connection with that source, and you’ll soon find that your outlook on following Jesus is a lot brighter.
For me? Well, I’m not going to throw my phone away. My phone and my internet connection are tools God’s given me in order to do what He’s called me to do. But I may take steps to limit my phone usage after a certain time of night.
It’s hard to hear what Jesus is telling you when your life is full of noise. It’s hard to see the path God wants you to follow when it’s choked by thorns. We all have to live with thorns and noise, but how you deal with them is up to you.