By Elaine Chen, InterHigh Mentor, Senior @ UC Berkeley
Does separation from your cell phone bring you great anxiety? Does studying ever end up becoming a time of “see how many things I can look up on Wikipedia”? Or has your hearing been severely impaired because of the amount of music you’re blaring into your ears every spare moment in the day? I can relate.
Reading this article reminded me of the downward spiral we’re all heading in with the advent of newer and faster technology. Our world is more and more becoming a place where silence and free time is uncomfortable. This quote really stood out to me: “The alternative to all this fiddling is being alone with your own thoughts, which terrifies people used to constant stimulation provided by our media-saturated culture.” How true is that! I can recall days growing up, and even nowadays, where instead of having to deal with my onslaught of thoughts I drowned it all out with television, the Internet, and my iPod. And you know what, it’s becoming easier and easier to do this. Being able to actually hear God past all the noise we surround ourselves with is a challenge (I mean, we can’t even hear ourselves at times!)
I think about this passage: 1 King 19:11-13
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God was a gentle whisper. Yet how can we let that voice in if we fill our ears instead with the constant noise of our iPods?
Something that I did over the summer with my home group at church was to do a week-long Media Fast. It was inspired by this hilarious article in the LA Times about a teacher who did something similar with her middle school students. Essentially, all of her middle school students went crazy: and what was revealed was the severe lack of ability to relate to others. How pathetic that our relationships, our creativity, and our time are so easily stifled by the media we consume.
So what can we, as counter-cultural Christians do to reject the ways of the world and continue to strive for Christlike-ness? Here are some ways:
- PRAYER. Praying for the different ways that people can be negatively affected by media overconsumption (i.e. video game violence, the increase in sexual images onscreen, Internet addiction, escapism… etc.) can help us recognize the great need this world is in to hear God’s voice over all others.
- Reading the Bible. How well do you know God’s word? Well enough to recite amazing chapters like Romans 8 or 1 Corinthians 13? Are we truly placing his law and Word within our hearts? Or are we more concerned with memorizing lyrics of the newest hit songs?
- Meditate over Scripture. “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
- Hang out with peers. Share your devotionals, pray together, read together.
- Write a letter… by hand! When was the last time we did this?
- Read a book. Some good suggestions: Shadow of the Almighty (Elisabeth Eliot), Loving God (Chuck Colson), Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis), Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien) — there’s so many good books out there!
- Exercise / play sports! Our physical health is also very important to God (1 Corinthians 6:19)
- Share the gospel with someone. Instead of going to the movies with a friend, try having a conversation with someone about your abstention from media and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Maybe it’ll open up an opportunity to share the gospel!
More encouraging articles:
Can you unplug yourself? Or will you let yourself be pulled by the masses instead of what God may be calling you to do? I pray that Christ can help us do the former! We definitely need a lot of His help.