Be Still

I started hiding my phone this week.

A few months ago, I joined the rest of the modern world and got a smartphone. For the most part, it’s been great to have that kind of technology with me at all times, but there has been a negative aspect. I’ve spent the last ten or so years getting progressively worse at following God’s command in Psalm 46 to “be still and know that I am God,” and at times, having a smartphone has only made things more difficult.

I’m not blaming my phone for anything, though. This struggle started long ago, as a mostly harmless desire to be good at the things I do. Unfortunately, that desire turned into an obsession.

I started getting the feeling that if I wasn’t “being productive,” I was wasting my time. If I wasn’t writing, playing drums, or working out, I felt guilty. I had precious little time on Earth, and how irresponsible of me would it be to spend any of that time just sitting there?

Over the years, I’ve continued to glorify productivity and busyness. It’s gotten to the point where I crave stimulation. The craving shows up in forms ranging from boredom-eating to obsessive Facebook-checking. I realized how bad things were getting when I caught myself trying to read sports news during the two-second scene transition of a TV show.

Two seconds.

Apparently, that was too long for me to go without stuffing more information in my brain.

So now I’m going to be hiding my phone at night.

I’m not against technology. I think it’s incredible how connected our world is today, and I love how easy it is to access information. But technology is also making it increasingly more difficult for me to stop moving for even a few minutes at a time. And that wouldn’t be a problem if Psalm 46 wasn’t staring me in the face, begging me to be still.

I’m not saying God is anti-productivity. I’m sure we could come up with several pages’ worth of verses on the value of hard work and responsibility.

But God also isn’t anti-stillness. He established the Sabbath, for crying out loud. He didn’t make us to be in constant motion. He made us to occasionally rest.

When was the last time you had a true Sabbath?

When was the last time you took a full day – or even ten minutes – to stop and breathe?

It’s hard. Hard for me, at least. Because as soon as I sit down without opening a laptop to an unfinished blog or an unedited chapter, I hear a voice in my head telling me I’m falling behind: You’re going to lose creative momentum if I don’t do something. You’re not even that worn down. Besides, who knows when you’ll have this much free time again?

But there’s another voice. One that I really, seriously am going to work on hearing better.

At times, it’s only saying one thing:

Be still.

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3 thoughts on “Be Still

  1. Taylor, I needed this very thing today. Thanks for taking time to share a voice that needs to be heard.

  2. I’ve done two things with my iPhone that I think have helped a lot. The first was turning on the “Do Not Disturb” feature that lets me set timeframes where no emails or notifications or texts or calls are allowed to reach the phone unless it’s a text or call from someone on my Favorites list. So I set that to kick in at 11:00pm, and it doesn’t shut off until 6:30am. The second was when we switched our phones over to being prepaid Go Phones; it still has data capabilities when it’s on WiFi, but the SIM card thinks it’s just a regular text/call phone, so when we’re not on WiFi it can’t access a data network at all. Makes it so that when we’re out of the house and with other people, the phones aren’t smart enough to distract us!

  3. Your blogs always make me think, Taylor. I don’t have an iPhone, but I am often just as distracted by e-mail and FB when I should be working on the dictionary….for me frequently checking e-mail, FB and news is probably a form of procrastination and/or acedia (sloth, apathy, boredom). In times past, monks considered acedia a sin. Hm-mm! Something to think about.

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