I recently saw a print ad of a young child staring longingly at his parents. Both were busy looking at their phones. The caption read something to the effect of “I wish I were their phone, then maybe they would hold me.” Ouch.
In today’s society, more than ever I’ve become increasingly convinced that our increasing availability to technology and information is not necessarily better. Just more. More time consuming. More demanding. More busy.
That’s the last thing we need is busier.
Her words stung, even as the tear caught in my throat.
“I wish the busyness of our lives didn’t keep us apart…”
Busy, yes, but I was still here waiting. The busyness of her life just continued to escalate over the years with no sign of things slowing down or turning back. Still I waited. The relationship, the friendship, was important enough to me to wait.
Yet her words read to me more like an excuse. We all have the same number of hours in a day, in a week, in a month. And we make time for those things that are a priority. Perhaps our relationship was more of a priority to me than it was to her. And still I waited. I would be there when she was ready.
At the beginning of every year our church does a 21-day period of prayer and fasting to start our year with an intentional focus on God, bringing Him a sacrifice of the first of our year. Some, many in fact, will fast food. As a family, we all practice the experience together, but we each decide on our sacrifice individually after praying about what the Lord would have us fast. Our children have chosen to fast electronics before, or sweets, or junk food. For my husband and I, we pray for the Lord’s direction.
As I sat before the Lord wondering what He would have me fast, I sensed Him say, “What I want is your best, your first offering.”
That’s what I always want, is to give Him my best. So I was stunned as I sensed His words to my heart. “Yes, Lord. I have my quiet time with you. I give over and above my tithe. I attend church. I volunteer my time…”
I wasn’t so much trying to convince anyone as much as I was searching the rolodex of my mind, almost afraid of what I’d find. What was He referring to? What had I missed? Where had I disappointed?
“What I want is you. To spend time with you. To be your priority first thing…”
I sat still, first my eyes closed searching the not-so-distant recesses of my mind. And then as I opened my eyes, there in front of me were the competing distractions for my best, my first offering.
My cell phone which doubled as my alarm clock, one of my morning devotionals in my email, and yes…the notifications of the day’s to-do’s, the social media alerts, the texts that had come in overnight, the pending emails, and the list goes on. How many times had just one of those caught my eye and I was distracted for 5, 10, 20 minutes or more from the One I longed to give my life to?
My laptop computer rested on the ottoman where I sat each morning. It charged overnight, ready to travel safely in the briefcase to the office for another day of reports and correspondence and social media updates. How often was I tempted to open it up just to add one thing “so I didn’t forget”?
The basket of laundry rested at my feet, as I was too tired the night before to help it find its normal resting place. It called to me and though on this particular morning I kept my resolve to remain in my quiet place, I was not always so steadfast.
The list could go on.
You see, the enemy of God’s kingdom delights in tempting us to veer from the mark. A little bit off center is still wrong. And if he can’t tempt us, he’ll distract us.
As much as I longed to give the Lord my first, my best, each day, as I sat there in silence assessing, I had to admit I frequently allowed distractions and busyness to supplant my best of intentions.
Too often my Mary heart was overridden by my Martha ways.
And in that still quiet moment I heard those words again, only this time they were even more personal. “I wish the busyness of your life didn’t keep us apart…”
Busy, yes…it seemed I was always busy. And yet, He was always waiting, wanting to spend uninterrupted time with me.
We all have the same number of hours in the day, and we make time for what we prioritize.
He never sleeps nor slumbers. He is always waiting for me. There is no better time spent than time in His presence, and better yet, the first time of my day.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 ESV).
What distracts you from spending time in His presence? How do you combat this?
Because of Him,
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
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Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
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