(Photo cred: Christine Legrand Photography)
"One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time." - John Piper
I'm not proud of the time I spend on social media. Actually, it is quite embarrassing. If I'm honest, I'm scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and new mom message boards at least 8 times per day for at least 6 minutes each time - How do I know this? Because I feed my newborn a minimum of 8 times per day for 6-20 minutes each time, and what better way to pass the time than to....scroll. Last night at her 3:30am feeding, I felt God's gentle nudge reminding me of this post. After that, I prayed for everyone in my family, my small groups, my care team, and felt a deep satisfaction social media never delivers.
If you are on Twitter or Facebook, chances are John Piper's statement above was incredibly convicting for you as it was for me. Social media is known for its addictive nature. Many people check Facebook throughout the night, first upon waking in the morning, and last before closing their eyes while in bed. We instantly click on Facebook every time we pick up our phones. We mindlessly scroll down the feed. We fill every square inch of any free time we have - traffic lights, grocery lines, you name it - with social media. But "Twitter and Facebook," as Piper writes, aren't the only objects of our affection that stealthily rob us of our time. These platforms could just as easily be replaced in his quote by many things we spend (or waste) our time doing and which we have inadvertently but undeniably prioritized over Kingdom-related tasks. Likewise, "prayerlessness" could just as easily be replaced in the quote by lack of quiet time, bible reading, serving, church attendance, or any Kingdom-related activity we are neglecting.
Both good and destructive activities consume our time yet we rationalize that the good things are acceptable excuses to override Kingdom related things because in fact they are "good". Like exercising- its out of the question to miss our appointment with our running shoes, yet questionable if we will spend time in the Word that day. For me in this season, its getting house chores done in my free time between my 5 week old sweet baby needing attention. The chores are good things, but I know the hours I spend doing those chores I could be spending even a little of it in prayer or in scripture instead of making "I have a baby" excuses. At 6 weeks post partum, after asking many for prayer to establish a God-honoring routine, its time.
As Oswald Chambers said, "The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone." For most of us, time is a valuable commodity that we manage to our best ability. We believe we have less of it than the next person or that ours is more valuable. But really this translates to an excuse. We are all given the same amount of time in our days, the ability to organize it efficiently, and the responsibility to steward it well.
In both good and destructive things we often find instant gratification, worth, acceptance, joy - albeit always fleeting and never eternally satisfying. Even with house chores - I feel clean, organized, accomplished, satisfied, happy when they are done, yet a sense of emptiness when I've spent all my time on chores and none of it with Jesus. Most of our work and play here will never be truly done and in leaving much of it undone, we will be spending our time pursuing tasks that carry eternal significance.
This brings to mind a devotion I read April 15, 2015 which was an "ah-ha" moment, as just days before it I decided to quit making the bed (after which my husband on his own accord and to my delight started making it). In her devotion book "Savor" Shaun Niequist wrote,
"The things I don't do is the more important list. What am I willing to not do in order to do the things I believe in? . . . No expectation for perfect housekeeping either. I don't make our bed. I only blow-dry my hair on special occasions, and I don't paint my fingernails. I don't spend time with people who routinely make me feel like less than I am, or who talk mostly about other people's money or whats wrong with everyone else. This list sets me free. Time is finite, as is energy. One day I'll stand before God and account for what I did with my life...When we know whats essential in our lives, everything else is negotiable."
All of this is something not to only think about but to act on. Often we nod our heads in agreement and feel the conviction yet continue in our merry way. After all, thats what I did last night, until I realized its time to take my time back from the robbers - especially in this new season when every minute must be wisely spent. I know whats essential in my life, so the negotiables must be put in their proper place.
So I ask myself 1)What am I willing to "not do" in this new season of life so I can focus on things that really matter? and 2) What good and bad things are taking up my time that I can replace with Kingdom-focused time?
As Ravi Zacharias said, "The biggest battle you will face in life is your daily appointment with God; keep it, or every other battle will become bigger."
"Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose the things for the sham they are. . . (MSG v15). Be careful in how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don't act thoughtlessly but understand what the Lord wants you to do (NLT, V15-16)." - Ephesians 5:16-17
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippine 4:8