Finding Quiet in a World of Notifications
Isaiah 30:15a For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
I’m a weak person. Even though I’m really good at looking like I have everything together and like I’m in control, each day my limitations remind me just how much I need strength from outside of myself.
This verse identifies the true source of my strength: quietly trusting in God. Admittedly, I struggle with both the “quiet” and the “trust” aspects of that verse, but this week I’m more concerned about the “quiet” aspect. I’m a busy college student, trying to find time for work, school and friends. Where will I carve out the time to actually be still before God?
In Quietness and in Trust
“In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
Last week Dr. Pettit, the president of my university, challenged the student body to take a break from social media during this week. This week is our annual Bible Conference, and the theme this year is “Let Us Pray.” Throughout the week, we’ll have multiple opportunities to turn away from distractions and focus instead on prayer.
But prayer is such a difficult spiritual discipline! Prayer requires time—time alone, time without distractions, time with a plan. A faithful prayer life doesn’t develop overnight. It takes consistency, hard work, and quietness.
In fact, perhaps more than any other spiritual discipline, prayer requires the quietness and trust that Isaiah is talking about.
I do want to focus on prayer this week, and I do want to be able to seek God. But in my heart, I know that I’ll fill the extra time I have this week with extra distractions. Social media isn’t the only—or even the primary—distraction in my life right now, but it is certainly a distraction. First thing in the morning, when I should be starting my devotions, I’m tempted to pull up Facebook. Throughout the day, I check social media to fill a spare minute or two. At night, deciding to see what’s on social media can quickly result in a wasted half hour (or more!) of my evening.
I’ve never intentionally taken a break from social media before. But I know that, especially this week, eliminating unnecessary distractions can help me to slow down, focus on the Bible, and actually talk to God. Eliminating unnecessary distractions may help me be quiet and still before God. And since it’s such an easy distractor, social media is going to go for a week.
I don’t see this as a fast, as if I’m sacrificing something for God. This decision is much more a simple attempt to limit the distractions that social media present. Because right now, I just need to be quiet. Right now, I just need to step away from the constant notifications that clamor for my attention so that I can hear from God for a change.
It’s hard to find spiritual growth and renewal while still balancing all the distracting, time-consuming, and demanding aspects of my day-to-day life. As much as I would like for God to work in my life this week, and as much as I would like for God to teach me more about prayer, my busy heart, mind, and schedule promise to marginalize the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
So my goal for this week is to eliminate those distractions, in whatever form they come. Some of them are related to social media, and some are not. But regardless the source of the distraction, each distraction has the same effect of robbing me of the quietness and trust that I should have in God.
On the one hand, I would be foolish to think that I could have a distraction-free week. But on the other hand, I know that God can and will instruct a heart that is quietly waiting to learn from Him. I can’t wait to see what He does this week!
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.