I'm a busy guy. I generally don't have a lot of down time to just sit around and do nothing. My kids are active in both sports and music, I'm a full time pastor, I direct a couple of different para church ministries (summer camps, weekend leadership conference, etc.). I serve on a few different leadership boards, I'm currently meeting with several different couples for pre-marital counseling, I own a house (that comes with a running to-do list that never seems to end). I lead weekly Bible studies and small groups, I work with both youth and young adults, I often have breakfast or lunch meetings, I teach on a weekly basis and the list goes on and on.
With the limited down time I do have I have come to cherish...cell phone games. You thought I was going to say time with my family right? Or maybe time in God's Word? Those do seem like much better answers but such is the reality of my life. Super spiritual right? While I of course cherish my family and time in God's Word, cell phone games have become a quick de-stresser (not sure that's really a word). In the few minutes I have between work, meetings, errands or watching my kids in sports, I have come to rely on cell phone games for a much needed break. I've become quite skilled at "Tomb of the Mask", "Sniper 3D" and "Typoman".
Now that I've established myself as a spiritual giant in your eyes allow me to tell you what I hope to accomplish through giving up cell phone games for Lent.
I want an increased amount of time to think critically about stuff that actually matters. While I don't have a lot of down time to just veg out and play games on my phone I've noticed that I can eat away large amounts of time through little tiny segments of my day. A few minutes here, a few minutes there and before I realize it, I've spent 4 to 6 hours of my day looking at my phone. The latest iPhone update provides me with a weekly "screen time" report...it's scary stuff. My prayer as I begin this journey is to shift my thoughts away from mindless screen time and towards God focused thoughts, dreams, plans and visions.
I was reminded of Romans 12:2 which says, "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
While wasted time on my cell phone playing games isn't sinful it certainly isn't leading me towards transformation in my thought life. After my 4-6 hours of screen time each day I'm likely not any closer to more clearly understanding God's will for my life. If I'm honest with myself, when I waste time on my cell phone playing games, I more closely resemble the behaviors and the customs of this world then I do someone who desires to truly discern God's will for my life.
For me, it really comes down to a question of value. What do I value more, mindless screen time or hearing from God? In my head I know the answer is hearing from God but putting that into practice is really where the rubber meets the road. So that's my goal over the next 40 days. I want to more clearly hear from God and I am confident that will happen only when I stop the games. More time in God's Word, more time in prayer, more time just listening for His voice. Those are the ingredients to a changed way of thinking and an accurate understanding of His will for my life. Be encouraged and keep moving forward. -Andy