For quite some time now, I’ve been asking God to reveal another place in my life that I need to work on. I went through a few years where it just seemed like BAM! BAM! BAM! Over and over and over, one after the other, God was pointing out my shortcomings and teaching me how to fix them. It was like spiritual boot camp.
But over the past several months, okay…the past year, I’ve felt almost nothing. No reprimands, no life-changing revelations, no mushy-gushy quiet times.
Then, a month or so ago, the ladies at my church put together a Bible study. The focus was on hearing God’s voice, which I felt like I already knew a lot about. And sure enough, for the first several weeks, I really didn’t feel like I was learning much of anything.
I kept asking God for a revelation. In fact, that was my one prayer going into the Bible study: that I would come away with something. Something that would change my current relationship with God – which was, overall, pretty pathetic.
The first thing I realized in this study was that laziness was my foundational issue. But what was I supposed to do with that? I already knew that I was lazy. It’s why I often didn’t ask God what he wanted me to do because I didn’t want to follow through with it anyway.
Besides selfishness, which I feel like I have somewhat conquered over the years, laziness was the main thing that caused me to not be following God in the little things. Laziness was the reason I continued scrolling through my phone instead of picking up my Bible.
Laziness was the reason I continued scrolling through my phone instead of picking up my Bible…
The reason I wasn’t hearing anything was that my sin was so ingrained in my life I didn’t even recognize it. It had become my idol, my life, my everything….and had prevented me from communing with God at all.
It was my cell phone.
To be fair to myself, it did become a lot worse when I was bedridden for a month. What else are you supposed to do when you’re lying on the couch? However, I knew it had been going on a lot longer than that.
All of the sudden it made sense to me. My phone had become my idol. I scrolled through Facebook, refreshed and scrolled again, checked my notes and schedule, my messages and my email, scrolled through facebook again, turned it off and set it down. Minutes later, sometimes mere seconds later, I had the uncontrollable urge to pick it up and do the same thing all over again.
Isaiah 45:20 “What fools they are who carry around their wooden idols & pray to gods who cannot save.”
Was I the fool? Carrying around my little glowing idol in my pocket? Instead of going to God with my concerns, I went to Google or a friend via facebook messenger. Instead of spending time reading the Word of God, I spent every second of my free time reading useless, sometimes downright stupid, articles that captured my attention in my newsfeed.
Those gods cannot save. My newsfeed can’t save me, it will only fill my mind with unnecessary and godless things. Keeping track of my schedule every few seconds won’t save me, it will only give me anxiety.
Philippians 3:19 “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, & their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”
What we spend the most time on is what we love the most. It’s a fact. You can say that you love your family, God, or others. But what do your actions have to say about where your heart’s desire is?
We spend so much time glorifying this culture, this world and ourselves. We love to glorify sin and the shame of others. All these things are worthless.
Let me just tell you that I came home from Bible study that night very angry. Angry at myself, my culture and that stupid cell phone that had me wrapped around it.
I decided that I had to act. I could no longer afford to let my laziness take the lead.
As a stay-at-home mommy, I could spend my entire day on my cell phone (which I often did when I was nursing 24/7). So, I decided to give myself ONE HOUR of social media time each day and ONE DAY each week where I could spend all day if I wanted (doing things such as working on this blog).
My first day was very difficult. I laid my baby down for a nap and sat down to read my Bible. Not five verses in, I had the sudden urge to check my phone. I reached over habitually and realized my phone wasn’t there – the anxiety rose in my chest and I had to refocus my mind.
That first week was rough. I was distracted by the fact that my distraction, my addiction, my idol was not next to me.
But the second week has been absolutely amazing! Since I decided to get rid of my phone addiction, I’ve met with four ladies just to talk. I have cleaned my house thoroughly TWICE! I’ve made more meals that were almost ready when my husband came home (cooking is one of my wifely downfalls). I’ve taken a few relaxing baths and done some yoga. Yesterday, I picked up a book I had been meaning to read for years…and I read the whole thing in one afternoon!
This morning, I laid my baby down for his morning nap, and I picked up my Bible. Instead of pushing myself through the four chapters in my reading plan like I used to, I just kept going. I read twenty chapters – and I hungered for more! My mind was spinning with revelation from God. Each verse felt like I had never read it before. I wanted more, but my son woke up.
I read my Bible for two hours. I didn’t even notice.
Two weeks ago, I probably would have wasted that two hours scrolling through my phone.
Ezekiel 14:3 “…These men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?”
Every time I’ve read through the Old Testament, I’m amazed at how utterly stupid the Israelites seemed. Like…how many times does God have to do a miracle right in front of your face for you to know that a stupid statue made out of gold isn’t going to save you from anything?
Every book seems to have the same plot. God dwells with them. They abandon him for a stupid idol. God gets angry and tells them how stupid they are. They beg for forgiveness. God shows up again.
I’ve always thought they had to be ridiculous to keep going back to their worthless idols when God was so obviously right there with them.
But here I am putting “wicked stumbling blocks” right before my face. So close, in fact, that I can’t seem to see anything else. And God said, “should I let them inquire of me at all?”
So, maybe that’s why I couldn’t hear from God.
Lord, help me to remember to keep my eyes on you and not on the things of this world that love to distract me. Give me eyes that are peeled for what the enemy wants to do to distract me from you and from hearing your voice. Thank you for your faithfulness to reveal yourself to me, despite my shortcomings. You are good. Amen.