Modern Day Holiness

Come apart so you don’t come apart. ~ Common Sense

Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd… (Mark 7:17)

After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. (John 12:36)

When Jesus saw that they were ready to force him to be their king, he slipped away into the hills by himself. (John 6:15)

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We want to go with the flow.

We want to be in the know.

We want to be present not absent.

We want to be where the action is happening.

The next ping on your phone might be a signal that something big is going down and you can’t miss it.

Or can you?

Is there ever a point in your day when your ears are not filled by pings and dings? Or when your eyes are not enticed by a flashing box on your screen?

Just the thought of being away from our screens for any length of time causes some of us to feel anxious and fearful. A part of us is missing.

A clue that we are no longer controlling our devices but that they are controlling us are the tech leaders, the ones who invented the software and hardware that govern our behavior, who won’t allow their own children to have tablets and phones.

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I heard someone say recently, “I do not know if I get texts because my phone is not glued to my hip.”

A heretic of the digital age? Or, a holy sage of the digital age? I wonder.

Why do we feel the need to apologize for not having our phone or tablet with us at all times including the bed and shower?

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To be holy is to be set apart for sacred use.

Fanatical Christians love to talk about Jesus coming back. At times, Jesus was more interested it getting away from us than coming to us. Set apart. Holy.

Modern day holiness is about separating ourselves from the things that come between us and God and between us and the people we love.

Face to face rather than screen to face.

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It may well be that the holiest act we can do today is to put the phone, tablet and screens away so we can be with God and those we love.

Being Here

You love your phone. 

You hate your phone. 

I love and hate your phone too.

You love that you can call me anytime of the day and reach me wherever I am. I love that too. 

You hate that I can call you anytime of the day and reach you wherever you are. You love it too.

Our conversations sometimes start with, “Where are you?” 

I am here. 

Where are you?

We relate to a table scene author Rob Bell describes in his book, How to Be Here, “…if that phone rings and that screen lights up, she will be with you, but not be with you. Here but not here.”

We know we are important to the people sitting across the table from us when our phones are in hiding. They have their time and place, but this is not it.

Remember the days when phones, tablets and screens were not a part of our everyday existence?

The irony is not lost on me that I am writing this post on a computer that is a marvel of modern engineering. I’ll send it off on the information superhighway. It’s wonderful! 

We love technology. We hate it too. We struggle to find a balance between digital and analog.

We don’t want to lose sight of the joy of looking across the table or the sofa at a living person, created in God’s image, with nothing distracting us from each other. Attention is a gift we give to those that matter.

There is something special about picking up a pen to write on a real piece of paper rather than pixelated paper on a hard glass screen. 

There is old school magic in picking up an actual book, holding it in your hands and reading complete lines of sentences rather than pinballing across a screen at random. 

You are here. Present.

And we see you.

We love it when you are here.

Pay Attention to the Big Rocks

On my early morning walk, I was thinking about the “big rocks” in my life at the moment.

The “big rocks” is a term the late Stephen R. Covey uses to describe our most important values and goals. We don’t prioritize our schedule, but rather, schedule our priorities: the big rocks.

We can be distracted by the little pebbles that call for our attention daily: the social media ping, the robocall, checking sports scores, etc. Soon we find that the pebbles have filled our day and we have no energy left to tackle the big rocks.

So, we start with the big rocks first.

I’ve discovered that our big rocks can change depending on the season of our life. Right now, my big rocks are my calling in life and how I envision it unfolding in the future; nurturing my relationships that are blooming; my adventure plans for the next 6 months; and my continued growth and development as a writer. The rest are pebbles that I may or may not get to by the end of the day. If I don’t, it’s okay because I have paid attention to what is most important.

I’ve also discovered that some of the big rocks are more important than others. I value my relationship with myself, God, and others. My Christian faith guides me to love God with all of my being and to love my neighbor as I love myself. Those are the rocks that I spend the most time and energy polishing. The essence of any growing relationship is being one of the other person’s big rocks. Relationships die when they are no longer big rocks.  

Summer is a great time to evaluate where we are spending our time and energy.

What are your big rocks?

What are the pebbles that you are giving your one and only life to?

Getting clear on the big rocks results in a life well-lived and full of joy.

You can see Stephen Covey’s classic illustration of the big rocks concept here: https://resources.franklincovey.com/the-8th-habit/big-rocks-stephen-r-covey

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