November 23, 2014

iPads, cell phones, and tablets are increasingly being used as bedside alarm clocks and in many cases replacing clocks themselves. They also have become indispensable additions, and in many cases, addictions to our lives

While it would have been incomprehensible a few short years ago that one could hold a full-scale computer in the palm of your hand, today it is a reality.  You now have the ability to learn, be informed, and communicate anywhere on the planet from a tiny mobile device.  The upside is tremendous but the downside is that it can consume your life if you do not impose boundaries on the use of such devices. Much has been written and documented about the addictive nature of portable electronics and most of us have witnessed this in ourselves, if we will be honest as well as with many others we know.

If you are like a growing number of people I know, we wake up in the middle of the night and look at our phone or i Pad for the actual time since we no longer use regular clocks as in the past. When turning on the device, we see on the desktop of the device alerts to the numerous by the number of awaiting text and e-mail messages.  The tendency is to begin opening these messages to see what awaits you. It takes willpower not to do so.

I have found that doing that begins the cycle of concern and stress much earlier than normal if you were to check them when you would normally awake later in the morning.

Let’s see what Scripture tells us in this case:

Matthew 6:34 New International Version (NIV) tells us:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

So, why start the cycle of stress and anxiety before you should when what is needed is sleep and rest?

Let me share what I have started doing that has benefitted me greatly in the past month:

When I wake up in the middle of the night and by habit pick up my phone to look at the time, I now go to an application like Daily Bread which I have put as the very first tile or icon at the top of my desktop on my Windows phone. Seeing this app first causes me to open it immediately instead of scrolling down to see awaiting messages. I read the daily scripture, commentary, and prayers that others have already posted.  Then I take a few minutes to meditate on what I have read.  Usually I am pretty excited about all of this and begin to pray and thank God for who He has been, is, and will be for me and my family in the future.

If I am still wide awake, I pray for other concerns in my life and for those in need.

This process only takes a few minutes but I have found that the peace and serenity it has given me has been astounding.  I do not proceed to check my messages after that as I feel that would be an insult to the above-referenced Scripture and God.

What can be achieved by practicing this new routine is a calm that “surpasses all understanding” and that will carry me a few more hours until the normal day starts.  All that “stuff” will still be there in a few hours as the Bible says.  In addition, my quiet time alone with the Lord has already been accomplished and has set the tone for my entire day.

So, I encourage you to give this method a try and you will not be disappointed.  Use your portable electronics as instruments of peace rather than often as instruments that can lead to increased anxiety and stress.

Set boundaries on yourself for greater peace and productivity.  You will be so glad you did.