Probably one of the things I enjoy best about hiking is the quiet. When you’re in a classroom full of third graders all day, you long for the quiet of the woods. When I get out there, I throw on my backpack, hit the trail, and all I can hear is the rustle of the wind through the trees and the crunch of my boots on the ground. I never want to be in the wilderness and not be completely in tune with my surroundings. There’s far too much to see and hear and smell to miss out on any of it.
Oddly, many hikers do the exact opposite while out on the trail. They bring iPods and cell phones and jam out to music or listen to audio books while hiking. I’ve literally tried to get another hiker’s attention to show them something interesting or beautiful, but they were so zoned out, they completely missed it. I believe you can’t really enjoy all that nature has to offer while you’re consumed by a device. To go even further, you can’t even enjoy others and learn who they are when your face is glued to your phone all the time. It’s as if some people are walking and living and yet asleep at the same time.
This problem is not only present in daily life or in our hobbies either. It’s also present in our relationship with God. Sometimes at worship, we’re a million miles away from God while our minds filter through all our other priorities and worries. We can’t hear God or fully appreciate all that he is if we aren’t tuned in. We must find a way to give God the attention he deserves instead of always being focused on our own thoughts and desires. And therein lies the difficulty. How exactly do you unplug from the world around you and tune in to God?
- First, we need to realize that our lives should have God at the center. Everything we do can be done for the glory of God (Colossians 3:23-24), even our daily activities like working or taking care of family matters. One great way to help do this is to make sure we fit acts of service into our daily schedule. If you’re like me, your day can fill up fast with responsibilities, so fast that you have no time left to meet the needs of those around you. Sometimes we have to be purposeful about making room in our schedule to serve others and not just serve ourselves.
- Next, we need to treat worship with the respect it deserves by removing distractions so that we can give God all the focus. And let’s not train our children to be distracted by handing them an iPad so they’ll be quiet. Preparing for corporate worship begins long before the opening prayer by asking God to reveal himself to us. Be prepared to give your full attention to the songs being sung and the sermon being preached and the thoughts being presented during the Lord’s Supper so that worship will, in every way, honor God.
- Finally, we need to stop and smell the roses, if you will, and appreciate all the many things God has given us to enjoy. Like the hiking I mentioned earlier, sometimes we have to slow down and be more observant of all the beautiful blessings we have in our lives. We tend to lose out on things because of all the hustle and bustle, and it’s usually those simple things that are the most enjoyable. As the title implies, we must unplug from the things that don’t matter and tune in to the things that do.
As you can probably tell, I’m a big proponent of living simply and focusing on the important things. It’s such a great way to live and it leaves time to relish in the wonderful blessings God has so graciously bestowed on us.
Give it a try.
Live in the moment.
Show gratitude to God for each opportunity you have.