Cars. Planes. Phones. Television. Social media, and more. The world is a noisy place and seems to grow louder every day. Some sounds are ambient noise that we tune out, like the sounds of a highway nearby. Other noise may even be a silent notification on a device, yet it screams to us for attention every hour or minute.
If we are honest, we have grown so accustomed to this noise that we have grown to crave it. We feel awkward in silence or alone when our social media post doesn’t get the level of engagement we expect. What can we learn about our dependence on these temporary distractions, and how can we find peace in silence?
Fear of Missing Out is a disease of epidemic proportions. We crave acceptance and admittedly allow our self-esteem to be connected to a “like” or “share.” Have we become so self-absorbed that we depend on acceptance from others, even in a digital environment, to define who we are as people?
The power of connecting with others in a social media context can be used for good, but it can also be so consuming that it re-defines our identity. Acts 13:4-12 describes an intelligent man named Sergius Paulus. It seems that his desire for knowledge and acceptance had led him to rely on influence from sorcery, yet he was dissatisfied by the noise that this wickedness provided. Maybe it was fear of missing out on what else he could learn or a growing emptiness from what he had used to fill a void in his soul that led him to reach out for more.
Figure it out
For Paulus, he reached a place of courage to admit that he needed more. Eventually, he would hear the truth of God’s saving power and choose to believe in Jesus. In order for him to reach this place, he had to witness a confrontation that exposed the emptiness of his previous source of confidence. You can read more about that in Acts 13:9-12 if you are interested.
For you and me, we need to come to the same realization. The noise around us can easily become overwhelming, distracting, and dissatisfying. Ideally, we can figure this out in our life without a crisis or confrontation. Do you feel uncomfortable when it is quiet? Have you checked your phone for any new notifications during the few minutes it has taken to read this blog? If so, you may be in a place where noises and notifications are controlling and defining you. What can you do about it?
Consider taking a break. Fast from digital consumption or social media for a day, a week, or even a month. Imagine the focus you could regain if you replaced the time spent waiting on a “like” and replaced it with time with God and in His Word. In that time we can experience a peace that can only be found in His indescribable love.