By Katie Choi
Spring is here in Missouri. I feel it, and I see it. Warmer weather outside, birds chirping, rain in the forecast, and people’s moods most noticeably lifted. I don’t think it any coincidence that Spring coincides with Lent and Easter. Renewal is visibly all around us.
I didn’t grow up doing much with Lent, but in recent years, I am learning more about the church calendar and how it is a wonderful opportunity for me to worship and reset. One way for me to do this is to use Lent is an invitation to reflect on my relationship with God. My friend, Kelly, wrote a wonderful post on Lent a few weeks ago. It urged me to ask myself some questions. Where do I feel disconnected from God? Where do I find myself distracted? What is distracting me? These are some of the things I have been considering.
Going into this Lenten season, my husband and I are really paying attention to how much time we spend on our phones at home. To me, this can feel like a tired topic, but it’s important to us as we continue to learn to set boundaries on our technology so we can be more present for our family. To give you some background, a few years ago I had to get rid of social media. Time limits and other great tips and tricks just didn’t help me so I had to totally get rid of it. Even without social media, it is amazing how much time you can still spend (cough, cough waste) on your phone.
A temptation I face is online shopping. The world makes it so easy to online shop right now. You can look at a perfectly staged photo of someone’s house, click on that perfect accent basket, and it will take you directly to another page where you can purchase that basket. Genius! But for me, dangerous. I confuse my wants and my needs. I fall into the trap of thinking that if I get that one more thing, then I will find that contentment that I am looking for. That thing will complete my collection, and finally allow me to stop running the rat race where I find my worth in what I have. But, how many times have I had that inner conversation with myself and continued on in the same cycle? A lot.
I find myself disconnected from God when I don’t look to Him for my worth. I find myself distracted during my days because sometimes I am more worried about what I want than what I have. Many times, my phone is a tool that aides in my disconnection and distractions. Even though the Bible was written before we had smartphones at our fingertips, it understood that we have this internal problem of loving our stuff and gives us some pretty pointed advice.
Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49: 16 – 20
What a reminder that all this stuff I already have and all the stuff I want to have in the future, none of it will follow me when I die. It’s temporary, not everlasting.
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12: 32 – 34
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What do I consider treasure? Where’s my heart right now? Anxious and worried about what I have or assured that God has provided for me? Taking this love of stuff a step further, am I focused on what I can give to others? Or am I only focused on what I think I deserve?
These verses are pretty pointed. But I think love can be pointed. I have a belief that God loves me. As God loves me, He wants what is best for me. He wants me to be connected to Him and in relationship with Him. Lent reminds me of that. So if a love of stuff and what I have gets in the way of that, I need God’s help to cut through those distractions. Will you join me in praying that God draws us close during Lent?
Heavenly Father, we thank you for this day. Thank you for this season of Lent and of renewal. Lord, will you reveal to us the ways that we are disconnected from you? Will you guide us in eliminating distractions that affect our relationship? Lord, I ask that you give me a generous and grateful heart. Let me delight in my many blessings and delight in blessing others. Lord, thank you for hearing our prayers and for sticking with us. We love you, Lord. Amen.