This weekend I rode in the car with my oldest daughter for about twenty minutes in silence. It felt like I was completely alone. That child was glued to her phone the whole time. I could have asked her to put it down, and she would have with no argument. In situations like this I usually do remind her that the person she is with is more important that whatever is on her phone. However, this time I was curious to see what would happen if I didn’t say anything.
She never even looked up. In my optimism I thought that if we rode and I said nothing, that would give her a chance to talk about anything that might be on her mind. I was looking for conversation – but received silence instead.
The irony, of course, is that I’m the one who gave her the phone. She has the phone to be able to communicate with her parents when we’re not with her. She had it with her that day because we had been running, and she uses an app that helps her log her runs. It comes in handy, but the very thing that I gave her because I love her and want to be able to communicate with her was currently having the opposite result. The two of us riding in silence was not my plan. That is not why I gave her the phone.
So we drove along side by side, with my daughter absorbed in the phone that I gave her, and me just waiting for her to put it down and talk to me.
My own blessings
I thought of my own heavenly Father who has given me so much, and I wonder if He sees me often distracted by His blessings and thinks That’s not why I gave you that. I didn’t give you that so you could ignore Me.
God gives me the choice as to how I use His blessings, just as I did with my daughter. I can use them with God’s purpose in mind, or I can use them for my own enjoyment and ignore the very one who gave them to me.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
If I find that something is keeping me from my relationship with God, I can be sure that either it did not come from God, or that I am not using it the way He intended. God wants us to be near Him, communicating with Him. He wanted that so much that He sent Jesus to die for us – just so we could be near Him.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13
God has blessed me with so much. It is easy to become so absorbed in enjoying His blessings that I begin to think of them as mine. Those blessings are not mine any more than that phone is my daughter’s. I need to remember the source and the purpose of all that God has given me. God wants us to enjoy His blessings, but He also wants us to remember Him. He wants us to talk to Him. More than that, He wants us to abide in Him.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4
We can choose to abide in Jesus. We can choose to use God’s blessings for His purpose instead of letting them distract us from Him.
Putting down the phone
Let’s not ride through life too distracted to see God. He sits there right beside us just waiting for us to remember Him. He sits waiting patiently for us to put down our phones, turn our faces to Him, converse with Him, and abide in His presence.
Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 1 John 2:28