Andy B is a champion multi-tasker. When you look after children, or the home, it’s just something you become quite good at!
You also get very good at it, when operating a lorry mounted crane with 7 controls – and you’re using 5 of them at the same time – and while offloading an abnormally large item, with pedestrians who seem to be rushing to their own end, and ignoring any number of safety warnings, barriers and people you’ve put in place to keep them away from what you’re doing! That one might just have been more specifically a regular situation Andy B encountered as a truck driver – it may not something you’re likely to encounter when you’re popping to the shops!
But, that multi-tasking skill is something we’ve all learned to do during Covid. In a family situation it can be a really useful skill to learn. But, in the workplace, it becomes less so. And when it comes to spending time with God, being able to multi-task becomes a real issue.
With Zoom meetings, and online church, it’s become super easy to not actually be in the room.
Zoom meetings are on in the background, rather than the reason you’re actually tuning in in the first place. Because you’ve already tuned out and are writing those far more important emails instead. Or just ordering your dinner for the night on your phone.
And when it comes to spending time with God we can easily try to text and pray – to literally be praying to God, or reading the bible, or watching the church service. While, the whole time, never really tuning in.
Granted, it’s very easy to be distracted when you’re in a church service physically, whether that’s the dodgy parking you saw in the church car park that terrified you, the overly strong perfume from the woman in front, or the rustling of sweet wrappers, or maybe that one is just me?!? Really, why would I want to share if I brought them in and you didn’t!
But, when we’re not exactly in the physical room, it’s so much easier to not be in the room at all. Which means that we need to re-learn how to concentrate, and be in the moment and focus.
And when it comes to our time with God, we need to re-learn how to put the phone away and on silent and how to actually listen to God, without trying to multi-task our way to the bits we’d rather hurry up and get to!
So, another Andy B 2 Minute Video. And I got thinking about praying and texting.
Because I was reminded, through a chat with a friend, on a blog, that there was a video quite a while ago. And it was actually designed to help you understand the dangers of driving and texting, or using your mobile phone or cell phone. And, in the video, they had lots of real clips of people on their phones, walking along the street, walking into lampposts, walking into fountains, walking into people, walking into big holes through cones, and signs, not seeing them. And, then the end of this little video clip was basically, if you can't walk and text, what makes you think you can drive and text.
And, this got me remembering this video, and it got me thinking about praying and texting.
Because, in the last few years through COVID, you've probably seen many, many videos, people having a bit of a joke about what's gone on. And you know, two years ago on Zoom, you're at home and you're really well dressed in your office gear, and someone's muted, 'oh I'm so terribly sorry, but I can't hear you'.
And then you roll a year further along and they're not quite so well dressed. It's like 'yeah, you're on mute, we can't hear ya'. And then two years in, they're not really there 'oh forget it, I can't be bothered'.
Because we've become more accustomed, and more relaxed, about the idea of sharing our personal space with our work colleagues, through zoom meetings.
And, church life has been very similar. We've, we've got used to browsing, a bit like at a buffet. Which church do we fancy? 'Ooh we like their worship. And their teaching. And their prayer'. So, we kind of skip from church to church, if we're not careful. But it isn't actually a healthy thing to do.
What we've learned to do through COVID, is to scroll on by
On Instagram, you can look at reels. Which are just pointless little videos, for the most part and you just scroll, and scroll, and scroll, and, you're never really engaging with a human being, just just seeing these really short videos that are mostly meaningless.
We need to learn to use the pause button! Not so we can get more done. Not so that we can watch our church service online, but be texting our friends at the same time. We need to be engaging!
And what using all this digital stuff has done is it's removed us a little bit from our personal engagement with other human beings. It's too easy to hit pause, and get through to the end. 'What's the conclusion I'll read that' and skip the rest.
Actually, we need to use pause in a different way. We need to be pausing our days in order to give God our all.
So, next time you got a time to read some scripture. Or to do some prayer. Or spend some time with somebody, Don't be doing that whilst checking your emails and your your work phone. Switch stuff off, turn it around, find a quiet space.
The Bible tells us to go into a closet, in an inner room, in a house, no disturbances. In order that we can spend some time with God.
So, let's learn to use the pause button better in our lives.
Let's learn to use the pause to stop everything around us, as much as we can, in order to have some one on one time with God. Where we don't just speak at Him, or read our Bible, or pray at Him. But, we also remember to take time to pause and to listen.
Just a thought
Written by Andy B