Psalm 16:2-4—Going Screen Free



Psalm 16:2–4 (NIV84)

2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” 3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight. 4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.

Other gods. This week has me thinking about who and what those are in my life. This week, my wife and I are going screen free after dinner. And it’s been this strange combination of liberating and pathetic. Pathetic, because the the first night, I really didn’t know what to do.

It’s incredible how much of my life is on this laptop. Want to read a book? Screen. Want to listen to music? Screen. Want to work on a project—maybe cabinet doors in the basement? Screen. Screen. Screen.

And it goes so much further. I’ve learned to avoid silence. I’m working in the garage, but I’m listening to a podcast on my phone. I’m in the shower, we have a speaker there too. Sitting in bed before I go to sleep? Maybe a little sudoku on my phone, browsing a few website. Oh, looks like I have an email from someone I know. Great, the something to deal with. Wait, what was I doing? Right, we were going to watch a show on my laptop before bed. Better open that up. (Mind you, that wasn’t what I was doing.)

And then there’s the simple fact that I’ve lost, in some way, my ability to entertain myself. It’s crazy how easily vedging happens. Mindlessly reading news online. Mindlessly checking social media. Mindlessly watching YouTube or Netflix or something we’ve recorded on TV. And then there’s the waiting. Oh, just got an update. I’ll click next and wait for it to install. And then you’re waiting and wasting.

So, just a little pathetic. And it makes me wonder, have I been pouring out a libation to other gods—the god of technology?

But then, there’s this liberation. (And I realize that I must sound like a drug addict getting sober.) I’ve actually had some original thoughts in the last two days. Not only that, my mind has felt clear. I’ve slept better, and I haven’t felt so tied to the world around me. I mean, it’s almost like I’ve had this buzzer attached to my hip that could jolt me at any moment—take me out of whatever I’m doing and demand I pay attention to it. Except, that’s exactly how it’s been.

When and how did this happen? And what’s more, if I weren’t imposing this Holy Week, screen-free rule on myself, would I have the disciple to keep a safe distance?

And it just makes me wonder, what have I been missing being so connected? Who have I short shifted? How have I stifled God’s voice in my life? Would things seem clearer if I kept the screens away? Maybe so. And so, I thank the Lord for this experience. And like the potion and cup he assigns me, I ask that he would not leave me unaffected—that he would use the experience to draw me closer and enable me to delight, again and again, in his glorious inheritance.