Since this summer I have been working on maintaining a balance in my life. Part of this has been taking walks in the woods, sometimes by myself and sometimes with our dog, Alli. These are times when I examine my own life and talk with God.
But now, as winter approaches, I must consider a new approach. As the snow begins to fall, the trails I take my walks on will vanish beneath waves of snow, cutting me off from my solitary places. Now, I will have to find other places to go to cut myself off from all the distractions we face in our lives and culture today.
Let me inject here that distractions are not bad. Yet, I have to ask, do we make the distractions too big a part of our lives?
I grew up watching TV. Of course, back in the 1960s, we only had two local stations, CBS and NBC. Then we added a local PBS station in the early ’70s and an ABC affiliate in the mid ’70s.
Still, there were plenty of times when nothing good was on and we left that distraction to go out and play or be creative in some fashion.
Then, I compare that to today. Between cable or satellite TV and the internet, we can be virtually entertained with distractions 24/7. And it is hard for me to break away from that sometimes. I’m not talking so much about TV, as I am the internet.
Social media has been a great way for me to keep in contact with friends throughout my life who now live far away. I don’t think I can count the number of neighbor kids I grew up with which the internet allows me to keep in contact with today.
However, there are those other times. You know, times where someone posts a link about some article on online that looks interesting. Then, that link leads me to others. And before I know it, hours have past, being entertained by the limitless sites on the internet.
It is essential though to make quiet time to examine our lives and spend time with God on a regular basis. Believers need to maintain that relationship above all else. It is when we stop contemplating our lives and relationship with God, our lives begin to fall apart.
What is living a Christian life really about? Have our distractions taken us away from asking ourselves that? On the news broadcasts every night, I am reminded by the actions of others (especially in the political arena) how far a believer can fall. The word repent comes to mind. Sadly, the lack of repentance on the part of people who should be following God does also. Without God as our focus, suddenly excuses replace repentance.
I don’t know where I’ll be going for quiet times, away from distractions, this winter. I do know I need to find a quiet place. And I will.
Where do you go to spend quiet time with God? When was the last time you picked up a Bible to get refocused? Relationships only grow when we spend time with another.
Kurt J. Kolka is a graduate of two Christian colleges — Concordia University in Ann Arbor and Anderson University in Indiana — where he studied both Bible and theology, as well as journalism. Contact him regarding this column at email@example.com.
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