As I sit waiting to get my oil changed, I look up to see not just some, but every person in the packed room staring at their phones. As we are eating dinner at a local restaurant, I notice time and time again that the art of communication and curiosity for one another has been lost to a screen. Would you agree that technology has changed how we interact and invest in each other, causing us to be less engaged, more distant from loved ones and feeling numb to our own reality? Let’s be honest… this isn’t a “them” problem. This is a ME and US problem. Are you wondering how I came to this conviction? Did I stumble upon an inspiring sermon about technology in the Christian home? No… Did I read an article that created a desire to invest more into my family and the relationships around me as opposed to the distant relationship mirages I seem to have on Instagram or Facebook? No… Did scripture point out a level of unhealthy boundaries with technology? No… It was at the hands of one of my most precious gifts, my son. 

Now here is a moment that hurts to even share… a moment that was without words but yet spoke so much truth. My one-year-old son and I were sitting in his playroom enjoying a very normal day. I was there physically but so far away emotionally, scrolling through some form of distraction.  Gently, his little fingers moved my phone out of my hands and replaced them with his face. He wanted me to view HIM as more important. Spend time with HIM. Notice HIM. In that moment, I knew I was missing out on so much. 

I am writing this article as a mom and wife who wants to not only physically be present in my home, but truly notice and value the ones inside. I have not arrived… I am far from perfect in this area. But things I do know… my son needs me more than social media ever will, my husband is valuable and worth my attention, and that my flesh can quickly forget both of these. Whether it be social media, email, news, etc., I am learning and pray I continue to learn that my time is more valuable building relationships and actually investing in others. Now before I go on, this is not just for parents. Those who are not parents are given such special relationships and opportunities as well. So I pray this is applicable to those who have kids in the home as well as those who do not. 

Let’s go back to what I said at the end of the opening paragraph… My son wanted me to view him as important, spend time with him, and notice him. He didn’t want me just physically in the room. He wanted all of me. This sounds like someone else I know. God desires for us to see Him as the most important, spend time with Him and notice Him. How often does social media, email, sports or news keep us from doing that? There are a plethora of things that could keep us from Him but for a second I would love for us to just think through our time with technology. 

Technology in and of itself is not bad. Having my phone was not bad, but it kept me from noticing my son. It kept me from wanting to spend time with him and even viewing him as important. I know in my experience, often missing these parts of God are not intentional. In that moment with my son, I was present. But he, just like the Lord, wants so much more from me. 

Going back to the story with my son, as my hands were holding his face, I knew something needed to change. I established boundaries for time with him. Just as I did that with my son, how much more important it is to protect time with the Lord! Whether it be from technology, busyness, work, time with friends, etc., there is nothing more essential than time with Him. The Lord continues to work out in me a need for boundaries to protect time with my family and with Himself.

Scripture points us constantly to this idea. God sees us as important, wants to spend time with us, and notices us. In the story of Hagar, she proclaims, “You are a God of seeing.” (Gen. 16:13) Hagar was an Egyptian servant of Sarai (later Sarah) who was the wife of Abram, (later Abraham). Sarah could not conceive and she gave Hagar to Abram to conceive a child. When this successfully happened, Sarah becomes very angry. Abram allowed Sarah to deal with Hagar as she saw fit and Hagar fled. An angel of the Lord found Hagar at a spring that is later named Beer-lahai-roi which means “well of the Living One who sees me.” After the angel spoke and prophesied over her, she called to the Lord, “You are a God of seeing.” In this story, God saw Hagar. He noticed her. He valued her.

Psalm 14:2 says, “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.” This Psalm is written as a community lament. As you read in the Psalm, it shows that the lack of seeking God brings about in humans a lack of appropriate and God-glorifying treatment towards others. How does this relate to my story? I wasn’t doing “abominable things,” I wasn’t bringing “great terror” to my son. I just all-together didn’t notice him, which is never how the Lord treats me. If the Lord is the best model of a right relationship, then I must strive for that.

Psalm 33:13 says, “The Lord looks down from heaven, he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned He looks out on all the inhabitants of the Earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.” He is not only present with me. He sees my heart as most important. 

I pray that you strive for and thrive in this. I pray that your time with your family is rich and full. I pray that your joy is multiplied and that your soul is renewed. May we all continuously grow closer to a Father who wants to hold our face in His hands. A Father who wants to see us as important, spend time with us and notice us. And may God reveal to you His love through this truth. God sees you. He notices you. And may we emulate his love for us in our earthly relationships and in our relationship with our loving Father. Just as my son gently pushed away the distractions for me to see him, may we do the same for our Lord. God has shown His faithfulness. God has given us truth in His Word, stories revealing He sees us. He asks for us to seek HIS face. What boundaries do you need to put into place to notice Him?

 

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