Breaking the Media Feed
The Leadership Team couples spent last weekend in a pair of houses at the coast and the firm intention was to seek the Lord together in prayer. We always pray at this annual retreat, but this year we made prayer the primary content. We literally spent hours looking at God’s word and responding in prayer – prayers of adoration, confession, supplication and thanksgiving.
One of the great things about getting out of town for this event was that it makes it easier to push pause on the usual things that grab our attention. We arrange to take a break as much as possible from work schedules, church responsibilities, household chores and (for some) the daily demands of parenting.
Our getaway also included largely taking a break from our usual diet of media. We did not establish any rules to follow, but the focus of the retreat naturally led us to eliminate or minimize many of our usual media habits. We didn’t watch any movies, television shows, or sports. (Yes, this retreat was strategically scheduled on a weekend without football.) There were no video games. Even social media and news feeds were pushed to the margins and given comparatively little time.
None of these media elements are inherently evil, but they all naturally tend to take a much greater portion of our time and mental energy than is healthy. In fact, they are designed to do so! Movies and television are now available at any time ‘on demand.’ Multiple networks and cable channels ensure some sporting contest is always on the air, even if it’s cricket. Video games are designed, like Count Rugen’s ‘The Machine,’ to suck years of your life away. News outlets and social media apps have new content virtually every moment so it becomes second nature to check first thing in the morning, right before bed and countless times in between.
This formidable reality is why it was so helpful to have an event where prayer received the first priority and lesser things got pushed to the bottom. I found myself delighted to realize halfway through that I hadn’t seen a headline in 48 hours.
Now we’re home and back at the usual responsibilities, including the need to stay reasonably informed. But having broken our routines, we have a great opportunity to change our patterns to those that are healthier, more balanced and more conducive to walking closely with God in a chaotic world.