Video games, social media, television, and computer screens dominate our lives! The struggles with technology and screen time are real! My guest today is Doug Smith author of [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires, and How You Can Break Free.
Please welcome Doug Smith to By His Grace, and you can listen to the podcast we recorded here:Struggling with Screen time
The Technology Struggle with Screen Time
by Doug Smith
I’m grateful for Misty’s invitation to share with you today. Misty’s new book title captures the journey of faith with profound simplicity: The Struggle Is Real: But So Is God. For many of us, few struggles are more real than those we fight over technology.
If we’re not fighting our own screen-based battles, we’re struggling with a spouse who devotes too much time to a glowing rectangle. Or we’re wrestling with our kids’ tendency to care more about their virtual lives than their homework, chores, or real-world time with family and friends.
In my years of research — not only as a tech industry professional, but also as a man, husband, and dad to four girls — I’ve learned the chilling reason our struggles with screens are so real. The industries behind our devices intentionally make their content distracting, habit-forming, and addictive. We’re all watching, clicking, swiping, buying, or playing because they’re so good at exploiting our natural psychological weaknesses.
By enticing us to spend 6, 8, 10, even 12 hours a day enthralled by an endless barrage of apps, games, videos, posts, tweets, or memes, they’re stealing what’s most valuable to us: our attention, our time, and ultimately, our very lives.
Many people throw in the towel when they feel overwhelmed by the struggle. It’s just too hard to fight against the onslaught of billions of screens. They’re too exhausted for one more fight with their son over Fortnite, or for another argument with their daughter about Snapchat.
And on our own, the struggle is overwhelming.
But God. But God. The Bible overflows with defeat-to-victory stories where the impossible was turned into reality by But God. David cried out to God, saying “My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). Jesus’ disciples were hopeless after He was crucified, “But God raised Him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). The world was without eternal hope, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love … made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5).
God makes all the difference. When we invite Him into our struggle by surrendering everything to Him, He gives us all we need to overcome (2 Peter 1:3-4).
The surprising answer is that we often surrender to the wrong thing. We surrender to the struggle by giving up, instead of surrendering to the One who can help us overcome whatever is holding us back.
What can you do to become more intentional with your life than the industries who want you to waste your life on their platforms?
Here are four ways to get started:
First, choose to hope in God. Don’t give up. Hope sometimes comes from telling ourselves truths like David did. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him” (Psalm 43:5).
Second, learn the strategies used to keep us hooked on our screens. Find out how techniques such as autoplay, like buttons, and loot boxes are designed to manipulate us. Let that knowledge embolden you to break free.
Third, discover your God-given purpose. You and your family are here for so much more than to live as data-slaves of the most powerful corporations in the world. When you’re walking in your purpose, no screen will be able to pull you away from it.
Finally, cultivate Biblical practices that fill you with God’s presence so you can fulfill His calling on your life. When you integrate timeless spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study, worship, and silence, your thoughts and actions will be shaped by God’s Spirit instead of the screen-saturated spirit of our age.
Yes, The Struggle Is Real: But So Is God. Apply that truth to the struggles over the screens in your life today, and find a freedom you may never have known before.
Doug Smith offers an insider’s perspective on the impact of technology, informed by over two decades of web programming experience and a lifetime of Bible study. He’s a popular speaker, mentor, and author of [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires, and How You Can Break Free. Doug is gratefully married to fellow author, Lyneta, and the couple is blessed with four wonderful daughters. Find out more at http://thatdougsmith.com and http://unintentionalbook.com.
By His Grace Podcast exists to help you make sense of the struggles of life by examing things through a Biblical Perspective. Please let us know how we can pray for you!