Fill the Void

SmartphoneUsersThis morning I watched a video of a famous comedian being interviewed on a late night talk show. The topic of conversation was why this comedian chooses not to give his children phones. It started out as lighthearted, but he moved the conversation to a more insightful place when he brought up the “thing” that we all have inside of us – a feeling of emptiness or loneliness that resides deep down, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. He had a really colorful way of discussing this thing, and it made me laugh. But it also revealed depth and sensitivity in a man that on the service, some might see as crass or macho.

He told a story about driving along and hearing a song that moved him and made him feel sad. He admitted that instinctively, he started to go for his phone to do something mindless – send a text, look something up, anything to move away from the feelings of sadness and loneliness stirring up in him. But then he stopped himself and realized the beauty of feeling the sad emotion, and the joy that followed after once the sadness passed. He felt human. Alive. And this was his whole point – that we run away from feeling anything but neutral, mild satisfaction, and that phones/devices give us a great escape from paying attention to our emotions.

This rang so true with me it was a little embarrassing. I can’t count the number of times that I know my time would be better spent either doing something productive, reading something meaningful, or connecting with someone important. But instead I’ve chosen – numerous times – to numb out with whatever device will distract me from engaging in my own life.

The video convinced me to make a more deliberate effort to avoid distractions and just allow myself to be alone – and be open to the thoughts or feelings that God may bring my way in those moments.

The next time you think about zoning out, maybe check out the God Story for a more meaningful way to spend your time!

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