“To do anything, you have to resist being entertained.” -Pete Dunlap, author of The Digital Detangler: A Guide to Mindful Technology Use.

For my work, I am a librarian and technology specialist for a PK-5th grade school. Recently, I attended a professional development workshop at which Pete Dunlap spoke about technology use, encouraging us to use our phones more as tools and less as distractions. I know I am guilty of scrolling through social media or playing a mindless game as I wait for an event to begin or when I am bored. How many connections have I missed? How much time have I wasted that could have been spent on something more productive? How much sleep have I lost? From the data Pete Dunlap presented, I was convicted at the conference and have since been trying to use my phone less as a distractor. I started thinking about all of the other things I add to my life daily- how many of them are truly essential and how many of them are distractors like my phone?

The Packed Schedule

Do you feel like you need to be “entertained” every moment of every day? Do you pack your days so full that your constant state of being is “hurry” or “busy” or “stressed”? As a working mom to a soon to be five year old, I look at our after-school schedule and already wonder when we will be able to do homework when she starts having it in just a few years. Sometimes I feel like it is all I can do to keep my head above water while trying to do it all. I look back with wonder at the elegance and grace my own working mother displayed navigating my busy schedule as a child. Life never seemed rushed and overflowing with stuff to do like it does today.

The month of November is always a busy time for me. Between preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my daughter’s birthday, and Book Week at my school, I find myself mentally pushed to my limit- sometimes unable to process information or to be genuinely engaged in conversations. I apologize often to my husband as I continually must ask him to repeat things he has said. In the hurried-ness of this month, I am reminded of Psalm 46:10- Be still and know that I am God.

The “Be Still” Challenge

You’ve seen it on mugs and journals and t-shirts and posters. It might even be underlined or highlighted in your Bible. But do we follow the Psalmist’s words? Be still. It doesn’t say “pack your day so full of activities that you don’t have time for me.” It says, “be still.” Resist being “entertained.” Feel my presence. Recharge by spending time with my Holy Spirit.

I am entering this busy time of the year with a goal to be still. I will put down my distractions and make sure I spend time each day with my Creator. I will look around me and connect more with others. I will spend my time thoughtfully. I hope you will, too.

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