ENGAGE, not CONSUME
I've had this thought in my head for a while, "What am I deliberately engaging with, not simply consuming?"
We are all encouraged to #stayhome in this current season. And without the support and encouragement we receive from face-to-face relationships, media is becoming a big part of our day to day lives. The truth is, media has been playing a bigger and bigger part of our lives for a while now. Since having Sam-J placed in my life, I've not been able to consume as much media. I have been able to see how much I was consuming (and wanting to consume!) previously. Then going back to work my consumption has gone back up.
A lot of this consumption can be good; whether it's news about what is taking place, or some lighthearted clip to elicit a smile or laugh - something to unwind and relax with.
But is there a deeper effect this consumption has on our lives?
I was reading a parenting book written by a psychologist and a school principal, and they make this comment that perhaps we are viewing ADHD wrongly. They have certainly noticed that when a child diagnosed with ADHD is given media they enjoy, they are very capable of attending to it. The problem arises when you ask them not just to attend, but to focus and engage with something else they don't enjoy as much. Perhaps it's not attention deficit they are struggling with, but engagement deficit.
With the rise of technology, we now have the ability to choose what we attend to. And often we are choosing to attend to things that we enjoy. However, when we need to focus on things that are less enjoyable to us, engagement can become very difficult.
This could be studies. Or paying the bills. Or having an important discussion with a loved one that you're dreading. Or even simply doing the work you're being paid to do... at home, with no one supervising you.
I've been wondering about my consumption habits. I find myself putting off things I need to focus on, and consuming things I'm enjoying. It's a little like a fast-food diet for the soul. And here's the catch... the more I consume those things, the more I want to consume it. Those cat videos are addictive! To find the focus I need I've had to be disciplined about my consumption. I've had to ask myself what I truly want to engage in, not just consume. I'm done with this fast-food style diet for my soul! I want true, nourishing content that helps me stay healthy and even become stronger in this time.
Jesus says in Matt 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" What we view affects us, no matter how lighthearted or temporary it seems. I want to view and engage with things that bring light to me. I don't just want to attend to things that bring me enjoyment. I want to engage with things that I'm prioritising.
It is ironic that I'm writing a post that you can consume... don't worry, I can see the irony clearly! But in the lyrics of Switchfoot, "If we're adding to the noise, turn off this song". Close this tab. Close a whole bunch of other tabs. Choose to engage with what is really important today.