John Piper writes: “I feel like I have to get saved every morning. I wake up and the devil is sitting on my face.”
Very rarely will a blog make an immediate impact on my life, but this one did. I read it last night and already today my day was different. You can read Piper’s blog in full here.
Essentially he outlines six reasons why I am (and maybe you are) unwittingly addicted to social media and prioritise that in the morning over spending time with God to get the day off to a better start.
So here are his points as to why so many of us are drawn almost addictively to consult with our phones when we wake up in the morning.
Reason 1: Novelty Candy – We simply love to hear what is new in the world and new among our friends. What happened since we last glanced at the world? Most of us like to be the first one to know something, and then we don’t have to assume the humble posture of being told something that smart and savvy and on-the-ball people already know. Then maybe we can assume the role of being the informer, rather than the poor benighted people that need to be informed about what happened and if they were smart enough they would have been on their social media earlier.
Reason 2: Ego Candy – What have people said about us since the last time we checked? Who has taken note of us? Who has retweeted us? Who mentioned us or liked us or followed us? In our fallen, sinful condition, there is an inordinate enjoyment of the human ego being attended to. Some of us are weak enough, wounded enough, fragile enough, insecure enough, that any little mention of us feels good. It is like somebody kissed us.
Reason 3: Entertainment Candy – On the Internet, there is an endless stream of fascinating, weird, strange, wonderful, shocking, spell-binding, and cute pictures, quotes, videos, stories, and links. Many of us now are almost addicted to the need of something striking and bizarre and extraordinary and amazing. So at least those three candy motives are at work in us as we wake up in the morning and have these cravings that we seek to satisfy with our phones. Then there are three avoidance motives. In other words, these aren’t positive desires for something; these are facing things in life that we simply want to avoid for another five minutes.
Reason 4: Boredom Avoidance – We wake up in the morning and the day in front of us looks boring. There is nothing exciting coming in our day and little incentive to get out of bed. And of course, the human soul hates a vacuum. If there is nothing significant and positive and hopeful in front of us to fill the hope-shaped place in our souls, then we are going to use our phones to avoid stepping into that boredom.
Reason 5: Responsibility Avoidance – We each have a role: father, mother, boss, employee, whatever. There are burdens that are coming at us in the day that are weighty. The buck stops with us. Decisions have to be made about our children, the house, the car, the finances, and dozens of other things. Life is full of weighty responsibilities, we feel inadequate for them, and we are lying there in bed feeling fearful — maybe even resentful — that people put so much pressure on us. We are not attracted to this day, and we prefer to avoid it for another five or ten minutes. And there is the phone to help us postpone the day.
Reason 6: Hardship Avoidance – You may be in a season of life where what you meet when you get out of bed is not just boredom and not just responsibility, but mega relational conflict, or issues of disease or disability in the home, friends who are against you, or pain in your own body in your joints and you can barely get out of bed because it hurts so bad in the morning, and it is just easier to lie there a little longer. And the phone adds to the escape.
I know which ones are relevant to me, and you can hopefully see which ones hit the spot for you. Anyway, I went to bed last night resolved not to look at Twitter and emails (which I’ve been glued to because of the ongoing issues in the country), and you know what? I had my best morning in ages of clear-headed Bible time, memorised five verses, and then prayed coherently without getting distracted every third sentence by thoughts of the disturbing developments on Twitter I’d normally read by 630am each day.
Is the devil sitting on your face each morning? I’ve put the above on the blog because I don’t want to forget it. Hope it helps you too.