One useful step in changing your current mood and outlook is, “Change what is on your screen.” It can be done!

Seconds prior to joining yesterday’s church service, my watch buzzed on my wrist. A quick glance showed my “Weekly Screen Time Report” was available. My mind briefly pondered how life has changed over the past years, amazed that a watch could now report how I spent time the previous week. It was a dreadful time to delve into the details of my average daily screen time and the programs/apps I used the most, so I moved on.

Like many, screens dominate the day in my role with the Christian Churches Pension Plan. Whether it is certifying that pension contributions have been correctly recorded and attributed, authorizing the Plan Trustee to begin new monthly pension payments, responding to inquiries from our thousands of plan participants, or handling the role of public relations, I spend most of every workday with a screen before me. That is BEFORE I move on to personal time.

We all can easily fall prey to focusing additional personal time on angry social media outbursts. Once that happens, human nature attracts us to more on-screen contentious tantrums. The appetite for information supporting our beliefs and feelings draws us to polarizing comments like a tractor beam in a sci-fi movie.

In our “Calming the seas in periods of uncertainty” post last week, we addressed how people have described the events of this year as “depressing.” We noted friends have openly said their normally optimistic outlook had become darkened, and they wished they could quietly find a place to hide. One suggestion we presented was spend less time on Social Media…and more time in discussion with a spouse.

Now, this suggestion has merit, but we did not go far enough. It is not enough to only talk about using screens less. Jesus instructed us, once a house is swept clean, we must consider how to replace that which was removed. (Luke 11:24-26) Screens are not going away in the future. The screen of the future will become increasingly wearable. Because screens will likely be an even larger part of life, the question must become how to transform screen time into a positive influence.

One resource we can proudly endorse is NextLevel Online, a series of free Bible and ministry training videos produced by Ozark Christian College. Each series is taught by the faculty of Ozark and sponsored jointly by The Solomon Foundation and the Christian Churches Pension Plan. There are currently 25 different studies available at no charge covering topics such as, how to read the Bible, studies of individual books of the Bible, marriage, children’s ministry, the life of Jesus, world missions, and more. They are available online at Free registration is required once per computer/device. Alternatively, the studies are available on RightNow Media! There are more quality blogs, video study series, and podcasts available online than we can possibly cover in one blogpost.

The point we wish to emphasize is that time spent with a screen can become a positive influence as easily as it can produce frustration. There is nothing inherently bad, detrimental, or evil about using a screen device. As the apostle Paul wrote to his beloved friends in the church of Ephesus, we need to be careful how we live. The goal is to live as people who are wise; making the most of every opportunity because the days in which we live are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-17)

We can live as wise people. The various screens that we use may contribute positively to our lives as easily as they can cause frustration. Here is to living positively. Here is to living a life that brings light and peace to those we meet. Here is to living a life in which pursuing God is the driving force of pursuing our passions.