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Our Brains on Technology

Psalm 46-10“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” –Psalm 46:10

I read something interesting recently. Scientists have discovered that all of our electronic gizmos and gadgets may be doing yet another type of harm to our brains. (Or perhaps we’re allowing them to do this by not using them with care.)

Now I don’t have anything against electronic gizmos and gadgets. I listen to my mp3 player when I run. I check in on social media sites several times a day. I prefer typing on a keyboard to writing with a pen. I take my cell phone with me wherever I go.

But that’s why I found this study interesting.

You see, lately I’ve been longing for silence more and more. I leave the music off while driving in my truck. I say, “That’s enough,” and shut down my computer for the day. I often sense my eyes and my ears and my brain telling me to remove the noise—for a little while, at least, —so I let them rest by doing non-electronic things.

And that’s what this study has found we all need.

The scientists discovered that after we take in new information, our brains need downtime to process it. They need time to chew it up and absorb it, so it can stick with us. If we’re always taking information in without rest, the information can’t stay. So if we’re listening to music while talking on the phone while surfing the internet, we may think we’re relaxing, but we’re really stressing our brains out. Our electronic gizmos and gadgets allow us to multi-task like never before, but scientists say they are wearing us out.

I think this study shows that God knew what He was saying when He told us to “Be still and know that I am God.” If we really want to know something, we have to take time to be still. And what is more important to know than that our God is God! He will be exalted in the nations; He will be exalted in the earth!

Maybe this is why the things God taught me during my quiet time refuse to come back to me until I’m driving down the road in my truck or cleaning the floors in my home. Maybe mindless activity isn’t mindless at all—it’s time our minds can use to process and sort recent input. It’s also time our God can use to firmly stick His Truth to our brains.

Maybe this is why I learn best by rewriting headline verses and truths, praying about them, journaling my thoughts, and thinking about them in quiet moments over several days. If we want something to stick, we have to learn to be still.

Lord, please help us use technology wisely and well, turning off the noise when that is what we need. Remind us to be still, to know that You are God—to hear what you want us to hear—to carefully keep thoughts you want us to keep. Our minds are fearfully and wonderfully made—by You! Help us protect them, and use them in the way that You want us to. Thank You, Lord! For Your glory, Amen.

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Janet Benlien Reeves

Reader, Writer, Runner, Flower Hunter, Child of God, Prince Charming's Wife, Mom Prone to Cheer
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Comments

  1. A much need word in our culture, Janet. I love technology, but I know it can consume me. I’ve watched kids get so wrapped up in it that they can’t stop to enjoy what’s happening around them. Isn’t it wonderful when science proves what the Scripture already says. I’d love to know more about the study you read. Any links on it?
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  2. Yes, I need downtime now more than ever. I find myself turning the radio off in the car too, it’s too much. I am having a hard time finding downtime with homeschooling and my husband working long hours. I am just praying God will help me find a solution and get a brain break. Great post!
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  3. Janet,
    Sounds like an interesting study whose results I believe we can all benefit from. We all need to spend some time in silence, away from all of the noise in the world. How else will we ever hear what the Savior is trying to say to us if we are forever participating in some form of babble?
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  4. Oh I TOTALLY agree! I cannot think or write (my primary employment) at all when there is music or TV on. I get sucked into it and lose track. I always need quiet time, and a lot of it, to process. Unfortunately, I’m married to the guy who needs the TV on from sunrise to bedtime, but we compromise!
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  5. Love this verse … I always struggle with “be still” part!!!!! Great Post!