Ever feel like choosing to drop out for a while, trying to escape reality and attempting to live a bit of life in a bubble? Feeling like running away from life's pressures and challenges is normal. Only if you make it an endless proposition can it become a problem.
Opting out too often can lead to disastrous results.
Remember that movie account of the young man who had to keep away from all the germs and health threats in life, so he was wrapped inside a kind of protective balloon? They called him the "Boy in the Bubble." On the surface, it can seem attractive at times.
There are also some people in life we might want to put into a bubble… those over-exposed, cranky, just not-fun-to-be-around types. But in today's 24/7 media culture, even those people get their own reality TV shows, so we can't get away from them. "Snooki" comes to mind, bless her heart. So much for setting them aside, out of sight and out of mind.
I'll admit that when I travel, I have a variety of "bubble measures" to deploy. When boarding a crowded airplane I'm usually very eager to get seated and then quickly try to tune out what's around me. I'm ready to put on headphones, open a book or turn on my Nook device to read and take myself away from the uncomfortable nature of the flying sardine cans or cattle cars we all experience.
On arrival at a hotel, I hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door so I won't be bothered when I'm prepping for meetings and events. As much as I enjoy good service, I can turn down my own bed, thank you. Just give me a little privacy, please.
We all do this kind of thing, sometimes without even knowing it. Again, such mini-escapes can be good and necessary at times, but aren't we doing too much "intentional tuning out" these days? With everything going on in our world—decisions and events that determine our future waiting for attention—shouldn't we be more in sync with what's happening? I'm in the news business, and I know I can never get enough information.
With new smart phone technology, many of us wander around town with ear buds in place, monitoring our music playlists and other audio streams such as our beloved radio podcasts. If we're not careful, however, we can wander into accidents just waiting to happen.
Numerous news reports this year have highlighted people's getting into trouble when they're absorbed with what's playing in their headphones. Cell phones have also become the hottest item for hit-and-run criminals to steal, grabbing the valuable devices while the owner's oblivious to his or her surroundings.
One famous video shows a person falling into an open manhole on the street while consumed by her iPod. Another features a woman walking full speed ahead until she tumbles into a reflective pool and water fountain. Even worse cases involve tragic and yet avoidable life-and-death consequences.
Operating on snooze
Sometimes I think too many of us believe the world is one big alarm clock. Just like when checking into a hotel and calling the front desk for a morning wake-up call, we believe we can call all the shots. We'll awake on our schedule and assume we can just hit the snooze button when we don't want to participate. Then we have the audacity to request a follow-up alarm.
God has a knack for making us take notice when we get too busy building our own bubbles in life. He can allow new surprises and challenges to help us refocus on more important things, like centering our lives upon Him. Unless we take a moment to see the bigger picture, we may assume His attention-getters are merely "coincidental." Blessings and answers to prayer are ignored.
Right now there are alarms ringing all over America, and around the world. There is no shortage of news that often shocks us back to reality, popping our protective bubbles. Whether it's an unbelievable crime down the street or terrorist attacks around the world, it's clear that the forces of evil are on the march. God's in control, but Satan is having a field day. He is making progress when we are too distracted or too immersed in our selective detachment to pay attention or even care.
As Election Day draws near, I'm very concerned that too many of us have decided to spend more time separated from current events.
Some of the smartest people I know have expressed frustration with candidates and issues and threaten to opt out of the process. Some even claim they'll just stay home and not vote on Nov. 6.
There's too much on the line right now for us to hit the snooze button and ignore the ringing alarms. And as we do at hotels upon checkout, it's important to remember to "settle our accounts." These are days that require all of us to be prayerfully alert, embracing our responsibilities as citizens—and keeping our personal "accounts" up to date with God.
Larson is a veteran Southern California radio/television personality and media consultant. He can be heard daily in San Diego on KCBQ 1170AM from 6 to 9 a.m. and on KPRZ 1210AM from 2 to 4 p.m. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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