It was Tuesday evening at about 9pm. I had my laptop open searching for a new house in London (to rent, obviously), in the other hand was my smartphone as I trawled through the usual cycle of endless apps. I’d also just started another episode of a hearty and uplifting Netflix series called Black Summer, a delightfully original show about a virus that turns half the world into zombies. If I was employed at the time, I’m pretty sure I’d have been checking emails too.
“I was insecure at the sight of how much more enthralling my friends’ lives seemed than my own” .
Needless to say, as the hours went by, I couldn’t find a house in our price range or anywhere near it (classic London), I was insecure at the sight of how much more enthralling my friends’ lives seemed than my own, and you’ll be surprised to know that the character development in Black Summer was quite poor and the plot one-dimensional. Somewhere in the midst of it all I somehow bought a new pair of trainers I probably don’t need. I had a headache.
I’d love to say this was a one off; It was just an evening of bad choices; I didn’t set myself up to win; three screens is too much for anyone even if you have excelled several levels in Castle Crush; I should have lit more candles. The reality is, I spent hours enviously looking at multi-million-pound mansions just for the lols, I’m embarrassed to share the screen-time statistics my iPhone keeps volunteering, and I’m now on Episode 7 and concerned by how long I’ll have to wait for Season 2. I was consumed.
“If someone was to evaluate my life… what would they suggest I’ve been truly captivated by?”
As I sat there disheartened and fairly exhausted, having actually done very little with my evening (the paradox of infinite stimulation), it all got me thinking; if someone was to evaluate my life, the ups and downs, I wonder what they would assume is most important to me? What would they suggest I’ve been truly captivated by?
I sometimes wonder if the conclusions they might draw could be somewhat startling, and yet I also have a slight suspicion that plenty of you might be able to relate to my Tuesday night experience. Addicted to the constant cycles of stimulation; our millennial right to never be bored. Silently struggling through the comparison fuelled discontent driving much of our social media usage. Exhausted in an age of consumerism in which brand after brand fuel and feed on our growing dissatisfaction, promising to satisfy eternal longings they have no answer for.
And yet, we’re called to be a people whose existence is rooted in eternity; citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20), content through all circumstances (Phil 4:11-13), our minds set not on earthly things but things above (Col 3:2), our eyes fixed on that which is eternal and unseen rather than succumbing to the assault of the seen and temporal (2 Cor. 4:18). A people not of exhaustion but a people of rest, not consumed but captivated. Captivated by the One who gave his life to save us, not just from our sin but from the hamster wheel of striving, status, and success as the foundation for identity. The only One who offers the rest and freedom that our souls desperately long for.
“…not an intimacy that transports you to a distant and ethereal world, but more firmly plants your feet in the present world; the world of flesh and blood, bruises and scars, bread and wine.”
God is calling us to be a people utterly captivated by Him. Those who have tasted what it’s like to walk in such intimacy are spoilt for anything less. Contrary to what one might think, it’s not an intimacy that transports you to a distant and ethereal world, but more firmly plants your feet in the present world; the world of flesh and blood, bruises and scars, bread and wine. Such intimacy draws us toward our families, neighbours, co-workers and strangers. Salt and light to all those who desperately need to discover they are image-bearers of God; called to something more.
As we long to live lives orientated around His presence and to take that transformative presence to a broken and hurting world, the Shift Weekend is an opportunity to step back. To retreat. To be with family and allow Jesus to speak; positioning our hearts to hear His whisper. To meet with Him and orientate our lives in response to his call. To once more lose our lives that we might find Him and watch our world change as we do so.
“Join us in rebellion against the consuming patterns of the cultural moment we find ourselves, come and root your life in the slow rhythms of grace.”
A weekend devoted to meeting beautiful like-minded people, standing with each other in the depths, yet calling one another to greater heights. Worshipping, praying, resting, eating, playing, partying. We invite you to come and be part of the family. Come and be captivated by Jesus. Enamoured with Him. Join us in rebellion against the consuming patterns of the cultural moment we find ourselves, come and root your life in the slow rhythms of grace. Come and rediscover the rest from which we’re intended to live. The answer isn’t actually another weekend away, the answer is Jesus. But sometimes it can be hard to hear when you can’t drown out the noise (of zombies).