Published in 2019
Netflix’s recent production Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is unique in that it that is the first interactive movie – allowing the viewer to make a choice at several intervals as to what the lead character will do next and how the story ends.
It cleverly questions how much control we really have over our lives and highlights how even the most banal of decisions may have unforeseen consequences. It could also be construed to be subtly underplaying our responsibility on how our lives turn out: implying that our choices are so constrained by outside forces that we are all just victims of our culture, genetics and upbringing.
It challenged me to think about the choices I make each day – starting with the very first one. When I wake up do I choose to reach for my phone to check the Goggle news feed or do I reach for my Bible to have a quiet time?
It is so often more appealing to palm my phone and quickly catch up on the latest trends and stories, check the weather and see if anyone has contacted me. If I do that though, chances are that the opportunity to spend time with God that morning will be lost in the midst of the 15 latest health tips or newest diatribe against Trump.
However, I have found that that first choice determines my orientation for the day. Reaching for my phone means I will be focused on the gossip, tragedies and crime; and go into my day feeling overwhelmed by the world’s problems, by confusion at what is or is not fake news and how helpless I am in the face of it all. It makes me pessimistic and worried. I can see how easy it would be to fall into on-going depression.
However if I spend time reading the Bible and praying, it gives me a glimpse of God’s perspective, reminding me that He is in control, working out His plans and purposes in the world, and that He has good things planned for me to do that day. It reminds me that I am loved, that my life has meaning, and that regardless of what happens in this life, I can look forward to the perfection of heaven.
Sometimes, during my quiet time, I feel convicted of things I need to deal with or people I should contact, or I get a creative solution to a problem I’ve been nutting out. As a result, I enter the day calmer, more focussed and better able to deal with setbacks and frustrations.
By seeking God’s perspective first, it also makes me kinder to others, seeing them as His beloved creation, and it makes me more tolerant, remembering that we are all lost and broken, desperately in need of the wholeness that comes only from knowing Jesus.
So if you are in need of peace and perspective, may I suggest you start the day with the God of the Bible? It will likely inform all the rest of your day’s decisions.