On Wednesday night the unthinkable happened – I shattered my iPhone 8 Plus by leaving it on the roof of my car as I drove home. Needless to say, the first turn dislodged it from the rain track over the driver’s door and it hit the pavement, where it was promptly run over by another car. Can you say smithereens? I retrieved the poor missile – but it was destroyed.
My insurance carrier needs five days to replace the phone. The accident happened on Wednesday – I won’t have the replacement until Monday. So what to do when I am attached by a virtual umbilicus to a dead phone? Wait. Impatiently, to be sure. And learn… what it means to converse, to give undivided attention, to listen. I guess I thought I was doing those things – but now I realize that I was merely going through the motions.
I’ve always loved technology. From the first transistor radio I received for my twelfth birthday to my now-defunct iPhone, I am in love with the communication aspect of electronic devices. I love texting, emailing, talking, Googling, reading, listening to music, podcasts, etc… in short, I enjoy my phone. But it has taken a toll on my relationships.
One friend asked if I was going to carry my phone down the aisle when hubby and I recently had our marriage blessed by the Church. Sheesh! I didn’t know I was so inextricably attached. Another friend commented that she knew I ALWAYS have my phone on my person.
Between reading emails, checking Facebook, looking at my bank account, and casual surfing, I probably spend a solid two to three hours a day on my phone. That’s crazy! We didn’t even have cell phones until I was in my thirties. Now I can’t live without one? I know – I need it for the calendar and texting with colleagues and friends. But do I really need to be tethered 24/7?
I’m thinking NOT. So how do I extricate myself from this addiction? Yes, it’s an addiction. I have withdrawals. I find myself looking for my phone – which is on the table in all it’s smashed glory. I keep thinking, “Oh, I should call this friend or that.” My fingers itch to be texting. My attention is looking for a media fix!
I guess I knew I was attached to my phone. Now that I know how serious the affliction is, it seems an action plan is in order. First order of action – set a schedule for making and returning calls. Second order – don’t install unnecessary software or apps on the new phone. Finally – put the phone down and forget about it when chatting in person.
I wish my connection to God were as robust as my connection to my phone. Don’t get me wrong – I love Jesus and pray often. But my attraction to God seems to be lesser than my attraction to things electronic. I know this because when given a choice of praying or playing a game on my phone, the phone usually wins.
I am ashamed to admit this but, I’ve become a sound-bite prayer. That means I pray in short bursts instead of having conversations with Jesus. It took having no phone to realize this fact. I’ve become more impatient, not less. More agitated, not calmer. My attention is scattered.
So while I’m waiting for the replacement device to be delivered, I am reviewing my relationship with electronics. Since it is interferring with my relationship with God, something has to change. Part of the problem is having everything on my phone.
My prayer books, reading materials, research resources, games, email, texts, social media – everything I use is located on my phone, which is always with me. I think it’s time to carve out a reasonable amount of time to be on the phone for personal pleasure and limit my use of the device to business for the rest of the time.
I suspect I will feel cranky and out of sorts for a while. I also suspect that the God I have been neglecting will meet me more than half way as I return my attention to Him and His communication with me. For this I am grateful.
I wrote this for those of you who are likewise tethered to your phones. I feel your pain at the thought of breaking the connection or even moderating it. For me, the fellowship of Jesus is worth the pain. I’ll let you know how the battle goes in the future.