Monday, May 1, 2023

Love Hate Relationship With My Phone

Cellphones. Love them or hate them? If I had to answer honestly, I'd say both. Sometimes I love the convenience of having my phone always with me and sometimes I don't. I love being able to receive instant messages, alerts, and phone calls. I love the quick and easy access to a pocket sized camera that takes decent photos, but I hate that my phone seems to control my life. 

Several years back, we had a house phone and our cell phones. When we were home, we could turn off our cells and rely on communication through our home phone, but that didn't last long. People began ditching their home phones to avoid an unnecessary bill and since most cable companies and cell phone providers didn't provide battery backups in case of power outages, home phones weren't what they used to be - the old timey kind that were wired in and received data from cables attached to utility poles. 

After a while, we cut the cord, too. It seemed unnecessary to have a home phone if we wouldn't be able to use it in the event of a power outage. It felt odd after we did it, kind of like we'd cut our lifeline to the world, but over time we've gotten used to the era of digital calling. 

But sometimes I feel like we worship our phones. I don't know if many would look at them as idols, but when we spend more time on them that time with God, that's exactly what they are. 

This morning, as soon as I got out of bed, I pulled my cell phone out of my nightstand drawer. I keep it there overnight with the do not disturb feature omn so I can sleep. I have it set so immediate family can still interrupt even if that feature is on, but I don't have to deal with other calls or notifications, which is a nice thing. 

After turning off the do not disturb feature, my phone instantly starts pinging with various notifications - Incoming messages, Facebook messages, news alerts, weather reports, and phone calls. I thought I'd gotten immune to the sounds, but this morning, they really bothered me. 

For one hour, I noticed how many irritations came in through my cell phone. In that brief time span, I was inundated with "stuff" (I could have said another word here, but I didn't.). I got tired of it so I turned my phone on silent and in the silence, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, "Which do you love more, God or your phone?" Whoa...There's no contest there. I love God WAY more than I could ever love a silly cell phone. Then, I felt Him saying, "Prove it." 

At that very moment, I was on the phone with my youngest daughter who calls me every morning as she's on her way to work. She's so thoughtful to call and check in on me and I appreciate it. We usually talk for about 30 minutes or more and in between the time we're on the phone and when we get off, my husband goes on his morning break at work. He always shoots me a few text messages to tell me he loves me and to check in on how I'm doing. Again, I love getting those messages, but in between talking with my daughter and receiving and replying to texts from my hubby, other notifications start coming in. A barrage of little dings and beeps keep me picking up and looking at my phone. Some days I feel like it's my tether to the world and other days I want to pitch it out the window, so I did something radical. I turned it off. 

With the phone off, I pulled out my Bible and had my quiet time, which was beautiful and sweet. I love communing with God. 

As I read His Word, I got the message loud and clear, He loves me and wants to spend time with me but sometimes, I let other things get in the way. Shame on me! 

The cell phone doesn't own me or control me and I needn't act like it does. And I shouldn't allow it to frustrate me to the point of exasperation either. It's supposed to be a useful tool at my disposal, so how did it become so much more? 

I think many have allowed their iPhones or Android devices to slowly but surely become idols in their lives. Though we may not bow down and worship them, we certainly give them more time and attention than we do God and that needs to stop immediately! 

1 John 5:21 in the Amplified version of the Bible says it so well - "Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)  - {from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life}. Amen (so let it be).  

Forgive us, Lord, for not spending as much time with You as we do on our cell phones. Help us turn off outside distractions and focus on You. Show us truths from Your Holy Word about how we are to live, love, and occupy until You come back for us one day in the very near future and help us remember, You created us to worship You and You alone. Amen.

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