Last week, I read an article in which the author admitted to an unhealthy, destructive relationship. He could see the potential that relationship had to destroy not only his marriage, but his relationship with God, so he was ready to end it. The culprit? His cell phone.
I felt a stab of conviction. That same day, I'd had lunch with friends. After Instagramming our meal, we were all bent over our iPhones taking a “Which Disney Princess Are You?” quiz. You know, important stuff. A guy from our team approached us, and when he saw what we were doing he laughed out loud. He said that he didn’t come up to us earlier because we looked so serious and quiet he thought we must have been praying together. If only.
I can’t remember the last time I sat down with my roommates without Snapchatting, BBMing, or watching YouTube videos while trying to carry on a conversation. This is a problem — and I don’t think it is just mine. My iPhone is my main connection to family members who live thousands of kilometres away, but if I’m being honest, that’s not really all I use my phone for.
I can try to justify it all I want, but no matter how many apps I keep in my “Prayer & Scripture” category, my iPhone eats up time I could be spending with God much more often than it encourages it.
The reality is that my phone — and most technology — has become a way to avoid reality. It protects me from the awkwardness of silence when I meet strangers. It keeps my head down instead of looking up into the sunset as I walk to the bus stop. It keeps me from looking into the eyes of potential friends (or ACTUAL friends) when I go out. I have begun to wonder how many people I haven’t met because I’ve had my nose stuck in my online dating apps as I sit in coffee shops where I might meet — gasp — real people who have things in common with me!
My iPhone sucks me into a selfish land of me-time: if the point of a phone is to communicate with others, then why am I ignoring all those notifications from iMessage so that I can keep sliding jewels and candies around mindlessly?!
This year, I am divorcing Candy Crush. I’m divorcing Plenty of Fish and OKCupid and Pinterest and Vine because I want to spend time meeting people face to face, decorating my own room, flipping through cooking magazines with my roommates, and creating hilarious memories that will last much longer than 7 seconds (or even the life of my battery).
I’m following Jarrid’s advice and divorcing my mePhone this year. Will you do the same?
Control how you use your phone, and stop allowing your phone to control you. Take a couple minutes to scroll through your apps and consider which ones might be especially distracting when it comes to your relationships. Muster up your strength and delete your virtual vices!
Give yourself limitations as to when and where your phone can be used. For instance, I’m going to reduce the likelihood of my untimely death by keeping my phone in my purse as I walk down the busy street to my office, and keeping it tucked away when I go for coffee with my friends after church on Sunday.
Try spending parts of your weekends unplugged, offline, and away from all your mobile devices. Use your phone to call up a few friends to come over for a board game or a jam session and then stash it.
When you come back online, let us know how it’s going in the comments section below!