When was the last time you went without your mobile phone?

Two weeks ago I went on holidays.  I decided to bring my iPhone with me with the idea that once it dies, I won’t recharge it until I get home. Over the course of two weeks I realized how attached…addicted I was to my phone.

Looking back, it was sad how much I was on my phone.  I feel like I have lost moments with my wife and kids.  Moments I won’t get back.  All of those moments wasted for what?  Checking Facebook, or instagram?

Last week, I was listening to a podcast by Timothy Ferris, and he was talking about being productivity.  The best way he described to be productive is to turn off the iPhone for one day a week.  I think he called it the digital reset.  It got me thinking about how technology is shaping us, and forming us.  Whether you like it or not, we are being changed and moulded by the devices we use, and the apps we use.  We need to be intentional about taking breaks from things that are consuming so much of our creative time.

Losing Control

I have been reading a book by Timothy Keller called, “Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters“.  He states in his book what an idol is, ““When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshiping.”   It struck me how we are being controlled by technology.  It isn’t helping us, it is controlling us.

The real question is who is in control.  Are you in control of the device you are using?  Or is it controlling you?  Is your iPhone an absolute requirement for happiness and self worth?

In Exodus 20 God spoke to his people about how they should live,

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

God is calling us to put him first, and to have nothing else in our life that would be the absolute thing that brings us joy.  God wants a relationship with us, but our self worth and identity is being built on other things.

Personally, I struggle with my iPhone.  The struggle is that I need it for work today in a digital world.  But, I am realizing how much I need to put it away and really see my family and life.  I need to be in control of my technology, and make sure it isn’t the other way.  This means taking a break once a week from my digital devices.  My brain needs rest from the digital landscape we are in.

Modeling Behaviour

How many students do you work with who’s life requirement is to have a smart phone and to be connected in a digital world?  Most of the students I work with need their phones.  It’s what brings them joy, and sorrow.  The students I work with need another way.

They need to see me defeat my idols in my life.  They need to see me leave my cell phone in the car, or at home.  They deserve my complete attention.  And I need to model to students how dangerous it can be when digital devices don’t help your life, but hinder it.

Have you thought how you are modelling to students how to use digital devices while following Jesus?

We need margin to rest, and to give our brains a digital reset.  We need more that just a day a week, but to be honest that is a great starting place.

Putting the phone down once a week has made me realize that I don’t really need it.

  • I wouldn’t say I need it to be happy or feel a sense of self worth, though that may be true for teens and preteens. Really, I can’t go a day without it because I don’t have numbers memorized and I always use the GPS… I’ve been meaning to schedule a completely unplugged vacation for myself, but like I said, I would need a GPS to even do that, to get around a completely unknown place for a week… but thanks so much for this post. It has spurred me on to be more serious about my thoughts and not let them be fleeting. We all need time without the internet and phones and whatever else. Blessings!

    • Thanks for stopping by Vanessa. It is hard to put our devices down. Especially if we rely on them for everything!

  • The Lord has really started to work on me in this matter, so thanks for the encouragement. Last month my family went camping (my wife and 5 kids) and the place we were staying had no cell data. The first couple hours I noticed that I was literally having physical signs of withdraw! I began to pray about my terrible attitude; irritation with my kids, inability to relax, repeatedly checking my phone hoping the data genie would appear and sprinkle data dust over my phone!

    I soon realized the root of my irritation and sought the Lord about my idol. By the next morning I could really tell a difference. I slowed done and was able to enjoy my kids, relax in a long conversation with my wife, and just be…just to be. Since that time I have made every effort to put the phone (and computer) away on saturday and sunday. After 4 weeks I am amazed at the difference. I think the Lord is often telling us just to rest in him, sadly though we have somewhat forgotten how. Thanks!

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