This has been a long time coming for me. I have felt the nudge for quite some time, but more recently I haven’t been able to let it go. My sister and I often discuss the idea of giving up our phones, especially in light of her little babe who is 8 months old and can’t help but stare at a smartphone that is within sight. My friend is a high school teacher who challenged her students and herself to fight consumerism in a variety of ways, one of which was “unplugging.” I was appalled when I heard that in China, on the day of the release of the iPhone 6, there were tailors at the Apple store to alter pocket sizes for people so the phone with fit in their pockets! And most recently I attended a conference in which the pastor spoke about letting go of the things that hinder, living “delightfully detached” in the world. That was the final nudge for me.
Now I don’t really think I am addicted to my phone. But I certainly spend way more time on it than necessary. It is not necessary to wake up and immediately check all of my social media and emails, even before getting out of bed. It is not necessary to scroll through my phone instead of looking up and smiling at the people in the check-out line with me. It is not necessary to check my Instagram every five minutes, just in case one more picture has been put up. And it is ridiculously unnecessary to feel the need to surf through Pinterest and the internet while I watch TV, an already a mindless and consuming activity. It is not necessary. (I might also note that I don’t use my phone for email or the calendar or any other really useful tools that most people use so often! So, no, it is really is not necessary.)
Again, I don’t think I am truly addicted to my phone. I must admit, though, that I was stupidly nervous about giving it up (but had to quickly let that go when the song “Addicted” was playing in the Verizon store when I went to make the switch – it was like a smack in the face). And I do not think that it is an evil tool by any means. However, I can’t deny the fact that I fear what the gross overuse of this little device is doing to our brains. Babies are immediately drawn to them in a rather scary way. Kids’ brains are developing differently, and we would be foolish to overlook or ignore the correlation with the increase in technology and screens. I am, however, just a judgmental simpleton – no scientist, by any means – so take my judgments for what they are … just judgments. (But this article gives a quick look at what is happening with kids! :))
I don’t think this step is for everyone. I think smartphones are amazing and open us up to an incredible world. For some people the technology allows them to access the world in a way that they never could before. It is truly amazing.
But for me, I want to let go of the things that hinder, the things that I don’t need. I desire to be more friendly to the strangers around me, to admire and appreciate creation without feeling the need to take a picture of it, and to let my little brain wonder about things before needing to look up the answers.
I don’t know that all of these things will happen. But I pray that this small step will in a different way open me back up to the world around me and to look to the only thing (Person) who is necessary. (And I hope I don’t eat my words in a few weeks :))
(here is the new beauty!)