Leaving Our Phones in the Truck
We’ve been traveling with our little house-on-wheels for 16 months. All of our possessions travel with us. It’s great – everything we need is close-at-hand. We don’t pack a suitcase; we just pack up our 5th wheel and go!
Technology provides a similar convenience for everyone.
If your smartphone is at hand, then every contact, email, map, Pinterest idea, eBook, photo, game, etc., is available. Your phone also makes it easy to connect with people at every moment of every day. Just send a text. Or Instagram it. Blab or Snapchat. Tweet a question or update a Facebook status. People are listening and watching.
When was the last time you were without your phone?
When wasn’t it on your hip, in your purse or bag, or even with you in your vehicle? Can’t remember? We imagine you’re like us – your phone is always with you. You’re taking notes, researching, or capturing the moment, aren’t you?
And sometimes you’re more involved with that phone, than real-life companions.
Don’t feel bad – we get it.
This person is not really available.
We read an insightful article from The New York Times regarding smartphones and the consequences of connectivity to a world everywhere but in front of us.
A particular paragraph made a huge impact:
"Studies of conversation both in the laboratory and in natural settings show that when two people are talking, the mere presence of a phone on a table between them or in the periphery of their vision changes both what they talk about and the degree of connection they feel. People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted. They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us."
So, even though a conversation might be happening, it’s not as deep or meaningful as it might be if your phone is visible.
What do you think?
Could this be true in your marriage? When you and your spouse talk, where is your phone? What about when your kids are in the room with you – is your phone put away? You’re influencing others – as a leader are you leading as deeply as you could be?
Are you available?
When we are traveling, our phones are always within arm’s reach. Lori often posts “road” photos to our Instagram feed. Sometimes she’s more absorbed in enhancing the photo on the phone, than looking out the window at the passing scenery.
And Robert always hands his phone over to Lori to respond to an email or text. (He’s driving, so he dictates what he wants to say, and Lori does the typing.) Or he’s arguing with the Garmin GPS over a destination route, as he consults with his Google Maps app route on his phone…
What’s worse, is when we go into a restaurant for a bite to eat, or have a picnic at a rest-stop, the phones come with us.
Maybe we need to leave our phones in the truck!
Yes, we’re always available to everyone else – but not always to each other.
That New York Times article made a big impact on us. Even though we have been together in person every day, all week, for the last 16 months, sometimes we are more available to the outside world than we are to each other. We can and do talk – but are our conversations as deep as they could be?
What about our availability to God – could hearing the Holy Spirit’s still, small voice be a problem because of this connectivity disease?
Put away your phone. Or leave it in your vehicle and walk away. Take a moment to consider your life, and your relationship with your connected devices…
Are you available to hear from God?
How’s your availability for God to speak to you during your time of prayer and solitude? As those who want to lead like Jesus, we need a strong, uninterrupted, full connection to our source of strength and wisdom.
A question for you to consider: Where is your phone during your times of prayer and solitude?
By Robert and Lori Ferguson
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