When You Have Your Best Friend in Your Hip Pocket

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Have you ever thought about how much time you spend on your smartphone or tablet? Are you missing out on the present?

I had finished an amazing dinner and plopped down on our overstuffed sofa to catch up with one of my best friends. We talked about each other’s recent travels, projects we were working on, and I was laughing about an awkward moment that had occurred to him the week before when I heard my mom’s voice chiming out in the background. Assuming she was speaking to someone else, I didn’t think anything about it until suddenly . . .

“Hey Beecher, are you okay with that? I think that’s the best plan for tomorrow.”

Oh no. I’m sure the blank look on my face communicated that I had no idea what my mom was talking about. I had completely missed it. And my excuse about being “deep in conversation with a friend” wouldn’t cut it. Why? Because my “friend” was 2.5” wide and 6” tall and had a glass screen. Bummer.

If you guessed the friend that I’m talking about was my phone, you would be correct. (If you thought that I just have tiny leprechaun friends who wear glasses, I won’t judge. I wish I did have those.) I was so caught up in hearing “the latest” that I had missed out on the present.

Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on your smartphone or tablet? I know I have. So I turned to Google. A study conducted by a firm in California puts the minutes-per-day spent on a mobile device at 194. That’s over THREE HOURS! (It’s in all caps because I’m shouting it.) We wake up with our technology. Take walks with it. Eat with it. And go to bed with it. Excuse me, but that’s like being married to our phone! Social media, texts, emails; they all call our name constantly. No wonder our relationships are suffering. Can you imagine if we took half the time we spent on our phones and developed face-to-face relationships?

Now, let me confess. If you’ve been reading this thinking, Yeah, I know I spend too much time with my electronics, but what do I do about it? I’m right there with you. But I’ve come up with a short list of action steps we can take to help us put our phones down and focus on the person/project in front of us.

1. Pray

The only “inner strength” you have to draw from to enable you to stop picking up the phone nonstop is Christ’s strength in you. First Chronicles 16:11 tells us to “look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face continually.” This is the automatic first step we should take.

2. Go to the Bible

Just like prayer will help you in your fight to put down your phone, the Bible speaks to the issue (by the way, did you know tablets were first heard of in the Bible times?! Check out Exodus 31:18) as well. The first commandment (Exodus 20:3) says, “You shall have no other gods before me.” When devices interfere with our relationship with God, it qualifies as an idol. Here is a list of other encouraging verses about depending on the Lord:

  • Psalm 145:18
  • Romans 8:26
  • Isaiah 26:4
  • Philippians 4:19
  • Exodus 14:14

3. Take a Phone Fast

This is pretty simple. Don’t look at your phone between certain hours of the day or on a certain day of the week. This will reveal just how much your phone means to you.

4. Pursue Face-to-Face Real Relationships

Sometimes it’s more comfortable to simply sit back with your phone and relax. There’s no one to bother you with questions or worry about taking care of. But we don’t make an impact on the world by sitting back and withdrawing from relationships. We can only be a real influence on people when we get out there and make friends, deepen relationships, and experience real life outside our own private retreat.

Technology isn’t evil or bad in and of itself. It’s just how we use it that makes it a negative thing. You can take friendships only so far over text or email. If you want your relationships to go deep, at some point you need to spend time face to face. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of love by laying down His life for us. First John 3:16 says this:

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

Here’s something to think about: How will friendships developed exclusively over the phone ever give us the opportunity to deny ourselves for someone else? We show we care when we’re truly interested and involved with the person or project in front of us. You may have heard the quote, “Wherever you are, be all there.” Well, we’re doing exactly that by not allowing a piece of glass to come between us and real-life relationships.

If our technology vanished, how strong would our relationships be? Would we be okay if our devices vanished one day, or would we panic? Is our identity found in our phones and how many followers I have on social media, or is it found in the only place I will ever truly be satisfied: Jesus Christ?

Written by Beecher Proch

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