“Everyone’s on their phones,” I mused as I stood in line at the check-out counter. “I wonder how it must have been a few decades ago when people had no phones to fill every spare minute. Did they actually talk to each other?”
The next day one of my kids says, “Mom, you’re on your phone so much of the time.”
Ack. He’s right. My first i-phone was a great luxury compared to the small phones I’d always owned previously. I love people, and it’s a great way to stay in touch with those I love the world over.
It’s also a great way to loose touch with those I love in my own house. In my small town. In the line at the grocery store and post office.
Just last week I navigated snowy roads with a rented car and four kids, twisting through curvy roads to a place in Ohio I’d never been. I was so grateful for Google maps as I crept along, holding my breath as we threatened to slip. In that moment, my phone was nothing short of goodness.
But hey. If I’m consumed by this good thing, I actually fall short of goodness consuming me.
Because it’s more important to give people your undivided attention than your unlimited time. Where ever you are, be all there.
It’s more important to make time for your friends than to take even more hours for your favorite show.
More important to invite people into your home than to sit in your home with your mind out of it completely.
People rush home from Sunday services with more thought of the screen than they have of the hurting lives surrounding them all morning.
Everywhere, there are silent people begging for an ear. But they are silent, and it is up to us to find them, love them, live life with them.
And when you’re taken with screen life, you’re likely discouraged with your own very real life. Few things in real life flash as quickly and engagingly as a film.
And few women look as beautiful as the actress. Few men as buff and handsome as the actors—and few of them as “perfect” when it comes to loving a woman.
Screen life can make forbidden love look sweet, and committed love look sour.
It can feed attitudes more than refine them, and cause us to be restless more than resourceful.
My little boy’s screen time can pick momentum ever so slightly, and before I know it, I have a child on my hands who wants nothing but to sit and stare rather than run and do.
Addictions come in many forms, and we have one on our hands. We are trading many good things in real life for a glorified, unrealistic picture flashing before us so quickly it sucks us right out of pursuing good for our own lives.
Depression and constant screen hovering often seems to go hand in hand. When there’s little to your own life, you want to find it in some one else’s. What would God want to give you if you pursued your own good thing, instead?
The screen also offers alternative sex in the form of pornography. Ladies, don’t be confused—the grief you feel over this one is justified because what happens with a stranger on a screen is a hidden form of cheating. Your heart says so because it is not more right to cheat in hidden places on a screen, than to cheat with a person in front of you.
The screen steals time away from couples and offers an easy emotional or sexual fix where there’s no work involved—just a high dose of “feel good”. And then the repercussions of emotional distance, hypocrisy, and betrayal with your own spouse.
And with social media spouses can reach out to anyone, at anytime, for a fix for their loneliness rather than ask themselves why they’re in a lonely place. What do your relationships need, and why are they suffering?
We are in an epidemic, but there’s a cure. Use wisdom. Say no before it happens. Refuse to engage on your phone in ways you wouldn’t engage in person (especially right in front of your spouse).
If you have to hide anything, it’s not worth doing. If you have to hide your phone, it’s not worth having.
If you hide your own life in exchange for watching anothers, try to make your own worth living instead!
Look at the one face next to you rather than the thousand faces smiling at you across the globe. That smiling face wasn’t happy all day, either. Judging relationships by on-line perfection is unfair and damaging to your own very real, struggling spouse, kids, and life.
Look into their faces, and look away from the screen. They will love you for it!
Pick up a book and fill your soul. Invite a friend over and create space for relationships. Say no to constant texting of the opposite sex so your heart is ready to engage fully with your spouse. Find your deepest needs met there, and with God.
The world is on a major hunt for a cure for cancer, but cancer is not the only epidemic. How will we fight this alternate reality so we can create a better reality for our own lives?