Perhaps with a quick confession.
I have an obsession.
With my phone.
It is so easy for me to be with my children, and have my head down, eyes squinted tight, fingers locked in... on my phone. I hear the notification sounds from a far... the pop, the buzz, the ring... text messages, social media, email... and I respond instantly. Often times, hushing my children so that I may communicate with someone else. I'm a classic case for the phone addicted mom, who is slowly clicking her child's life away.
Now apparently, I'm not the first. Hey, I've read the articles. I've watched the videos. I've seen the special reports. And everyone is warning against such obsession. Challenges are being made, calling for citizens to "unplug" from the over-stimulated society. Phones are being put down. Social media accounts are deactivated... Yes, people are dealing with the fruit of the issue!
But for me, it's still juuuuust a tad different. A little deeper.
God is calling me to deal with its root. You see, the phone is not a sinful object. The issue is with me. Why am I so obsessed with my phone?!
I had to sit down and actually answer that question. On paper. And here's what I discovered:
My flesh naturally desires to be satisfied with these things. My phone feeds the desires. Yet, like a greedy monster, the desires are never satisfied. And I'm always longing for more. Therefore I reach ... for my phone.
Now get this - these are not sinful desires. (And keep in mind, the phone is not a sinful object.) In fact, I think the need to communicate, feel loved, laugh, and simply have fun are very indicative of my personality! That's just kinda who I am. The problem is that I have replaced a legitimate desire with something that cannot satisfy me fully. I've diverted my attention. I've become distracted. I've created a god.
You could have never told me that I would become one of these phone-crazed people. I would have never believed you if you said I would be the one waking up and grabbing my phone first... or falling asleep with it in the bed... or going back to the house just to get it for a 2-minute trip... NO!! Not me!!!
So how did I get here? Very simply... I crossed some personal boundaries. Boundaries that I initially saw as necessary, (knowing my bend toward social butterfly mania!!) Boundaries that were designed to keep me in control. But somewhere along the line, I made a compromise. And before I knew it... yup... my phone was in my bed!!! (EEEEEK!!!)
Now let's rewind to 2010... when I got my first smart phone:
1. No phone (socially) before 10am
2. No phone (socially) on Wednesday or Sunday
2. No phone (socially) on Wednesday or Sunday
To put this in some perspective, at the time I was teaching Wednesday Night Teen Bible Study, and ministering in music during Sunday morning worship. I wanted to ensure that there was nothing to distract me (unnecessarily) on these 2 days. And notice, I'm talking about personal boundaries, not Biblical mandates. I'm not sure where I veered off first... Perhaps checking Facebook early one Monday morning... or logging on right after worship service on Sunday afternoon. Maybe I saw it as no big deal to meander my Newsfeed during Thursday choir rehearsal... or just plug in while outside on the playground with my kids. I truly don't know. But what I do know is that one compromise lead to another. And to my shame, the result is an obsession.
Obsession... with anything... makes that thing... a god.
See, that's why this whole issue means more to me than a simple 40-day "phone fast". Whether I want to admit it or not... no matter how much I dress it up... or make it sound pretty... at the end of the day, my phone is ruling my life. I have made this thing a god!!
Now allow me to take a quick rabbit trail. Anything... anything... anything... that is put before Almighty God... is an idol god. Material possessions, the "gotta have its", body image, sex, money, people, career, education, even ministry... you name it! If it rules, it is a god. And we must constantly examine ourselves, if we want to be effective for the kingdom.
Though the list is endless, I am going to give you a few that can sneak in there, and can be especially dangerous in the life of a mother... (or at least this mother!)
- Feelings... Whenever I operate according to my feelings, and I allow my emotions to rule me, as opposed to the truth of God's Word... then my feelings become god.
- Children... Whenever I put the needs of my children before my God-ordained marriage, making my children more important than my husband, then my children become god (This is particularly tricky when it comes to meeting the needs of young children. However, let me tell you, keeping my husband first has provided pure blessing!)
- Food... Whenever I run to the kitchen (or to my private snack stash!) to satisfy a particular feeling (usually that of stress, anxiety, fear, or frustration)... then my food becomes god.
I'll stop there. Because if you're like me, with the Holy Spirit living within you, He will show you whatever it is He wants you to see!
For some, drastic measures need to take place - especially if there is sin involved. For others, a modification of some sort may be in order. Again, allow the work of the Holy Spirit to freely reveal what it is you are to do. Otherwise, the danger is that you and I will continue to mindlessly drift... from one thing to the next.. perhaps replacing one ill-fit god with yet another... seeking to be satisfied, yet never fulfilled.
For me, the goal (in this case) is not to eliminate, but rather to learn how to carefully operate. Very simply, I must return to the safety measures that were in place, which carefully guarded my time. Then I must be intentional about pursuing my love relationship with Jesus. For the more I'm with Him, the more I will desire Him. I must sit at His feet. (Oh.... to just linger in His presence!) Then, will I be satisfied... and thirst no more.
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.