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It's Good To Unplug

I realized the other day that the phone feature is actually my least favorite feature on my cell phone. Does that even make sense?

I use my cell phone for everything. I text, email, take pictures and read books. It is my flashlight, my calculator, my alarm clock and it carries my favorite music.  My handy little device reminds me of upcoming meetings and, if needed, a map to get there. I use it to pay bills, to follow what my friends are doing, to follow sports and news.  My cell phone is used to read my Bible and it distracts my kids in those tough parenting moments.  I even use it as a paper weight.   Every once in a while, I actually use my phone to make and receive phone calls.

Liz and I recently went on vacation and I decided I would try to take a “vacation” from my cell phone, as well. Those first few days, I felt like I should have checked myself into a treatment center. I couldn’t believe how often I reached for my absent phone in my pocket. I started having withdrawal because I didn’t know the exact temperature every moment of the day. It took two days before I stopped reaching for my phone and on day three, I noticed I had significantly relaxed. We had a great vacation, lots of laughing, lots of fun, but I think the decision to put down my cell phone truly helped me relax.

I was talking about this with a group of High School students and was surprised by how animated and opinionated everyone was about cell phone use. We were all able to see the benefits of cell phones, but I was surprised that everyone was also able to see the downside. Many of the students admitted their cell phone was the last thing they looked at when they went to sleep and the first thing they looked at when they woke up. Ultimately, we were all able to agree that unlimited access isn’t always a good thing.

So, why would you limit yourself when unlimited is available? This is a question we should all take time to ponder for our own life. This is greater than just cell phone use. Our culture is as busy as we’ve ever been and the amount of things to distract us is at an all-time high.  When unlimited options are placed in front of you, it takes real self-control to limit yourself, but the benefits are worth it.

There are numerous Scripture verses on the importance of stillness. How do we listen to the Father if we are always distracted or have somewhere to go? How do we witness and interact with His beautiful creation if we are always staring at a screen or running to our next appointment?  I still love my cell phone (and, for the sake of irony, I typed some of this newsletter on my phone), but I’ve been reminded of the importance of limiting myself, being still, and listening to the Father instead of Siri.