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How many of you just have to check your phone when you hear or feel a notification? Or perhaps you just check it in case you missed something. Have you ever checked Facebook to only close down the app to reopen it, I suppose to find something new but leave empty handed?
Have you considered a Phone’s Mission Statement?
Let me continue, are you in control of your phone or is it in control of you? Marshal Segal at Desiring God said (This is where I got this idea from, by the way), “Our phones used to be a means to relationship, a means to work, a means to ministry. The iPhone suddenly made the means an end — or perhaps better, a means to me.” He then proceeds to recommend a mission statement for your phone (Be sure to check out his blog post).
Do we demand others to respond back immediately when we text them? Do we expect to have notifications every 5 minutes or so? When we are out with friends, do we have the need to check our mobile devices in case there is a notification that needs to be responded to?
How did we get from our phones being a tool to be used to now phones demanding our time and attention?
How Did We Get Here
I’ve written about my concern with phones in the past, click here. It starts with assuming others are just as connected as us.–Why wouldn’t they be?
Perhaps it is from Social Media where we live for likes, hearts, retweets, etc. Has this popularity become an idol? Perhaps it makes us feel needed? Whatever it is, is it good?
“In the digital age, we idolize our phones when we lose the ability to ask if they help us (or hurt us) in reaching our spiritual goals. We grow so fascinated with technological glitz that we become captive to the wonderful means of our phones — their speed, organization, and efficiency — and these means themselves become sufficient ends. Our destination remains foggy because we are fixated on the speed of our travel. We mistakenly submit human and spiritual goals to our technological possibilities. This is reverse adaptation.” (12 Ways Your Phone is Changing you, by Tony Reinke)
My Phone’s Mission Statement
The thought of not having a phone sounds exciting but also gives me anxiety. Yet, I am exciting to start the transition out of my phone addiction problem. The process will take time, but I am excited! Before I continue, my phone’s mission statement:
From this day forth, you will work for me. You will not demand my attention. You are a tool to an end. Your purpose is to assist me in communicating with others, snap some memories (some, not all), and for enjoyment without interring with my responsibilities as a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. My purpose is to enjoy God and you (my phone) shall not interfere.
Well, it’s a start. Starting today, I will be limiting my phone usage. It’s a scary thought but I will not be dependent on my phone anymore. I’ll be using my phone as an alarm and will check my phone select times throughout the day (In the morning right before work, on my way home from work (perhaps during lunch), and after my daughters go to bed). However, checking it does not mean always on it.
The point is not just to limit the phone but to replace the attention this dumb phone currently claims with something else. That something else is spending time with my family, demonstrating that my phone is not more important than my family, and to enjoy life by not always being connected (Won’t that be great?)!
♦ In what ways have you disciplined yourself with your cell phone use?