How My Smartphone is Replacing God
- March 09, 2019
- Lori Travers
Modern technology is an intriguing monster. What exactly was life like pre-Smartphone/laptops/social media/Google/instant answers to burning questions??
Raising children within the brackets of the information age has squeezed me just enough into its wiry mold to comply with its demands. I clearly remember glaring at the woman chatting away in the dairy aisle on her flip phone and casting severe judgment in my mind for her obvious lack of societal manners. Two years later I found myself making mental excuses as to why I need to finish this “important” conversation with a friend while shopping for comparatively healthy yogurt. It’s no longer rude??
There was a time when I would call a friend when I had worrisome symptoms and we’d simply talk and pray the issue though. Now I Google said symptoms, trading in a comforting voice for 3.1 million websites of sheer terror.
In the olden days (10 years back, or so?) I would respond to a troubling text with words that expressed deep emotional care. Now I find myself searching through the myriads of GIFS to uncover just the right one that can express what I did not say (?!?!)
I’ve become a pro at voice texting, replete with speaking out proper punctuation. But now when leaving an actual voice mail, I have to stop myself from speaking out the punctuation, i.e., “Hi Kathy exclamation point….” Yeah, weird and embarrassing.
I habitually glance at my Smartphone 50+ times per day just in case something new happens that I might miss and if I leave it home after exiting my neighborhood, a slow, sick, low-grade panic starts to set in until I return and rescue the little critter from the confines of the kitchen countertop. Every word, news item, schedule, Facebook/Instagram/Twitter account, email, what’s the whole world up to?? occupies my mind, while simultaneously pushing out any God thought. The swirling information whirlwind overload keeps me from processing anything clearly. Rather than experiencing a “word” from the Lord, I’ve become distracted, unfocused, and more filled with cares than Holy Spirit. Not to mention my sense of identity caught up in “likes” and supportive comments, how many Happy Birthday wishes I got, and does anybody out there care about what I wrote??? Sheer exhaustion keeping up with all of it.
So how do we escape this gripping monster? I don’t see a trail out of these thick woods. It IS the culture’s means of navigation, communication, and information. Going back to basics might be a smart way to outsmart the phone. We can start with ridding of all the beeps, pings, and dings for every notification on every app. Or how about leaving the phone in the office when we go to lunch? Going to dinner with a loved one would be so much lovelier without the germy gadgets sitting on the table next to your chicken piccata. And how about savoring the moment without the necessity of 75 angled shots of a frustrated subject? Maybe we can go back to praying about an illness, a problem, a decision without scrolling feverishly, demanding answers from an inanimate screen. And just for sheer enjoyment maybe pick up the phone to use it to call someone you love, using your words, of course (don’t we remind our kids to use their words when they are struggling along with life, to help them express what’s within them in order to relieve the stress?). Or better yet, sit down with a pen and paper (blank card?), and write a letter to an unsuspecting loved one just to express the goodness you perceive in their lives.
My precious time, in awareness of the awesomeness of God and His divine qualities, has waned. I want it back! This idol is indeed mocking me, sitting here on my desk as I write these thoughts down. “Check your email…Facebook is waiting for you…Did you overlook a text response today…You ought to see what the weather will be like for the next 7 days…Messenger has 3 people waiting for a response…”
It’s not going away on its own. I must own it. Information is a bottomless pit that desires to suck me into its mire, leaving no room for spiritual growth. Exactly how smart to I need to be?
While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jer. 33:-3)
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:2-3)
What more do I need to know?