I had taken refuge this morning in a room in the back of our house to sit and spend some time reading in 2 Corinthians. As I was reading I felt myself slowly becoming distracted as my mind wandered. Before I knew it I had my iPhone in my hand and was looking to see what new Facebook posts and tweets might have happened since I had checked it last (maybe 20 minutes ago). The first thing to hit me was the thought “Why did I even bring my phone back here?” I was not expecting an urgent call and I have nothing on my schedule today so I am pretty sure I wouldn’t miss anything had I left it somewhere else in the house. The second thought was “Why am I even checking social media? I am the least social media savvy person out there and yet this is like a drug to me.” So right then and there I made the decision that it was time to get back to basics in terms of my phone. I looked at the Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, games and other apps and I knew I had to cut down to phone, text messages and camera. That was it. So I held my finger on the Gmail app until it started shaking and then I paused. My thought this time was “It is going to be a pain if I delete this because inevitably I am just going to turn around in a few days and re-download it.” I had already lost the battle before it began!! I couldn’t believe myself as I sat there and couldn’t bring myself to delete all these apps. I just kept thinking about how I would have to spend the time reloading them all and rearranging my screen so they would all be back in the order that I like them. So what did I do? Yeah, I totally caved and then just started putting them all in a folder and moved it off the main screen. Luckily I realized that was going to be useless and was a totally uncommitted way to do this so I started to delete. I now have only the things left that Apple won’t let me take off.
Now, I know this is not a bleeding edge thing to do. There are many studies and trends going about on how the smartphone culture has killed our personal skills and ability to actually be truly social in the most basic human form. Others are undertaking this initiative as well and I think I even watched a couple videos that were posted recently on Facebook about this (through my FB iphone app of course). The additional sad part of this is the difficulty I had doing this on just my phone. I am not swearing off social media and deleting accounts or disappearing from the world. I mean, I'm in the office most days....on a computer....with internet access. I can check all these things throughout the day very easily and when at home can still use our laptop to “stay connected”.
So am I doing this for a spiritual reason? Yeah, I think it will impact that. I think simply having the ease of a distraction removed should keep my quiet time and prayer time less interrupted. Am I doing this for my marriage? I hope so. I hope it allows me to be more present in my conversations and time with Brooke. That’s if she can put her phone down long enough to realize I am talking to her :) Am I doing this for my kids? No doubt. How many times have I asked them to hold on while they were talking to me so I could finish doing whatever I was doing on my phone; too many times. Am I doing this for my health? No probably not. I deleted my fitness app.
My point in writing all this is two-fold. One to simply give you guys an update on the exciting thought processes of a missionary in South Africa. Two, is because I know if I write this and send it to each of your emails than there is an accountability level that otherwise wouldn’t have been present. So when you check in with me ask me how it is going. But be patient if it takes me a little longer to get back to you.