Today I would like to share a guest post from the authors of the book Shiny Things, which I was privileged to be on the book launch team for.
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I sat contentedly, tucked back into the restaurant booth—the perfect spot for a romantic date with my husband with just enough visibility to people watch (one of my favorite pastimes). Whereas the words between us seem to bounce back-and-forth like a Ping-Pong game, the table across from us was rather quiet. 10 people sat within inches of one another, heads bowed and eyes glued to the devices in front of them. The adults held phones while the children were magnetized to various digital screens. Not a word was spoken. We watched in amazement as the waitress came and did her best to take drink orders. The family didn’t even look up. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and 2 children, one by one, they mumbled their selection as the server walked around the table. Meal ordering was no different. I couldn’t stop staring, so amazed at the lack of conversation. Didn’t they know they were completely missing out on precious time together?! And what about the rudeness in ignoring the waitstaff?
I think we can all agree that sometimes it’s easier to stare at a screen than to wade through awkward conversation. Avoiding confrontation, pushing off uncomfortable social situations, and sidestepping the possibility of a raw subject rearing its ugly head and offending someone.
But beyond actual phone conversations, our cellphones sure seem to boss us around an awful lot, causing us to feel like we are at the beck and call of everything and everyone. Like we have to respond to incoming texts as soon as they pop up on our screens. Obligated to check our social media accounts 50 billion times a day because someone might have commented on our fabulous photo that we posted 15 minutes ago.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have willingly become a slave to my apps, checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts like it’s my job. Which it’s totally not. (Hence the reason I decided to take the Facebook app completely off my phone. Now I only use it on my laptop. Which for me, means I use it a whole lot less. And guess what? I don’t feel like I missing much. Less politics and drama = one happy mama. Less scrolling and more time with my people. Win win. I’m not saying you have to do this, but it’s worked well for me.)
It feels like the world is waiting for us. For us to engage and comment and post and document our day for all the world to see.
So how do we utilize these amazing little rectangular wonders of technology? Is it possible to find ways to communicate and interact with one another in a way that draws us closer to God and His people rather than drawing us away?
This is the quandary we face. We’ve been given a gift of connection. But we’re unsure how to be good stewards of it.
Maybe it’s time we showed our phones who’s boss.
– Setting them aside more often.
– Putting them in another room so we can spend intentional time with our people.
– Establishing a social media sabbath regularly.
– Limiting the amount of times we check email and social media throughout the day.
– Setting a timer for when we’re on social media or doing online searches.
– Turning our ringers off more (unless your best friend going into labor, or the fire alarms at your house are going off and the babysitter is calling).
– Focusing our eyes and our attention on our most important people, because our actions (and our lack of words) speak loudly.
Our people are watching … and waiting for us to get off our devices.
Our callings are waiting … ready for us to unswervingly pursue the passions God has put on our hearts.
The Savior of our soul is waiting … longing for us to wholeheartedly be in relationship with Him. The kind of loving friendship that wants to share quality time all throughout the day. Listening. Learning. Communicating. Because that’s what love looks like.
What matters most is waiting. For us! Not us connected to something else.
Maybe it’s time we showed our phones who’s really in charge.
For more on this topic of intentional living, check out our brand new book, SHINY THINGS: Mothering on Purpose in a World of Distractions. It launches out into the world in exactly ONE WEEK. Get your preordered copy today. Then pop back over to our book’s landing page and claim your free gift. Time is a tickin’.