~Colossians 3:15 (NIV)
I was working at the church last week, and the secretary said I had a call. I took it, and as I'm talking I got up from behind the desk to go get another cup of coffee, and about three steps from my desk, the phone went flying out of my hand!
The church still has a land line. For you youngsters, that means the phone is hooked to the wall with a cord. I grew up with those, but how quickly I had forgotten the limitations of that cord. I remember that freedom of getting my first cellular phone--being able to walk and talk and make a call or get a call anywhere. The possibilities seemed limitless on what I would be able to accomplish with this miraculous new tool!
But I think about it differently now. Those phones quickly went from being a liberator to being a master. I was watching a group of young people at a bus shelter yesterday, and not a single one of them was enjoying the perfect spring weather that was surrounding them--they were all focused down at those tiny screens that we thought were going to free us.
We were free when our phones were attached to the wall. We could leave the house all day without distractions, and enjoy the world. We weren't constantly distracted with the buzz of an incoming text, or email or phone call from our pocket.
Over the last year, I've worked hard at unplugging. I use social media very little now. I intentionally leave my phone at home (gasp!). Sometimes I even turn it off--did you know you could do that? And I schedule time each day to do nothing. I take a walk. I watch the sunset two or three times a week. No phone. Just me and God enjoying some distraction free time.
And I can tell you, I've never felt better. I'm able to focus again. I'm able to concentrate on tasks again without interruption. My productivity is actually up, and my anxiety is way down! I have successfully slowed down the pace of my life, because I've eliminated a lot of the wasted time I was spending staring mindlessly at the little screen I was carrying with me everywhere.
People often tell me they wish they had more quiet time--time they could spend studying the Bible. Time they could spend praying. Time they could spend enjoying life. But they are just so busy!
Chances are, you aren't as busy as you think. You just may have the time you need to do those things that are important to you. Ask your phone how much time you spend on it. Your phone can tell you how much time you're spending on YouTube. On TikTok. On Instagram. On Facebook. I was astounded! And I thought I was a moderate user.
Time is something you don't get back. It is not a renewable resource. And we're wasting our lives scrolling screens. Put away that phone! Come on back to the real world! What is important is out here!
~Todd E. Creason