Written by Morgan Mitchell
Startled awake by the vibrating of my phone under my pillow. There it is again, that dreaded alarm that haunts me every morning. I hit the snooze button and go back to sleep. Then it happens again, that alarm goes off, I slide to open my “alarm” aka iPhone, and I am instantly transported into the new window of the outside world.
My eyes haven’t even sipped in the new day without stepping into this black hole of information, ads, likes, comments, retweets, and cropped and edited photos of our “highlight reel” moments, not our everyday.
I sit, not even out of my sheets on my phone for 15 or so minutes, liking, comparing, judging, and worrying about what others think. Viewing stories, and carefully researching the newest jacket I can acquire after diligently viewing (stalking) my favourite Instagram feeds.
I can’t help it; there is just something about it. I can’t stop scrolling. My heart almost skips a beat when I see a perfect deal on Amazon that I can click once and have delivered to my door the next day. All this before minute 20 has struck on my new day.
I get up, yep that’s the first step into my day, carrying the window of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), affirmation, and daydream in my hand, never to leave my side, even in conversation with the people that I love.
Does this sound familiar at all? I know this may seem like a dramatic narrative, but on some days, this is my life.
There is something about our phones, am I right? A little device that is supposed to be helping us, by assisting us with directions, allowing us to communicate quickly, take notes, and keep photos all in one place. But now instead of a tool to be used, it’s a master we bow to. We can’t go a minute without it, well at least not without trying to figure out what to do with our hands without it.
This almost-addiction to my phone has left me in a predicament. It begs the question, How on earth do I try to look, live, and love like Jesus when I’m all consumed by a device that screams at me when it needs to be charged?
Here’s a new reality that has disrupted my morning routine, Jesus came to establish a new world order. Seems very Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but hear me out.
At the forefront of Jesus’ mind was advancing the Kingdom of God. He came on a mission, a mission to turn our way of doing things on their head. But He didn’t do this how we would—making the most noise and trying to gain the most attention possible— He did it through a process, a rather slow process actually, one that calls for obedience and even relaxation.
What if I told you this model could change the way we live? Because honestly, always bowing to the applause and commands our phones offer us has thrown us off course a bit. What if maybe, maybe there is a way of living that calls us into a “With God” life that allows us to be the best version of ourselves but without being attached at the wrist to our phones?
What if I told you that we might need to follow Jesus differently, and it doesn’t come as fast as we think, it may be a slow and processed move of God? The great news is, we all know “slow cooked” BBQ is the best anyways, right?
This “With God” way of life is one that is all about Grace—actually it’s fuelled by it, drips of it, and is constantly pushing us into it. But as Eugene Peterson says so well in his book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, “This world is no friend to grace.”
It’s hard to enjoy what we have when there seems always to be a better option out there. But what if God has already given us the better option? The option that says we don’t have to immediately document what we are doing so that our friends can like and compare themselves to it, but we can sit in the satisfaction that God is here and present, ready to fill us up in the places we long to be noticed.
Here’s the thing: our souls hunger and thirst for the grace of God that is offered through His son Jesus. We are striving to be the best we can be, and our phones, social media, and devices give us a counterfeit sense that we matter. Yet we have to go back to them, even if we have met the minimum number of likes a photo that we’ve posted should get.
What if we chose to put our phones down for just a minute? What if we didn’t need to go to our phones first thing when we woke up? What if we stepped into a life with God that allows us to develop an inner life that makes life with God irresistible?
We fear missing it, we fear missing out, but what we may need to say is, Enough is enough. Another Peterson quote: “A person has to get fed up with the ways of the world before he, before she, acquires an appetite for the world of grace.”
A slight challenge for you: What if we had a new diet, an easy one that says we choose not to use our phones as the last thing we look at night, and not to have them be the first thing we look at in the morning?
What if we chose to make a quick substitution to wean ourselves off dependency to our phones and create margin. A diet that allows our minds to shut off and even experience the presence of God through prayer at night, and even allowing God to welcome us into the day He has prepared for us in the morning?
Have I mastered my phone yet? Nope, but I have taken a step towards this Kingdom reality of God’s presence being here and now, by choosing to shut my phone off before bed, and not turning it on until I’ve spent time with Him in the morning. A small step, but a long, beautiful obedience. An obedience in the same direction—the right direction for that matter.