This morning I woke up with an extra dose of anticipation – It’s Friday, my work from home day, which is an immense blessing because it means I can do things like let clothes wash while I sit at the computer. I had a morning coffee date planned with a high school girl in my connect group who I hadn’t hung out with before and a lunch meeting with a precious friend at a super yummy restaurant. My biggest concern was how I was going to fit both working out and blow drying my hair into the mix while simultaneously washing the dog and checking emails.
To start the to-do list, I grabbed my Bible, notebook, pens, and cell phone and tossed them on top of the laundry basket to make things easier to carry down the stairs. I sat my Bible, notebook, and pens on the table and went to dump my clothes in the laundry before starting my quiet time.
Once I got ready to make my way into the living room to sit down with my Bible and coffee, I realized my phone wasn’t on the table where I had placed everything else. It could only be a certain amount of places…it didn’t take long before I basically knew in the back of my head that it was spinning around in the washing machine. I had checked there already but couldn’t find it. So, I went back to check again. It kind of felt surreal…like, who is dumb enough to dump their phone into the washer? (Some people have a very justifiable right of passage for this – new moms, people taking certain types of medication, the elderly…not me.) Sure enough, as I pulled the sopping wet clothes out of the basin of water and placed them on the side of the machine, there she was sitting at the bottom of the metal tub.
I didn’t really have a reaction.
Ironically, I cannot explain to you the amount of peace I felt. It was kind of beyond peace…a bit more like freedom.
Do you know why?
Because I was no longer accessible to an outside world.
If people wanted into my life, they were going to have to be intentional about getting there.
We feel this immediate pressure to respond to someone right away because we know in the back of our minds if we shoot them a text, it pops right up on their screen. Which, of course, 99% of the time is within arms length of them. It’s visible. They’ve seen it. And so we feel like somehow they know we’ve seen that they’ve reached out, and that they will be offended if it takes us longer than 50 seconds to get back to them.
Other people are ruling our lives, our schedules, and our free time.
People on the other side of the screen are distracting us from the people right in front of our faces.
I’ve gotten really good about intentionally taking social media breaks. But I’m still wondering if maybe, subconsciously, even when we’re not on our phones, if they’re still dictating a lot of our thought processes and the way we think.
Are there invisible chains that bind us to our cell phones?
After taking a trip to multiple stores trying to find the best deal and relentlessly attempting to make a purchase online without success, I was spent. Holding back tears and very quickly approaching the verge of a breakdown, my mom and dad were combating my stress with encouragement. I didn’t really care about actually having the phone back, I just wanted the problem fixed. They quickly reminded me that it really was all going to work out in the end. I would get a phone. And then my dad said something even more profound, “And even if you didn’t, you’d still be okay.”
(Okay, so, in reality, this isn’t exactly practical. Nonetheless, it is entirely true.)
We really will be okay if we put our phones on airplane mode while we’re supposed to be present with the people we’re with. We would survive (as would the people trying to get in touch with us) if we left our phones in the other room.
Every bit of the way we treat others stems from how we treat those under our own roof.
Let’s be intentional about creating space for us to focus on what’s right in front of us.