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I Was Off My Phone for A Week - Here's What Happened



I have a problem - I'm on my phone way more than is necessary or healthy. Most Americans have this problem as well, and I'm envious of those who don't. If I'm being honest, I don't really enjoy being on my phone that much. It's draining and usually gives me a headache; my phone takes me away from the beauty of real life. Sure, I love being able to stay in contact with my friends. My phone keeps me plugged in, and (usually) I appreciate that. I use my phone to edit and maintain my blog, take pictures, and Google all the things I don't know. But, most days, the cons of being constantly connected outweigh the pros.


I recently got back from a nine day cruise to Aruba, Curacao, and the Dominican Republic, and it was the best trip ever. We ate amazing food until we were stuffed, went to the most beautiful beaches, relaxed poolside, laughed together, and ate some more. And quite possibly the best part: I had no cell service, forcing me to disconnect from the outside world. I used my phone only to take pictures and view the menu/activities for the day, but other than that, it was left in the room most of the time.


Being disconnected so completely left me suddenly aware of all the beauty I was missing. All the experiences I was missing. All the people I was missing. When we consume ourselves with our phones, it removes us from so many important things. And I didn't realize this until I wasn't able to constantly be on my phone.


When I was glued to my phone, I missed the beauty of the world around me. Sure, Kansas doesn't quite have the same beauty as Aruba or Curacao or even Miami. But flowers blooming, fields of wheat, giant green trees; all of these are beautiful, handcrafted-by-God pieces of nature that we miss every single day because we are hooked to our phones. How often do we recognize cool pieces of architecture because a) we're used to it, or b) we can't be bothered to look up from our phones? Yeah, Kansas doesn't have skyscrapers or colorful houses, but there is still so much history and beauty around us if we would just take a second to notice it.


When I was glued to my phone, I missed some really incredible memories. To be more specific - I missed some really incredible insignificant memories. On this cruise, we laughed so hard and made some amazing memories that will last a lifetime, but not all of them were big things. Most of them were little things, like ice cream for breakfast or ordering the same thing every night at dinner or laughing our heads off at some stupid things we said. Those little things may very well have been one of the best parts of my trip, but if I was on my phone, I would have missed them all. Those little things happen every day here, too. Around the dinner table or in the car or while playing games or watching TV. And when we are stuck on our devices, we miss out on so much laughter and joy and memories.


When I was glued to my phone, I missed my people. When I'm home, I usually am on my phone or computer, writing or texting or sending snaps. And after this trip, I've realized how many people I've completely missed having a connection with. My siblings, particularly. Instead of trying to engage with them despite our differences, I withdrew into my own world. I even missed making new friends; at events where I was alone, I sat on my phone so I didn't look lonely. Because of my phone, I have some relationships that are suffering. I missed opportunities to support, love, and play, and I will never get those moments back.


When our lives are consumed with technology, we miss out on so much. On the beauty of life. On our people. On being able to think.


So, yeah, I think we can all get behind the idea that we can't thrive if we are attached to the little device we call a cell phone. So what do we do now? How do we go back to enjoying real life, apart from the screens?


Well, I can't claim to be an expert on being in the moment and staying off my phone. But if we're going to actually get over our addiction to our phones, we need to do it together. We need to set boundaries with our phone and find accountability partners to help encourage us as we battle with the desire to be on technology. We need to set our phones aside and commit to spending time being present, enjoying our people and the beautiful world God has created.


Let's start small. Find a friend, sibling, or parent today and commit to spending one hour off of your phone today to reconnect with your family or God. This one hour might just start a new connection, memory, or perspective.

 

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:15-16


"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." - James 4:1-14


Guys, this topic of staying present and off your phone is not something that's new and worldly. It's biblical. Sure, there weren't exactly phones in the Bible, but God is continually encouraging all His people to live each day to the fullest and being present because our life is temporary. Our life is fragile, and God wants us to live our life the best we can be - and that's by staying in the moment.


God has given us a beautiful, beautiful life y'all. But this life is short, and we don't know how long we have. God knows how much time and energy we lose when we are hooked to our phones, and He doesn't want us to miss out on the life He has for us. God calls us to take hold of every opportunity to be present, loving, and aware because He knows that is what will help us thrive.


So as we work on becoming more present and off our technology more, let's find our reason. Let's make God our reason, and strive to glorify Him through the way we use our time. Let's glorify God by being in the moment, loving our people and His creation.

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