By Captain Amelia Mott
Olympia, WA Corps
“If my phone dies, I die.”
“I was lost this week without my phone, I am not sure how I survived.”
“I bet my phone has exploded with all the texts I missed while away at camp.”
“I wonder if my phone missed me?”
“The first thing I am going to do when I get home is turn on my phone and see what I missed.”
All of those quotes are from campers heading to and from camp this past year, as campers are not allowed to bring their phones to summer camp. The goal is to allow them to spend time with each other, in nature and have fun, and not be glued to their phones, texting, scrolling and watching videos 24/7. As we read those quotes, it might at first glance seem like these campers are being very dramatic and we might brush it off, as kids being kids. But if we paused to reflect, could we as women, as adults be away from our phones for a week? A day? An hour? Would we be able to unplug? Would we be able to relax our minds and enjoy a week without cell service or Wi-Fi? And the answer to this for many of us, that it might be difficult to truly unplug.
John Mark Comer, in his book the Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, states, “the average iPhone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times a day.” And from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun reminds us that we live “in a world where people use the Internet an average of thirty hours a week and keep the TV or radio on 7.9 hours a day, we need to get unplugged from virtual reality and address our addiction to technology and the toxins it brings into our lives.” And all these distractions can keep us from carving out time to spend with God, in quiet and in solitude with no distractions around us.
Again, in the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook helps us remember that “unplugging recognizes that personal beings are created for personal interaction by a personal God. We need to be touched. We need non verbal signals. We need uninterrupted spaces in our lives for the presence of God and the presence of others.” So where do we go from here? Well, we go back to the basics, as Psalm 46: 10a: “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
First, we are made to spend time with God, and when we are still he provides peace, comfort, love, wisdom and support. He supplies everything we could ever need. Technology can make us feel isolated at times, but we have access to God 24/7 and He will always be there for us.
And even Jesus, went away and spent time with God when he was here on earth to be refreshed and renewed. Jesus knew that time with the Father is priceless, and nothing can take its place. Sometimes we can be tricked into thinking a form of technology can provide that for us, but only God can.
This coming week, the challenge is to carve out more time with God and less time on our phones, tablets etc. Guaranteed, you will notice the difference.
Second, take time to spend time in fellowship with others. The Passion translation of Proverbs 27:9 states, “Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like anointing oil, that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence.” We were built to be in community and friendship with others and when we do that our souls are refreshed and renewed. A hug from a friend can make a big difference. There is nothing like the sound of laughter filling a room that can turn our day around. And technology can’t replace that.
The second challenge for this week is to spend time in friendship and community with others, filling living rooms and coffee shops with joy and laughter. Spend time listening and praying with one another and leaning on each other for support.
Let’s carve out time carving out time for God and others, forgetting about our phones and tablets and be refreshed and renewed. Let’s unplug!