I have been challenged many times over the last few years to cast down my idol. In this day of technology cellphones are everywhere. We are always connected to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, and family through a quick text message. Having a phone phobia myself – where I am terrified of calling people, it’s ridiculous really – I have welcomed the age of text messaging and email. I had a small hot pink flip phone for years, and I loved that phone. The keyboard finally went out on it, and I was faced with the reality of having to buy a new phone. This was now the age of the smart phone. I had been in such a loving committed relationship with my flip phone that I hadn’t even paid any attention to what was happening in the world of cell phones. I could text or call on my flip phone. End of story. It did not control my life and sometimes it would sit on my desk for days before I would check it. Now there was a mini computer that did everything my flip phone could do plus give me directions, read my calendar for me, bring up a recipe with a voice command, and keep me more connected then perhaps I ever wanted to be with social media. It didn’t take long for my new phone to become my obsession.
Three years later my first smart phone bit the dust. The screen had become unusable so I got on the computer that very evening and did all my research about the latest cell phones and providers (they change so fast how is one supposed to keep up?!). By the end of the night I had cancelled my service with my current provider, and had enrolled with a new provider and had a fancy new smart phone and case express mailed to me. I have a long commute to work. It is about 4 in the morning when I leave for work and it takes me 45 minutes to get there in the dark, on back country roads. What if something happened? I need a cell phone I told myself. But in reality I had become co-dependent on my smartphone and I needed to replace it as fast as possible.
All the while I began to feel heavier and heavier. Cast down your idol.
My phone is my idol. When I wake up in the morning I grab my phone. I read Facebook like it is the newspaper. I scroll through Instagram and I envy what others have. I do not see the blessings that the Lord has poured upon me because I am too busy scrolling through Facebook to spend time with Him, and I am too preoccupied with what other’s have to spend time in His Word. It’s disgusting really. And the really sinful part of it all is that I know my phone is my idol and yet still I don’t stop.
In Sunday school you are taught about the Israelite’s in the Old Testament and how they always disobeyed. I always thought: why did they keep going back and turning against God? Why did they keep messing up when the obvious choice is right in front of them? But I am no better than they. The only difference, perhaps, is that there isn’t a Sunday school class taught about me and all the times I messed up. Thank goodness for that!
Two weeks ago, my idol was cast down for me when I made a very embarrassing scene by tripping up a set of cement front steps at my grandparent’s house. There I was sprawled across their little front sitting area, in front of a bunch of old ladies. My phone had been in my hand of course and as I fell and reached out with my hands to try and break my fall, phone still in hand, I smashed the entire screen. Then I spent about an hour and a half trying to make the screen work. It still made the happy little noises whenever a text message came in, and it told me when I had an email, but I could not access the phone. I had slivers of glass from the screen in my fingers because I was trying so hard to make it work.
Some days I want to get rid of my phone. To get rid of the payment each month and to get rid of the distraction. I am its slave. My hubby and I don’t have a home phone, and use our cell phones instead. I use it for blogging needs when on the go, and I stay connected to family faster and easier with texting. Hubby and I are usually always in contact throughout the day with a quick text message here and there. It doesn’t make sense to live without a phone completely. It does make sense to limit how much time I really need on it. I don’t need the constant distraction it brings. A text message can wait to be answered. Facebook and Instagram don’t need to be checked every hour. My phone can sit on my desk and not be used. My time will be much better spent praying or in the Word or by honoring God and my husband by doing my duties around the house and the farm.
It is written in Psalms that those who make idols become like them.
The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them! Psalms 135: 15-18
How much does that sound like a cell phone?! And, perhaps even more troubling, how much have I become like that? When I speak is it true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, or giving praise to whatever is excellent or worthy? Not usually. I have empty words, quick answers, or criticism. When I look around at my life how much do I miss? Instead I see all the things I could have, or all the things that need to be done. I do not listen when my husband talks to me. I listen enough to reply but I don’t always listen to what he is trying to actually say. I have become like my phone. It has all the answers, it can do everything it is supposed to. But it is empty. My hope does not come from my phone, it comes from the Lord.
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. Jonah 2:8
“Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” Judges 10:14
Three days after smashing my phone I had the screen replaced and it was back up and running. And there I was yet again doing what I always did. I went right back to it. I was reminded and challenged after reading this post from They’re Not Our Goats to put an end to my addiction. I am so thankful that, even though cell phones and social media are my weakness they are also a platform for Godly men and women out there to talk about God and remind me of my sin. So today the phone is staying on the desk. And I am going to vacuum so I don’t hear it when it dings.