This summer I met someone who asked me what my favorite word was. I said present. Not that its my overall favorite word but just one that came to my mind. One I thought I’ve been trying to embody and encompass this year.
I was wrong.
6 or so weeks later.. after some significant processing I realized I have a serious addiction to immediacy. I want the future so bad and I chase it so hard that I really don’t live in the present. I’m barely “here” because I’m so obsessed with the next. A large part of that is my cute little apple watch buzzing on my wrist alerting me of new distractions in the rare moments that my phone isn’t in my pocket, or honestly, in my palm.
I decided I needed to make some adjustments. I set my Instagram to private, deleted the app off my phone and let my best friend change the password so I really had no way to access it, not even through a web browser. I went on a 3 day retreat, left my phone on my nightstand and brought along “12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You”.
I got home and I’ve only finished the foreword, the preface and the intro but have already bought a regular alarm clock to keep myself from checking notifications before I’m actually awake in the morning.
I’m realizing that despite how incredible the gift of technology is, I’ve allowed it to rule my life more than let it benefit. I highly recommend the book, its already convicting and I’m not even a 1/4th of the way through it.
Only a few times did I catch myself wanting to reach for my phone, far fewer than I anticipated. I brought an old phone with no data to play music for the car ride up to the mountains and my camera for taking photos. I’m a learner, and a total information junkie– typically the first of my friends to say “I’ll google it” and it was that I thought I would miss most but of the past 3 days, it was all things that could wait. Nothing I needed to google so bad that I even wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget to check later. I listened to more conversations, answered more questions, made more eye contact, and let my heart just sit with the Lord instead of letting it be constantly distracted. I got a bad head cold right before I left that woke me up at 3am for over an hour each night but instead of sitting and surfing the internet, I spent time in prayer with the Lord processing the things going through my mind. What a useful way to spend mental energy.
I can’t go forever without a phone, and I’m sure some habits will creep back in within days but for the month, I am trying to make a significant conscious effort against the obsession. I hope to be more aware of how distracting my phone can be and choose to love people better by leaving it in my backpack, on my nightstand, or even some days: at home. I’m not sure I will ever master the meekness and humility of my friend who knows how to be present and casually take life moment by moment but I am trying and I guess thats what we have friends for. Friends to teach us the things they have learned, the things that come naturally for them, or the things they wish for all of us.
Here are a few pictures from my days away: