Today I am saying goodbye to my smartphone. It’s called the “droid incredible… and it is. While it’s been a fantastic companion in my pocket, it is fiscally irresponsible for me to continue paying the extra $30 each month so I can get email, read Facebook status updates, and check the score to the reds game anytime I want. This was purely a financial decision… or so I thought.
Today has been a difficult day for me. I’ve known for a little while that this day was coming, but I hadn’t allowed myself to truly soak it in until this morning. It’s probably a somewhat temporary choice in the big scheme of things, but the thought of not having an awesome phone for any amount of time has really been bothering me. And that has really been bothering me. How addicted have I become to being connected to technology, that I’m even slightly devastated to get rid of my phone. What will I do now? Is there life after technology? These same emotions came for me when Lindsay and I decided to get rid of DISH network at our house. Then again when we decided to get rid of our internet access. I felt like I’d be missing out – like it wasn’t fair that everyone around me got to have those things and I didn’t. I felt like every human should be entitled to having these things. So, in the absence of those things I literally talked Lindsay in to getting data plans. “Every minister has one” I said. “Every minister needs one”. I felt the urge to constantly remain connected to the outside world. And after just 6 short months, I have become addicted once again to technology. For some reason, I forgot how much better our marriage had become when our evenings stopped consisting of watching 4 hours of shows recorded from our DVR. I had forgotten how nice it was to give my wife my full attention when we were together. I didn’t realize that my data plan would compete for my attention at every moment – or that I would ever succumb to the temptation of technology again.
There is nothing wrong with data plans. They aren’t the anti-Christ (although some have suggested… well, never mind). But, like every piece of technology, they are dangerous as they can lead us into an addiction that plays with our mind, trying to convince us that we need them. Like a well trained assassin, they can navigate through the unseen parts of our lives, picking off the good parts one by one until, at some point, we look around to find that we’ve lost those things which truly mattered. We are drawn in by the sexiness of it all and we began to focus on the happenings of the invisible world it connects us with … and we don’t realize how much we are actually missing out on the people who are sitting in the chair next to us.
I like being transparent with my friends and the people I lead. I like to express what I feel the Holy Spirit is revealing in my life. I’m not trying to Jesus juke anyone that has a data plan or fancy TV or internet at their house. And I know that for some people this will come across as “dramatic”. But I’m simply saying that these things have for a long time seduced me and prevented me from focusing fully on the Kingdom of God. They have at times caused me to cheat my family. They have caused me to place far too much value in temporary things. I can only pray that you will take the opportunity you have to examine your own heart to see if the love and value you place in technology has also seduced you. And if so, do something drastic to change it.