I sense a desire in myself that I know needs to be tamed. I know, because it often ensnares my waking thoughts and steals hours that should be spent in sleep.
When I come home I plug my phone into the cable and put the cable in my wall charger. Tethered to the wall, I lay it down on my bed, where I in turn lay because my phone is on my bed and I am tethered to my phone. I cannot stray too far for fear of missing a call or an email, or a notification from Facebook or my phone’s newsfeed.
I need rest from my phone. More importantly, I need rest from the always-online culture my phone gives me unfettered access to.
The constant drone of the online news berating me with the controversies and evils of the day can fragrant my speech and actions in such a way that I simply grumble about the world without remembering who created and sustains it.
The implication is that while our bodies need the physical rest from the toil and labor of the week in order to remember that God sustains our them, the mind needs rest for the same reason.
One of my elders, Ron, emailed me with links to a few sites that help me do just that. The sites reveal the dangers present in never allowing the brain to be shut off from the world, and the last article presents a way of taking a Sabbath from the online world to give your brain and spirit needed rest from the online world.
Breaking news and the headlines that carry them traffic in my emotional response. Deciding to turn my phone completely off, at least once a week, is not turning my back to the needs of the world, rather it’s turning to and trusting that God is sovereign over events.
A Sabbath from my phone means taking needed rest from the emotional barrages the news fires through my phone to my eyes and ears. Andrew Roycroft, in his recent piece, I Read the News Today, Oh Boy, stated what I have seen in the world around me when I’m at work, Wal-Mart, or even at home spending time with friends.
“We have allowed smart phones to sound a constant air raid siren in our lives, carrying with us a personal ops-room where we are called on to make judgements, or to emote, according to what is happening right now.”
Instead of waking to read the Scripture and pray, often my first desire is to catch up on what I missed during my slumber. My time away from the screen is felt when busy at work. Apps ask to push notifications. Phones alert you to breaking news. We are always online, always taking in new information, but never able to come to the knowledge of what’s presented.
There’s no currency to pay in order to get my time back. There is nothing quite so valuable in this world than our time. So I want to spend it well. I want to spend it more on the members of my church, on my future wife, on being productive at work, and most of all, studying and living out what I read in the Word of God.
So, part of my faith is turning off the phone at night, knowing that God is still in the heavens and does all that He pleases, even when I miss a few notifications.And if that means that I miss out on a movie trailer or two, or news, good and bad, from around he world, or that a celebrity somewhere said something about someone or something, then so be it.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Faith is turning off my phone and shutting out the world for a time, knowing that God still reigns.