Well, I can’t actually call it a cellphone, really. Let’s be honest, given what I actually use it for, I think a better term for it would be radio, or digital camera, or VCR, or GPS, or alarm clock, or even recipe book! What I hold in my hands is many things, but cellphone it is not. However, that’s all about to change now because of a self-imposed restriction. I am being forced (by me) to use my cellphone to make a phone call like some sort of caveman!
You see, I had recently decided, and publicly committed, to abstain from the use of social media, online videos and other time-pilfering websites and apps for a total of three days. The purpose of this exercise was to: a) reduce unnecessary distraction in order to increase productivity and be a better listener; and b) have an excuse to privately congratulate myself for my martyrdom. Frankly, self-flagellation would have been slightly easier.
I had NO IDEA how addicted I was to social media until after I had deleted all of the affected apps and blocked all the websites that had, just moments before, been my constant companions. And here I was about to make a phone call! To a person!
Ok, perhaps I am being a bit dramatic, but this social media fast thing is hard!* But I have to say that I’ve learned a lot about myself. Not the least of which is that I have gotten lazy when it comes to my personal relationships. Yeah, social media makes it easier to feel connected to the people that I love, but ‘liking’ a status and commenting on a picture is a poor substitution for intimacy. I believe that God made us to be social creatures who love, inspire, and challenge each other. And it’s a little difficult to do all of those things when there are devices between us.
So once I figure this phone thing out, I’m going to ask a friend to have dinner and conversation with me. And I won’t even take a picture of the meal!
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrew 10:24-25 NIV).
Jael Amador writes from New York, New York.
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