One of the many ways I am trying desperately to find myself in the desert with Christ this Lent is to give up my smart phone. I know some of you are probably gasping! This past weekend, I ventured to the store and traded in my smart phone for an “unsmart” phone. Apparently this is not done too often because the sales associated was still trying to work a deal for a “smart” phone that maybe wouldn’t be so overwhelming. I guess she didn’t get that I wasn’t overwhelmed by my smart phone. Oh no, I idolized it. I loved it. I used it everyday. I chose my smart phone over personal conversations. I checked my smart phone every minute. People could get me at a moment’s notice because I had my smart phone. No, it wasn’t that I didn’t know how to use it – in fact I knew how to use it all too well.
Checking my email and my social media accounts sometimes could lead me down a dark, desolate path. I was getting to the point where I didn’t really like myself. The amount of information that I could get at one time just from emails, made me feel like I was getting nothing accomplished except answering people’s requests. I was engulfed in a sea of communication that was bringing me to a new low. I was at everyone’s beck and call, and I was expected to respond within minutes of receiving an email. I didn’t like the person I was becoming.
Anyway, I am in to day 4 without it and I miss it terribly. I no longer can check my email at all times. I cannot text as easily. I can’t check my facebook updates or twitter feed. I can’t log on to my website and see how my blog is being viewed for the day. I can’t add items to my calendar anymore (I have to carry a paper one in my purse). It is like learning all over again how to do everything long hand. It is hard work.
Isn’t this what Lent is supposed to look like? Squirming and stretching our faith life into a reality that we have been trying to avoid. Aren’t we all supposed to find a way to eliminate the distractions that have been keeping us from God? I definitely found one of my distractors: my smart phone. Yes, that darn phone – even though it seemed like a lifesaver – was taking me away from God. How, you say? I was choosing my own selfish desires instead of conversing with God. Now that I don’t have it, I see it very clearly. My phone was my life. I needed that phone to communicate with everyone but God. The phone was consuming my life. When you take away the obstacle that was consuming your life, you tend to see the reality of what is happening. This is called fasting. All we are left with is empty time or a feeling of loss. When this happens, it forces us to face God. I removed the distractor, and now I had to find a way to put God in its place.
In the morning, when I would usually be using my phone to email, text or communicate meetings and appointments; I pray instead. I think of my day ahead of me and ask God for strength. I prepare myself for the day that lies ahead. It might have some troubled waters, so I ask God for the gift of perseverance.
I may be carrying around my very uncool, unsmart phone, but the wisdom I have gained makes up for it all. With that unsmart phone, I now see God very clearly. I now recognize that my smart phone was keeping me from being a wise woman.
What are you fasting from this Lent? How has it opened your eyes to focus on God more clearly?