We all have that one friend that is always on their phone. Everyone's sitting around, laughing, having a great time, and you look around and notice that this friend is scrolling with their thumb faster than ever, glued to whatever is on the screen.
If this doesn't ring a bell, watch out because you might be the person always on the phone. It’s the most frustrating when the person on the phone is someone I love being around. My time with them is so special to me and I don't like for any of it to be wasted. Maybe someone feels that way about you and you don't even realize it. Don’t rob the people around you of the gift you are to them.
Technology isn't bad and smart phones aren't necessarily evil. However, we can certainly over-indulge. There are some certain phrases that can be a clear indication that you or one of your friends might be a cell phone addict.
By the way, if you're reading this blog on your phone . . . keep reading.
“What did you say?”
The first sign of a cell phone addict is constant texting, especially when you're in the same vicinity as actual human beings. A very important symptom to look for is if you find yourself constantly saying, 'What did you say? Sorry, could you repeat that?' We've all been in a conversation with someone and tried to multi-task on our phone. It often times leaves us giving both conversations less than they deserve.
Another symptom is hand cramps, particularly around the pinky and thumb. I'm actually thinking of starting a workout program using only a cell phone. I'd call it 'P90-text.' It would be a huge hit.
Texting also makes us accustomed to getting immediate responses. We've all been yelled at for taking too long to respond to an important text. I'm willing to admit that I've even applied that same principal to God and then gotten frustrated when He didn't answer me immediately.
“Where’s My Phone?”
Another sure sign of a cell phone addict is the physical inability to be away from your phone or even to focus on anything else for a long period of time.
You've felt it before. It's the phantom vibration in your pocket when you don't even have your phone. It's the way your hand starts to twitch when it's been empty for more than a few minutes. Whether you're at work, school, church, or anywhere else, you realize you haven't looked at your phone in a little while and BAM! You grab it in a hurry and check all the apps where something interesting may have happened.
“I have to take a picture”
You may also find that you can't look at anything of great beauty for too long without snapping a picture and uploading it. I do this all the time, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to share natural beauty with your friends and family. But I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a beautiful sunset, a perfect wave crashing on the beach, or a bright, full moon without rushing to find my phone and take a picture.
Sometimes we forget to just sit back and be amazed, and we look through our phone screen without looking with our eyes.
“Oh, Hi Mom!”
Perhaps the most deadly symptom in this category is the infamous fake phone usage. You've probably done it at some point. You're trying to avoid some awkward moment, so you grab your phone and pretend to be talking to someone. You might even be in an uncomfortable situation and immediately revert to using your phone. All this does is take away our ability to confront and deal with what's right in front of us. It's a skill we really need, and we should work at developing it.
“My ‘friend’ just posted . . .”
The last sure sign of a cell phone addict is if you know more about the lives of random people you follow on Twitter than you do about the people in your own community, you might be a social media addict. We love Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and so on. They aren't bad! I use each one of those regularly. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Are you abusing these sites? Are you abusing the ability to do so many things from your phone?
I can't answer that question for you but I can tell you what I've learned. All throughout history, God puts people in certain places for certain reasons. He puts certain people around other people for specific, divine reasons.
If you're so busy staring at your phone, is it possible that you could walk right by someone God wanted you to talk to?
Like all good things, our phones must be used in moderation. There is great freedom in being able to put the phone down and walk away to focus on something else.
Being able to put your phone down and not let life pass you by will certainly help you grow in virtue. God uses all things to reach us, but the twitter account named after Jesus isn't actually Him. Remember, grace doesn't come in megabytes. God wants to show His face and His heart to you; don't give Him the busy signal. Be available when He comes to you.
Today I want to challenge you to be radical!
Realize the power your phone can have over you, and how you can switch the power into your hands by putting the phone down and being present to what's directly around you. Spend more time in your Bible than you do on your phone. Spend more time talking than you do texting. You just might find you like it better that way.