No-mo-pho-bia: Conquering the Fear of Being Phone-Less

Dead battery, no WiFi, out of data, lost phone. I wouldn’t wish these horrible things on anyone. Not anyone!

Do you know this word: “Nomophobia”? This is a new term describing a growing fear in today’s world, the fear of being without a mobile device or being beyond mobile phone contact. I am someone who had previously struggled with nomophobia. Well, let me be real — I used to be attached to my phone. Like…

When I went to shower, my phone would be on the bathroom counter.
When I went to the bathroom, I brought my phone with me.
When I was in meetings, I would text under the table. (True story.)
When I went sleep, my phone would be on my pillow.

Get the point?

And, here’s the thing: I always thought that my phone kept me in the loop… connected to family, friends, social media, and even to my faith. After several years and many lessons — hard lessons — I realized my phone actually disconnected me from the people I love and care about, not to mention my relationship with Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome to post pictures on Instagram, to tweet something funny, and to do all the social media stuff, but there is a real problem when our phone interferes with our relationship with God and others.

Here are some suggestions that helped me not let my phone take over my life, and most of all not let it interrupt my relationship with Christ.

Limit the distractions.

Let’s turn off our phones when we pray. When we are distracted in prayer, we are not fully engaging ourselves in our relationship with the Lord. If we limit our relationship with God in our prayer life, we end up limiting His ability to speak to us and be able to receive everything He has to offer. We lock Him out. Let’s be mindful of turning our phone off (not on silent – completely off) during Mass, during visits to the Chapel, and during prayer time.

Be Authentic.

Are you phone and social media authentic? Oftentimes, we can create a “false identification” behind our phone. We seek validation from our posts or from the number of texts we receive. We can’t let this become our identity. We can’t hide behind our phones. Our identity is found in being a son or daughter of the Father, not in having the most liked photo on Instagram. Being unattached to our phone frees us to seek God and the good of the other verses seeking attention from phone notifications. Authenticity keeps you real. Authenticity means to be true, so if you are upset and texting with someone, but send a bunch of emoji smiley faces – that’s not being true to yourself. It is by acting in truth that will lead us to a life of freedom.

Don’t lose face-to-face interaction.

Let’s try this: The next time a friend texts you that they’re bored, surprise them and drive over to his/her house. If you miss someone’s call, call them back instead of texting them! Communicate in person. Reach out to others the way Christ reaches out to us – with compassion and love.

My “I-must-have-my-phone-with-me-at-all-times” is a mindset that needs to change. The challenge for you and for me is to give your time to God before you give it to your phone.

Pray, be authentic, and communicate with others in person – that will make all the difference in leading you to a joy filled life.

Photo via Flickr, CC 2.0, Logo added