I don’t just sort of recommend this book. I strongly recommend this book–like in a click on over to amazon.com and get this book to your door asap kind of way.
I know I am not the only one who has a love/hate relationship with their phone! It holds our calendars, our workouts, our GPS, our precious photographs, our close friends’ numbers, our libraries, and endless access to “news” feeds that keep us entertained and distracted.
12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You was an amazing read, full of challenging thoughts and questions. This isn’t a book that makes you feel like a loser for wasting so much of your life on your phone, but rather asks bigger questions about God and how glorifying Him is so much greater, and reminding us that HE is so much more worthy of our time and attention. But that we won’t be disciplined and godly by accident or chance. It will take work. Intentionality. Throwing off those things that so easily encumber.
We had a discussion about this at the dinner table last night. Josh asked a question to the kids that he has asked me often….”What is good about social media, The Facebook and The Instagram?” (my kids know how to get on my Instagram and can with my permission)
We get to see what everyone else is doing.
We see funny memes.
We stay “in the know” with our Georgia friends.
I added that I run across interesting articles, read news, and get inspired by what other homeschool families are doing. And in that same vein, I run across stupid articles, am overwhelmed with the horrible news of the day, and get overwhelmed at all the neat stuff every other homeschool family is doing and all that we are not doing.
So, basically, for our family, we are a nosey bunch and like to see what others are doing. Nothing really GOOD comes from it, per se. Or at least the overwhelming majority of the reasons we are on social media aren’t ones that are amazingly godly and useful. It’s like Tony Reinke says in the book. We have FOMO. Fear of missing out. “FOMO was Satan’s first tactic to sabotage our relationship with God, and it worked. And it still does.” Rienke writes (page 158).
That quote took me back to my quiet time this morning from 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” This was Paul writing to the church at Corinth many, many years before the iPhone arrived on the scene. So the phone isn’t evil, of course, but as humans, we have evil tendencies. The Corinthian church was being distracted by false teachers. I get distracted by social media. It isn’t so much what we get distracted BY, but what we are being led astray FROM that is so sad. “…the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
As I read, I was convicted and inspired to live for more. I have posted at times in order to not be forgotten by my “friends” on social media. We moved away from our city of 15 years of living, so will people still think of us? remember our family? Maybe I will just post and post and post some more to make sure they don’t. So silly, really. I think our move here to Charlotte has social media leaving me more lonely than ever. I see pictures of what old friends in GA are doing, but I no longer see them regularly. I’m no longer an active part of their routines. Then, here in Charlotte, I haven’t really found community yet. I’ve met lovely people, and I am sure that community is being built in ways I can’t see even now through our interactions. However, the Lord has allowed me to see and feel the loneliness and its connection to this cyber world. I am thankful for the loneliness. It’s drawn me closer to my ever-present Friend, Jesus. He never leaves me. What a comfort. He is the only one worthy of my unhindered devotion. So what does that look like for me? This 40 year old woman, married for over 16 years, raising and home schooling a 13, 11 and 10 year old in this new place and season of life?
What I don’t want to do is stare into the glowing rectangle in hopes of not missing out and in hopes of keeping everyone “in the know” with my family happenings. Obviously, I would miss out on so much going on in my own home with those I love the most. Being obsessed with maintaining a social media presence would dim my ability to see and enjoy God’s creation. Reinke says, “We inevitably grow blind to creation’s wonders when our attention is fixed on our attempt to craft the next scene in our ‘incessant autobiography.’ ” YIKES.
By the end of the book, Tony Reinke knew many people would be wondering what it looks like to live lives of devotion to Jesus amid so many distractions at our fingertips. What exactly do I do with all of this information? What should I do with my phone?
He doesn’t tell you what to do, but I promise you that this book inspires you to think long and hard about your phone usage. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“So what sort of freaks of self-control must we become to resist the well-engineered marshmallow of distraction? Freaks who believe in 2 Corinthians 4:18, who ‘look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.’ “
What his wife said as she reached 9 months of “social media sobriety” rang in my heart with great conviction– “Compulsive social-media habits are a bad trade: your present moment in exchange for an endless series of someone else’s past moments.”
So I would like to end my review of this book with an apology. I am sorry for the shallow, self-exalting posts I have posted before on Instagram or Facebook. For every time I have posted out of self-pity or low self-esteem, I am sorry. I don’t want to waste any more of your time. I want The Lord to refine any of my future use on my phone or any screen, for His great glory. That’s what is so amazing about Him. He can redeem broken lives, wasted time and resources, missed opportunities, or anything else you humbly bring to Him. THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT!
Now go order this book. 🙂