Drop the Phone, Bring the Book
Ugh! Confession time... I spend way too much time on my phone, especially in church.
Sure I use it to email, call, attend meetings, text, read books, and do my daily devos... A good portion of my time is spent in 'justifiable' activities on it- even spiritual and Godly endevours. Shoot! I even have the Bible app on it so I have scripture in every language known to man right at my fingertips. What an awesome thing! Often I think of how many people from the past dreamed of having such access to scripture and commentary! I have many, many good apps that help me grow closer to God and learn more about Him (in fact, check out some of my absolute faves: YouVersion Bible, YouVersion for Kids which my kids adore, LifeCoach for discipleship, First 5 for quickie devos, Voice of the Martyrs prayer chain app, and ManUp God's Way which my hubby loves.)
But this little box also has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Candy Crush, and several news apps on it... and there-in lies my downfall.
I've been convicted lately to pull away from the amazing convenience of reading the Bible on my phone in church specifically. Because the truth is, the temptation is just way too great to mess around in these other apps while hearing the sermon. It's just too easy, while 'listening' to the message to be playing around, checking updates, (even) posting scripture memes... How many times I've caught myself, having opened and read along in the Bible at the start of the message, minutes later checking my Facebook or emails. It's a force of habit for me and it's alarming how often I don't even recall making the switch! I start engaged and end up reading Twitter posts with no idea how much time has passed or what the pastor is talking about at that moment.
I am humbled and ashamed at my lack of discipline and respect.
I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be for pastor's to see a congregation full of the tops of heads as people look down at their electronic devices- all the while wondering if they're really following along with the message or harvesting their overdue crops on Farmville. I wonder the same thing myself about my fellow congregants at times... as I'm sure they wonder about me! And as much as I'd love to promise that my intentions are true and always noble, I'd be lying to say that I don't slip up. Be it purposefully or inadvertently, the ACCESS is just too easy.
The cold, hard truth is that my phone in church can be a stumbling block to me. Not all the time, but too often. God's Word should demand 100% of my attention, it DESERVES 100% of my attention; as does my pastor during his sermons. And I can do better... I can make it harder.
So I've decided to make the change back to my 'regular' Bible and just remove the temptation altogether. I know it's not cool or really en vogue to carry that precious book around. But taking the temptation to 'wander' out of the equation seems like the most logical thing to do, and I do so miss that old book of mine. I love seeing all the notes and highlights from days long past when the electronic age hadn't yet arrived and we still read the Bible old-school style. It's like a picture into stages of my life and different seasons with God. What a gift to open those pages and see that! I love that the last 6 pages of maps are MIA and that the entire section from the middle of James to the end fell out and is taped back in with medical tape. I love that I have letters, cards, bookmarks, and napkins with hastily drawn notes stuck all over the place inside it. I LOVE that old book and all that is within it and all it represents.
Despite the snazz appeal of my phone, it will never be able to compete with the (literal) blood, sweat, and tears that stain my Bible.
Yes... I think this is a good idea.
I realize dropping the phone and bringing the Book won't fix my human-ness to occasionally grow sleepy, get lost in thought, or doodle in the margins of the bulletin during the sermon; but it will immediately remove the access to all that so easily draws my attention away from God's word... at least for that time and place.
And for me that's a start!
P.S. This in no way is a diatribe on my amazing pastor btw... He is AWESOME and can bring a WORD! :-)