Studies report up to 97 percent of Americans own a cell phone.
While we are “connected” to each other more than ever – the cell phone phenomenon has a dark side not many people talk about.
And as Christians – we need to take a cold hard look at how cell phones can increase personal anxiety – and even hurt our walk with the Lord.
To start – having a cell phone (especially a smartphone with internet access) means that we are essentially available 24 hours a day.
Our bosses can email us at any hour – and many of us feel compelled to respond “right away”.
Family dinners with deep conversations are replaced by people buried in their phones – whether it’s a teen girl texting her friend or a working dad replying to his co-worker’s email.
Teenagers have access to the internet on their smartphone and feel pressure to have the latest and greatest to “fit in” with the popular crowd.
Even young moms are victims as they feel pressure to put on a happy face and keep a perfect house.
The obsession with comparing out is making all of us more anxious and insecure.
But instead of journaling to God or crying out to Him in desperation, many people turn to their cell phones searching for “parenting tips” or “self-help” podcasts.
They post their feelings on social media – instead of prayerfully taking every thought captive and bringing it to God first.
Historian Bruce Hindmarsh had a lot to say about this tech trend and how it effects people with a sense of “spiritual ADD”.
Desiring God reported:
“Our spiritual condition is one of having spiritual ADD,” he says. “We are more easily distracted from the important issues of our lives moment by moment. The nature of digital communication is that we are endlessly distracted.”
So, is the tech trend moving toward more distractions or fewer? He says the Apple Watch is proof these distractions are becoming more intrusive (and according to our survey, most of you agree that wearable tech will only further compound these distractions).
The root problem behind the endless distractions is that it leads to “a dispersed consciousness,” Hindmarsh says.
“I remember one of my teachers saying there are some things in the spiritual life you need to be reminded of every six minutes — ‘recollected’ is the old word for this: We live in the presence of God, we live intentionally, and we live out of a calm center, spiritually.”
So what can you do if you find yourself stuck in a state of anxiety or “spiritual ADD”.
Return to your first love.
Consider setting strict boundaries for yourself – such as putting your phone away as soon as you get home from work or not having your emails automatically “ping you” when they are delivered.
If you need a reset – a healthy social media fast may be beneficial so you can recalibrate your thought life and stop finding the need to compare yourself to others.
And of course, taking time each day to meditate on God’s Word will keep you focused on eternity – and remind you that HE is the source of fulfillment – something your cell phone can never fill.
At the root – anxiety is not trusting God.
But if you return to your first love and remember God will supply you with all you need – you won’t feel the urge to reach for your cell phone to cure your anxiety – you’ll turn to God Himself, our true source of life.
Does your cell phone make you more anxious?
Why do you think so many Americans are addicted to their cell phones?
You can post your answers to our Facebook page and join in the conversation with other believers from all around the world.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:16-17
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