“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…” Isaiah 61:1 ESV
Recently, I found myself stranded at the mall without my cell phone. I had taken my son’s Jeep to the dealership to have some work done as it had a mandatory recall that needed to be fixed. The dealership was nice enough to provide transportation to the local mall because the work would likely take up to four hours to complete. As I climbed out of the shuttle van and turned to wave to the driver, panic quickly set in as I remembered that I had left my phone back in the Jeep at the dealership.
I rummaged through my purse, hoping I was wrong but no, my phone was nowhere to be found and the driver of the shuttle was long gone.
“Oh, well, I had better make the best of my time at the mall,” I thought to myself.
But I quickly learned just how dependent I was on my pocket-sized technology. I began to think about what would happen if the kids needed to reach me? Or what if my husband needed me? He would be worried if I didn’t respond back to him in four hours. So I decided to call him. Umm, guess what? There are no pay phones. So, I had to go to customer service and use their phone.
Whew! Once I had called my husband, I would certainly be able to concentrate on doing some much needed Christmas shopping. I found just the right gift for my father-in-law, but which color would he prefer?
“I’ll just text my mother-in-law to get her opinion.”
Wrong. I didn’t have my phone.
Later that day, I found a cute pair of boots that I thought my teenage daughter would love.
“I better snap a pic of these and make sure she likes them, just in case.”
Wrong again. I didn’t have my phone.
This went on for most of my time at the mall. I would reach down to grab my phone, only to remember that I didn’t have it. I was bombarded with the realization that I was addicted to my cell phone and could not last four hours without it. I was amazed, when thinking of my daily habits, at how many times I look at my phone. I mean really, how many times do I need to check my email? Seriously, I am not that important!
Perhaps my lesson learned that day can best be described by the words that I read on a candle I saw in a store at the mall. It read, “Be present.” (By the way, I bought the candle, just as a reminder. Plus, it smelled like eggnog-Bonus!).
No truer, more prevalent words could have pierced my heart than those. Be present. Put down my technology, pay attention to the world around me. Be present in the lives of my family members, be present in the lives of those around me, and even be present in the lives of strangers at the mall. For I never know when I might make a small difference in someone else’s life, not even meaning to, just by being present. By being present, I am “gifting” myself to others.
I believe that God wants me to live intentionally, giving and pouring myself into those around me. As a Christian, I have a responsibility to reach out to those who are hurting, to share God’s Word, to help those that I can. If I’m always busy on my phone, I’m missing out on opportunities all around me. And by me missing out, someone else could also be missing out on an even bigger gift, possibly the gift of salvation.
It saddens me now to think of all of the time I’ve wasted on my phone, being absent from the moment. Did I miss moments with my children? Probably. Did I sacrifice helping someone in need at the grocery store because I was busy looking up my coupon app. Definitely. Surely I have missed countless opportunities to reach out all because I was busy on my gadget.
It’s not that I am entirely against my phone. I love it and the conveniences it offers. I will still continue to use it often. But my little incident at the mall helped put some things in perspective for me- I just need to limit my use of technology, especially when there are other people around me.
What about you? Do you struggle the same as I do? Are you using your opportunities wisely to reach out to those around you for Christ? Be encouraged to be present this Christmas season. Gift yourself, thus sharing your time, love, energy, and talents with the world around you. Technology will always be there waiting but people and souls most definitely will not be.
Take care and have a wonderful evening,