Someone told me once I had an addictive personality. We were discussing weight at the time. I was taken back. I knew I loved food, I was a "foodie" in my soul. But I never really thought I was an addict. But today as I was arguing with God about writing about addiction, He showed me a few of my addictions. (Just once I would like to know what it was like to win a God argument, but I know that could never happen.)
What are addictions? First thing that comes to mind is drugs, or alcohol. Puff up that chest with pride when you KNOW you do not fall into either of those addictions. Deflation time...food, shopping, gambling are all types of addictions. What about our phones or computers? How about Netflix or other TV type of services? Our phones are an everyday item that spills into our family time, I would even say our worship time. Just a quick glance is all it takes to disrupt our time with others and with God.
We rely on our phones for information regarding work, news and weather. We seek companionship with others through Facebook. We use our phones when we are bored to play games (this is an addiction on a whole 'nother much higher level). Our children seem to be born with the ability to use phones that we have to take classes on just to make a phone call.
I am guilty of being addicted to my phone. I use it to look up scriptures for my blog, to look up spelling/definitions, and to find food or travel related "pins". I have 27 game apps on it. My music library has 14.27GB of downloaded music (after this blog, it will be less). I have 2 kindles (honestly, I have 4-one was a gift from a company and one is my child's-yes I'm justifying my hoarding of kindles) with a book library that would fill a bookshelf. Depression and a phone addiction will rob you of motivation. Before too long the house you spend a month cleaning is not as clean as you would like. But more than a not-so-clean house, let's look at what it can do to relationships.
Nose in phone means no communication to the person in the room with you. Nose in phone sends a silent (but LOUD) message to that person that they are not as important as your phone or whatever you are doing on that phone. You can also substitute TV or TV programs. Sitting in a room with someone unengaged is not quality time together. Our relationships suffer because our nose is where it should not be.
What if our addictions were to change who we are? Or how we worship? Give an introvert a phone and they are happy to not have to engage the world outside of that device. But give that same device to an extrovert and watch them become somewhat of an introvert. I have also seen a sweet natured person turn into a mean spirited bully because they can hide behind a computer screen. (Just because you think it, does not mean you have to say it, or that someone else needs to hear it.) What about worship? Phones are always connected to the internet. I have been told by someone that they do not like going to church for "x" reason, so they will just watch a service online. I went through a season of paralyzing anxiety that made just the thought of being around others terrifying. Going to church overwhelmed me. I had never experiences such anxiety. There were circumstances that allowed my runner's defense kick in overtime. I could not confront, so I buried. The burying allowed anxiety to develop. During this season I watched a preacher on TV. This device allowed me to worship. But was I really worshipping? Yes and No. Yes I was hearing a preacher bring me a message that was biblical. Yes I was spending time with God. However, I was not engaged in a worship service. (If you are unable to attend a worship service, I encourage you to listen to a podcast or a service online. But if you can physically go, do!)
Hebrews 10:25 "Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
1 Timothy 4:13 "Until I come, devote yourself to the pubic reading of Scriptures, to exhortation (an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something), to teaching."
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
These three verses encourage corporate worship. We need each other to experience worship. We need connection with each other and the spiritual gift each brings to have worship.
Our phone have made connecting to others easier. Technology is not a bad thing. Neither are food, shopping, or hobbies. But all these things need to be in moderation. They do not need to be a substitution. We need each other and it needs to be more face to face and less osmosis. AT&T had a commercial years ago that featured a song by Diana Ross. I find the commercial somewhat comical. "Reach Out & Touch Someone" by calling them. I daresay, put down the phone and make that connection in person...
Connecting with others thru this thing