I was starting to feel concerned about myself.
I was finding myself...
...very easily annoyed during the day by my youngest daughter...
...much too quickly frustrated by both my daughter's normal, learning disobedience...
...overwhelmed by and anxious about the lengthy to-do list that was forever looming over my head...
...discontent and really wishing that I could just be doing something else other than playing dolls or breaking up ANOTHER argument between a three year old and a five year old.
And you know what I found myself wishing I could be doing? What little respite I noticed myself turning to over and over and over again?
I almost hate jumping on the bandwagon of saying that 'the iPhone is really changing our culture'...but the truth is...I'm finding that it's changing me. And I'm concerned.
When I first realized that I was concerned about my relationship with my iPhone, I started tuning into how my use of technology leaves me feeling. Here are some of the words I came up with to try to label the disquiet that is growing in me:
- fragmented in my mind
- not completely mentally present mentally and emotionally frequently with my children and sometimes with my husband
- itching to look something up or multitask when I'm playing or talking with my children.
Those descriptions were sobering enough to motivate me to try to find some good resources about technology and its influence on our culture. Here are a few that I spent some time reading:
So I read these three articles. And I thought about them throughout my day. Later that night, I plopped down on my couch, tired at the end of the day, and I started praying out loud.
"Oh, God," I said. "I'm not sure what's going on with me. I am getting so annoyed so easily at Bethie. I don't know if I just need a break from the daily grind of mothering...or if there's something to what I'm wondering about this technology thing...but I need to confess something to You. I think I do have some kind of addiction thing going on with my phone. I want to check it as soon as I wake up. My first thought is CERTAINLY not that I need You, and that I need You desperately for the tasks You've called me to for this day. I don't re-orient my mind when I wake up. I just jump in with my own strength. My own thoughts. My own mindset. And maybe that's part of my annoyance at my precious children. I don't have Your mind inside of me transforming me. I don't even have on my radar most of the time that You commanded the ones that are a part of Your family to love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength...and then to love others as themselves. Geez. That's not really part of conscious thoughts about mothering during the day and I'm ashamed to admit it. I need Your forgiveness, Jesus. And You know what else, God? I would rather be Pinterest-ing than playing dollhouse. I would rather be scrolling Facebook than chatting in the car. I'd rather be multi-tasking and getting things done than slowing down and 'uni-taking'...really being present with my girls. I confess that to You, God. What is best for me and my family and my children doesn't really feel best to me. It feels too hard. I need Your help."
So when I opened my eyes in the morning, guess what? I didn't touch my phone. I laid there in my bed and I said, "God, I don't have what it takes to mother these girls today. I'm not going to really want to be present with them. But You've got what I need. And You're willing to pour out all that I need for today. So would You help me?"
And the we went through our morning together.
I zipped my phone in my purse. I usually put it on my lap in the car. But I realized that it doesn't really need to be there, does it? There's pretty much nothing that someone will say that I really NEED to answer RIGHT NOW. They can wait a few minutes.
I thought of a list that I needed to make while the girls and I were at Dunkin' Donuts together. But then I thought, 'Well, Lord, there are times to make lists, and there are times to be present with my girls. I won't die if I don't make that list right now. And I won't die if I happen to forget something because I don't write it down this very second. So I just entrust that list of stuff to You. Could You help me to remember it later on at a better time?'
A Pinterest idea popped into my brain. I pushed it aside. No need to be multi-tasking 24-7, always planning and researching my next project. There is time and space for that. But the time should not be 'squeezed into every single extra little second of downtime."
When we were in the dollar store together, the thought flitted through my mind to grab my phone and check my texts or Facebook just real quick. But guess what?! I had left my phone in the car on purpose! Eat it, iPhone! Not gonna control me and my relationship with my girls anymore! I'm gonna be present to them! I'm gonna look them right in their littles eyes as we're perusing good old dollar store paraphernalia while I can...because the sad thing is that they're gonna be 35 in the blink of an eye.
And don't these two look like Happy Girls? I happen to think that there's an extra special happiness on their countenances because their Mama chose them today over distraction, over fragmentation, over being scattered.
And when we got home...they ran upstairs to play together...and I sat down for five minutes...and I made my list. And I checked my texts. And I found that it really wasn't so appealing after all. Once it was put in its place for a morning, the phone didn't seem so magical. And I didn't feel so fragmented. I felt more whole. Even though it was just a morning. So it makes me wonder what a lifestyle of putting that iPhone in its place will be like. I hope I can find out.
For further thoughts a few weeks later, check out: Eat It iPhone Part II