When a close call threatened her iPhone, Erin Ford found that her phone was a little too close to her heart. In this new year, what, or who, is close to your heart? How can you best hear from God? As you read Erin’s story and reflections, ask God: “Mold my heart to be like Yours” — one of the prayer points of Pray2020.

My first cycle ride last summer was meant to be challenging and exhilarating. Instead, it had one too many scary moments.

First, a man driving by honked, yelled, pulled over (almost getting out of his car), and swore at my friend and me just because we were biking on the road, preventing him from driving faster than he could have been. Hadn’t he heard of “share the road”?

Second, my iPhone bounced out of my bike basket (I know, it was a terrible idea to put it there), and I ran over it with my bike. The next thing I noticed was a car barreling down the road, headed straight for my phone. I jumped off my bike, ran back frantically waving and shouting, and threw myself at my phone in an attempt to save it.

In that split moment, I saw my life flash before my eyes. MY LIFE. Or my iPhone’s life. Is there a difference? There should be. In my heart, there wasn’t.

Thankfully the car swerved, and I was able to snatch the phone from the ground and scamper onto the sidewalk.

My iPhone lives. So do I. But was it worth the risk? Is my life worth the cost of a $1000 phone? Though my heart wants to say yes, the answer must definitely be no.

Put down your phone and live

I’m not alone in this. Texting and driving is still alarmingly common. Everywhere people’s necks are doubled downwards, their eyes glued to a screen. Admit it: you bring your phone with you to the washroom, right?

What kind of society are we building? Seemingly, it’s one where we’re willing to prioritize our phones over our own lives or the lives of others. The cost looks different for everyone, whether it’s our physical health (like me, darting in front of traffic), our friendships, or our mental or emotional health.

In a timely reminder, Unplug iGen, Jaquelle Crowe calls us to limit tech and use social media to build God’s kingdom (not our own). She urges us to be freed by the gospel, and protect ourselves with accountability.

Amen, sister. We need to put down our phones, physically, spiritually, and emotionally — and live.

Fear of silence and loneliness

I’m still processing why we grip our phones so tightly. In a society obsessed with connection and FOMO (fear of missing out), we fear silence, isolation, and being alone with our thoughts. What will be exposed in the empty space? Perhaps it will be pain, disappointment, or shame. Over what, I’m not sure. Something bubbling beneath the busyness of my life threatens to surface. Because of this, I’m quick to fill the space with comparison, photos, filters, and reminders that I’m needed and approved.

Do my phone and social media really give me these things I long for? No. Just shadows of them. Even when I feel affirmed by likes and comments, I’m gripped with an insatiable desire for more.

God speaks in the silence

As a Christian, I find it ironic that I quickly fill silence with distraction. It’s often in that in-between space where God speaks most clearly. In the past, God has led me into seasons of silence, providing more time and focus to hear Him speak through the Bible or prayer, even in the mundane moments of weeding my garden.  

We need to die to those urges to distract ourselves every time there’s silence. During these moments God opens our eyes to what’s going on around us and shows us a plan of action.

Perhaps it’s acknowledging and smiling at the person sitting alone in the coffee shop. Or thanking the person at the counter instead of texting while he helps you. It could mean giving yourself time to process those deeper emotions that bubble up when you’re alone, turning to God for clarity.

Let’s allow our phones to serve us, and guard ourselves from serving them. Our lives are worth far more than a device. Let’s live like it.

BY ERIN FORD

My iphone is greater than my life was originally published on Power to Change.