Several years back I had a really interesting conversation with a mom in my youth group. She came up to me and said, “I am so tired of my daughter getting woken up in the middle of the night with her friend’s texting her.”
I replied, “Why don’t you have her charge her phone downstairs in the kitchen?”
“But it’s her alarm clock.” She said.
I thought, “If only there was some magical device you could purchase that would make a noise at a predetermined time of day . . . ”
What does it do to the soul to have ourselves connected to our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, year after year?
According to Time Magazine Online, “35% of Android and iPhone owners in the U.S. fire up mobile apps before getting out of bed, according to a survey by Ericsson ConsumerLab.” Maybe this points to the fact that we are overconnected? Do you feel like you and your students are TOO connected? Is there a time when you or your teens is not able to be reached by the outside world? Didn’t Jesus have to get away from everyone just so he could listen to his Father?
We haven’t set up barriers that tell technology to keep out. This is “Me” Time or “We” Time. I remember only having a landline in our home and having dinner together as a family, whenever the phone rang during dinner, mom would proclaim, “Let it ring! This is family time.” Which begs the question: Do we even still have a time like this when we just let it ring? Do we have family time?
What if your family had a no cell phone zone? For your fmaily it might be the dinner table, or the living room when you are all watching TV together. For some of you it might be the bedroom. Have the entire family charge their phones far away from their bedrooms so they can sleep without being interrupted. Might this become a solitary place like Jesus often needed in order to refocus.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Over and over we see time when Jesus gets away from the frenetic pace of life so He can just LISTEN. Is it possible that our cell phones actually keep us from LISTENING? Might the Verizon mantra, “Can you hear me now?” have been a prophetic voice warning us that these shiny little devices would actually KEEP us from listening to God’s voice?
What other places might be Cell Free Zones for you? Church? Restaurants? Movie Theaters? Friends homes?
What I mean is that you might still have your phone on you at these places, but you might actually turn them OFF so that you aren’t unnecessarily interrupted when you are at these places. Simply power it back up when you are leaving and resume your connection to the rest of the world.
So I challenge you to find ONE PLACE that will be a Cell Free Zone in your world this week.