when you ask God about an iPhone

iphone5for months i’ve been going back and forth in my head about whether or not to upgrade to a smartphone. i am, afterall, one of the only people i know who still uses a “dumbphone.” and the iPhone 5 has really caught my attention because of the camera in it!: a camera that good, that fits in my pocket, plus all the really great photo apps out there that i’d be so geeked out to play with…. yes please! for financial reasons, it wasn’t a real option for a long time, but then a couple pieces came together to make it so that suddenly i could consider it as a real possibility.

but the decision — in spite of my initial “heck yes i want the phone with the camera and the photo apps!!” — has been super difficult. like ridiculously so. there is a large part of me that is inclined to steer clear of it entirely, going to the grave with my “dumbphone” in hand. you see, i have a tendency to internet addiction. not in any naughty way, just in the “i-got-on-here-to–check-“just-one-thing-real-quick”-but-then-i-clicked-a-link-that-led-to-a-link-that-led-to-over-an-hour-spent-reading-blogs-and-looking-at-photos-instead-of-doing-my-chores-or-playing-with-my-kid.” you know what that’s like, right? i bet lots of you can relate to that phenomenon.

so i’m asking the question, “will this get me closer to the life i want to live?” and what is the life i want to live?: one in which i am truly present to my real life. the physical, touchable one. the life that includes my children and my husband, my home and my neighborhood, my friends and my God. i don’t want to see them only a instagram-worthy images or status-update material. i want to live my life beautifully, whether or not the world is watching me through my facebook page, instagram account or blog.

and i’ve been worried that if i got the iPhone 5 that it would make it much, much harder to live that kind of a life.

BUT i just kinda want it. and it would be nice to fire off a note to someone when i’m thinking of them, to pull up a recipe in the kitchen, or to take a photo or video of a beautiful moment. right now, those activities are very tied to my desktop computer and my large DSLR, which puts natural boundaries around my access to them, for better or for worse.

anyway, all this to say that eventually my dear husband got weary of listening to me deliberate while ringing my hands together in fear of making a bad decision, and so he said, “maybe you should just ask God about it.” oh. right. i can do that. 🙂

so i listened, and i wrote as i heard His voice. here is some of it:

” i am proud of you. you are free. you get it and I’ll give you guidelines. don’t be afraid of yourself; i’m greater in you…. [some practical guidelines].. pray — use it as inspiration for prayer.”

at this point i interrupted to ask, “but why would i have one? what’s a good reason to have one?”

“fun! joy! i made you to be geeked out about things like camera apps. anything you put in my hands i can use for good things! like [you already do with] your camera!”

then, as in response to my “i’m not sure i’m buying this, God”:

“you don’t have to have one, darling. i’m just telling you you’re free and i will walk with you through it if you do get one. if you will trust me with it. in this really practical way, trust me. i can teach you how to master it.”

alright, then. that’s not quite was i was expecting to hear. (truthfully, part of me is still doubting it was His voice, so i’ll ask Him for some confirmation.)

but He showed me that i was rejecting having this useful tool and fun toy out of fear that i wouldn’t be able to control myself. now i see that the reason i can be free to get one — or not — is because He gives me a spirit not of fear, but of self-discipline, if i’ll lean into Him and trust Him for it.

and then i got to thinking that in some ways perhaps God is most glorified not when we remove ourselves entirely from good-things-that-can-become-idols so much as He is glorified when we invite Him into those places, yielding and surrendering to Him each step of the way as He teaches us how to order it rightly. you see, if i just swear off smartphones or facebook because they can get to be too big in my life, i’m still relying on myself to keep myself righteous. but if i step forward to receive them as good gifts, holding His hand as i go, i must rely on Him to show me how to live with them well!

what do you think of this, reader-friend? seriously. does this sound like the voice of the Good Shepherd to you? are you surprised by what i heard?

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8 thoughts on “when you ask God about an iPhone

  1. In reading your thoughts, I saw my new phone as an easier way to disconnect from real people. At the same time I can connect electronically easier too. But I find it in my hand, glancing at it, not wanting to miss out for even 5 minutes if someone texts me, etc.
    It has made me more aware of the phone, and therefore less aware of the faces in front of me. It takes discipline to leave it in another room when I am supposed to be interacting with people.
    Thanks for the thoughts.

  2. This makes so much sense to me. I’ve been praying for an undivided heart lately in my parenting and relationships. Being fully present… and yes, FREEDOM is exactly what I’ve found. Freedom from addiction or compulsion. Freedom to find joy in the little things and be present with what I choose.

    And I think you’re right. When you feel your attention or your heart getting clouded by it, surrender. Ask God about it. And just be aware.

    I’m totally with you on this. I’ll keep you accountable if you keep me accountable! 🙂

  3. Perfect. I think you should enjoy your phone, and i will enjoy seeing the pictures and peeking into your beautful life via facebook, instagram, etc.

  4. Seriously sounds like living in fear. Glad abba free’d you of it. (Sounds like my mother in law, her reason for not drinking alcohol is fear on losing control and becoming an alcoholic, perhaps the sin of fear or doubting yourself is a bigger problem.) I know you’ll be fine, don’t you guys already have other apple handhelds? You do fine with those, there won’t be a difference other than the benefit of having a map when you get lost, finding a gluten free pizza joint when traveling somewhere new, or like you said a bitty little camera in your pocket.

  5. isn’t it wonderful when God surprises you by wanting to be generous, frivolous even, because He LOVES you and wants to give you good things. I get worried about prosperity gospel, but the stingy gospel is just as dangerous! enjoy!

  6. Pingback: the iPhone | first the kingdom

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