What was supposed to enhance my life, was actually ruining it. I had allowed that hunk of plastic to constantly vie for my attention. I was always anxiously waiting and wondering when the next notification would come in. If I didn't hear any notifications for a while, I'd turn on my screen and check anyway. I felt restless and distracted; overstimulated and over-connected. Downtime disappeared. There were no moments to decompress, no time to think, no minutes to reflect on the events of my day. Each spare moment was filled with news articles, emails, photos, and texts. It wasn't until my wife and I were switching cell phone companies and had to go without our phones for a week that I realized how anxious my phone had made me, and how happy I was to be without it!
So after much prayer and consideration, I decided to disconnect. I sold my smartphone, got a cheap dumb phone and decided to only occasionally carry my small tablet to work meetings so I can take notes or schedule appointments. In the process of disconnecting, I figured I might as well delete my Facebook too. I hated Facebook anyway. I mean, who cares what your old High School friends are eating for lunch? Your half-eaten plate of food is gross anyway! If there are important people in my life, I'm sure we'll stay in touch. Heck, we might even actually call each other and have a real conversation since I won't be catching every unimportant detail of their life in my news feed. So I deleted my personal Facebook account and haven't regretted it once.
The smart phone was a little harder to let go of than my Facebook. The first few days without it were rough. I missed my constant companion and kept reaching into my pocket only to be let down. Soon, though, the letdown turned into a sense of freedom. Life became more enjoyable. It was the little things, like being aware of the beauty in nature while walking down the street (I was actually looking up for once, not down at my feet!). I didn’t feel the pressure and anxiousness of wondering when my next alert would come in. It was so relieving to know that my emails were locked in their “cage” (on my PC) and couldn’t come growling at me whenever they pleased…indeed, I had the power to access them when I was ready. I've been able to do some serious thinking and planning for the different ministries God has entrusted me with. I'm able to reflect on the events of my day, and my interactions with people. My wife and I are having more fulfilling conversations because my attention is no longer divided. I am enjoying time with my sweet daughter because I have no "intruding adults" trying to get my attention while I am with her. Besides the emotional / spiritual health and freedom that I've found, I recovered all sorts of time to do productive things around the house and even take a second job to make some extra income!
Yes, life is good without my smartphone and Facebook. Better than it's ever been. After three years in the alternate universe of the internet, it's good to be back in the real world. I look forward to whatever lies ahead.