“Presence is an essential element that we all need and desire in our deepest relationships. It’s unspoken. It’s true. It’s the greatest encouragement anyone can ever receive or give. Presence is a physical expression of love in the midst of a culture that never stops—it is to stop and be with someone that matters.”

Excerpt From: Jeff Shinabarger & Bob Goff. “More or Less.”

I asked the Lord how I could I be a better parent to my children. A quick, simple and straight forward answer: Stop multitasking. I don't always hear so clearly from the Lord. I'm still waiting for answers on things. God has an interesting way of being completely silent at times, yet others like this moment it is as if He has just been waiting for me to ask. Anxious to talk to his daughter, if only she'd stop being so distracted.

Ok, Lord. What does that need to look like for me? Compartmentalize your day. I understood. 3 words, well 5 total, and I new exactly what God was calling me to do to be a better parent. It's simple really. Put my phone down. Put the iPad away. Be present. Even in the midst of the mundane everyday tasks of laundry and dishes. Be present.

A few days later a friend randomly sent me an article to read titled Two Minutes That Could Have Cost Me Everything by Jennifer Meer.  It's an article about a mother who got distracted by the ding of her iPad, meanwhile her daughter was falling asleep in the bathtub. I encourage you to click on the link and read the article for yourself.  Ok, God, you are making this very clear for me. Be present.

Why is it so hard to walk around the house without the phone in our back pockets? What is so important in our lives that we must respond to right away? I don't think anything. I wonder if it's the fulfillment we get out of feeling important and liked that has become so important to us. It's almost as if our phones are speaking to us. Ding! Someone likes your photo on instagram. You mean something.  Ding! Someone commented on your status. You are important. Ding! There is an email from someone wanting to schedule an appointment. You are needed. Ding! A facebook friend wants to go out for Happy Hour. You are popular. Ding! Time for your weekly event. You are busy. Busy is good. Ding! Ding! Ding!

Meanwhile our children are pulling on our pant legs begging for our time. They want the attention our phones are getting. Yet we give them our half ass attention. We tell them we are watching their dance for the 30th time, but we're not.  We look at their art work and tell them it's beautiful, but we barely see what they've created. We play games with them, but while it's their turn we are responding to the Dings! We play with them outside, but we are really just sitting on the curb taking photos, posting and waiting, anxiously waiting for Dings! to begin.

I am a creative person whose love language is words of affirmation. So you can see how this has been dangerous for me. I noticed I was starting to define my worth by the number of Dings! I received throughout the day. The closer I kept my phone, the more I could post, the more Dings! I could hear, the better I would feel about myself.

How backwards is this? It saddens me to even admit it. My worth is not based in a phone or the people who cause my phone to Ding! My worth is found in the Lord. Therefore I need to put my phone down and be present. Whether it be a chore, playing with my kids, talking with my husband or listening to a friend I need to be present. Do one thing at a time and do that one thing really well. I've been stretched thin trying to do it all that nothing gets done well, that includes loving on the people in my life.

I'm trying to do a better job of choosing one place in my home for my phone and to keep it there throughout the day. Baby steps. A self satisfying addiction is hard to break. But if I want to be a better parent, wife, and friend I need to stop trying to do it all and focus on the life the Lord has given me and give that my full attention at the appropriate time.

1 comment:

  1. Linnea, wow. thank you for being so honest and sharing life with us. you are so not alone and this is such a battle. i battle with the idea daily.. should i do an internet fast? fb? rid of all social media because has become some kind of idol? so good to not only be asking and thinking about these questions, but acting on them. GREAT post. GREAT writing. What a GREAT God we serve who has given you such beautiful gifts. So thankful you share them with us :)