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10 Signs Your Phone is an Idol

By: Kristen Clark

Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish you could rewind the time and do things differently?

I had one of those moments several weeks ago. I was running late and needed to grab a quick birthday present for my little sister. I zoomed to Old Navy and found a few cute shirts for her and then hurried home to get to the party on time.

I set my bags down and reached into my purse to grab my phone.

It wasn’t there.

I ran outside and checked in the car, but it wasn’t there either. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I must have left it at the store.

My fears had come true – my phone was still inside Old Navy.

Thankfully, with modern technology I was able to log in online to a program called Find My iPhone and find its exact location. My fears had come true – my phone was still inside Old Navy. I immediately called the store.

After six minutes of being on hold, they returned only to tell me that nobody had turned in a lost iPhone 5. I went back to the store to check for myself, knowing it was probably in somebodies pocket by now.

To make a long story short, I never found my iPhone again.

It had most likely been stolen. I left Old Navy with a knot in my stomach.

To be honest, I’m normally not the kind of person who gets attached to my electronics. If something breaks, or gets lost, I don’t usually cry about it. This time, something was different. It felt like a part of ME had been stolen.

I felt so lost without having instant access to my phone, my apps, my photos, my music, etc. For the first time, I realized how incredibly dependent and attached I had become to my iPhone.

Over the next two days, I learned what was it was like to live without a cell phone (I know that sounds like a short amount of time, but to me, it felt like forever).

Instead of turning to my phone for a quick text, I had to figure out a different way to communicate. Instead of looking through my apps when I had a spare second, I was forced to sit there quietly.

Without my phone, I had no other choice but to be still and silent a lot more than I was used to. During my many moments of quietness, God began opening my eyes to some issues I had in my heart. He began showing me areas of my life that were consumed with electronics.

Instead of engaging in meaningful conversations with actual people, I would often turn to my phone.

Instead of using my time wisely, I would waste valuable minutes doing something pointless on my phone. Instead of having a focused Bible and prayer time, I would get easily distracted by the buzz of my phone. I slowly realized that I had become a slave to the demands of my phone.

I realized that my phone had taken priority in my life over family, friends, and even God at times.

My phone was becoming an idol to me – something I felt like I couldn’t live without.

How about you? Where does your phone rank in your life? Do you give more attention to your phone than you do to your siblings, parents and friends? Does your phone come first, or does God come first? How would you feel if you didn’t have access to your phone for 24 hours?

Not sure if your phone is an idol? Take the test below.

Your phone is most likely an idol if…

  1. You have to check it first thing in the morning before doing anything else.
  2. You sleep with your phone ON and check every text message that comes in during the night.
  3. You panic if you end up in a social situation without your phone.
  4. You would rather be on your phone than making LIVE conversation at the dinner table.
  5. You turn to your phone for comfort the moment you feel awkward in a situation.
  6. You text while you’re having a real-life conversation.
  7. You get on your phone every moment you’re not “doing” something else.
  8. You have to check that new text message the second it comes in.
  9. You get on your phone at least once an hour to see if you have any new Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., notifications.
  10. You feel the urge to be on your phone when you’re checking-out at the store.

I want to challenge you to seriously consider the 10 scenarios from above. 

How did you measure up? How much of an idol has your phone become? Be honest!

I want to challenge you to take some time to pray and ask God to show you any blind spots in your own heart. Having a phone is a very handy thing, we just need to make sure it stays in its proper place.

One thing that helps me keep my phone under control is by limiting the rooms and times that I will use it in.

Zack and I have a “no using phones in our bedroom” policy. That rule helps both of us stay focused on each other when we’re at home instead of zoning out with our phones. I have also made it a habit to never allow my phone to interrupt a face to face conversation when I’m with a real person.

If I’m talking to someone in person and a text or call comes in, I ignore it until I’m finished talking. It helps me stay focused on the conversation and makes the person I’m talking to feel valuable and important.

What are some practical ways you can take control of your cell phone usage?

What kinds of things could you do to make sure your phone doesn’t become/remain an idol in your life? Share your ideas in the comment section below! I love hearing from you.

Photo Credit: David Castillo 

Girl on Cell Phone

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  • Denise Relis

    If you have proclaimed that Jesus is the center of your life, and start slipping unconsciously or consciously replacing Him with something else, you get this unsettling feeling that you are doing something wrong. Sadly, I have been on that situation repeatedly, until I realized I am no longer honoring God, and so I have decided it is time to do something about it. I believe that in order for us to change, it should start with a decision. However, we alone cannot change our own situation. We always fall short. That is why we need to ask for God’s grace.
    Cellphones are today’s necessity unfortunately. And, it is unwise to get rid of them since it is one way of communication. Cellphones alone isn’t the issue. It’s the way we give importance to it. We must decide that it should not control us, we should control it.

    Here are some of my practical ways to control my cellphone/ material addiction:
    1. Pray, that God would give you the grace to let go of your addiction
    2. Set Boundaries. I decided that I will use my phone from 9AM-9PM only.
    3. Instead of talking or comforting a friend through cellphone, I make it a habit to set an appointment and actually meet with them.
    4. Whenever I am out, I place my phone inside my bag, not in my pocket, as I have noticed that I frequently check my phone if it is inside my pocket
    5. Before I started to limit the usage of my phone, before I started all these, I decided that I want to please God more than satisfy my urge to check my cellphone. Decision will help you see what you really want.

  • Rachel

    I wasn’t allowed to have a cellphone until I began driving long distances. Basically, I lived seventeen years without a cellphone. Now that I have one, I understand the temptation to become attached to it. For me, I try not to get too attached to any form of social media. I don’t use my phone past 9:00. I try to use a phone for the reason it was originally invented: to call people, hear their voice on one end, and know they will hear my voice on another. I also use my phone for a GPS. I’ve been learning I shouldn’t rely so much on that when I should be trusting God will get me safely to my destination. He’s never failed me once.

  • Dee

    This is so me! Until about a few months ago, I was obsessed with my phone. I took it wth me wherever I went, and paniced whenever it wasn’t on me, even if I knew it was back at home or in my mom’s purse. One day, my phone stopped working. I was so relieved when my parents told me they were going to buy me another one. When my dad came home from work that evening with a bag in his hand, I was super excited, and was secretly hoping that he got me the iPhone 8 that just came out a few days prior. However, I was very dissapointed when i opened the bag to find a flip phone! My parents explained that I wasn’t taking enough care of my previous phone, and that it had become an idol. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a blessing in disguise. During the next few days, I was getting used to using my laptop for contacting people and waking up in the morning without my iPhone on my bedside table. I didn’t realize it at the time, but something amazing was about to happen. I used to get up early every day so that I would have time to go on my social medias. Since I was still adjusted to getting up so early with nothing to do, I read instead. It started with reading secular novels, but when I ran out of novels to read, i started to read the best book of all: God’s Word. I was super encouraged every morning and I didn’t realize it at first, but I would apply what I read that morning to my daily life. Now, I’m actually exited to get up every morning. The expiriance also taught me that I don’t NEED a smartphone, because like I said earlier, I can do everything on my laptop, and having actual conversations with people is better than using your phone to pass time. I’m not telling you to swap out your iPhone for a smartphone, but just because the world tells you you NEED a smartphone doesn’t mean it’s true. I’ve had a flip phone for a few months now and I’m still standing. What you do NEED, though, it a daily dose of the Word, and I’m happy have just that.


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