The device you hold in your hand is an amazing tool. Its manifold uses are yet untold. When contemplating all the possibilities we often say, “the sky’s the limit.” But surprisingly, that device you so casually slide into your back pocket, allows you to exceed even the limits of the sky, and gaze at the stars.
Truly, its wonders never cease. I’m grateful for all its functions of convenience and connection. But, as I reluctantly hand you this star-gazing tool, I’m less concerned with the galaxies, and more with what’s happening on the ground.
Undoubtedly, you’ll use it to connect with your friends. Separated and yet together, you’ll LOL and share inside jokes. Your friend will share her thoughts on how unfair Mrs. So-and-So is, and you’ll come to her side in agreement. Hopefully, with each and every interaction, you’ll remember what you’ve been taught about honor, respect, and even gossip. The good news is, you’re not going to be left to figure it out alone. You’ve got Dad and me to help you.
All Things in Their Proper Place
Much to your dismay, I’ve put off giving this to you for as long as I possibly could. For while its benefits are enticing, I know once you have it, there’s no going back. (But if need be, I can and I will take it away without notice and without apology.)
As you may have noticed, it doesn’t take long to become dependent on this technological wonder. I hope you’ll enjoy it, but not become enslaved by it. As you get older, you’ll discover the difference between those two things is sometimes hard to discern.
So beloved, as one who’s struggled to keep this thing in its proper place, I want to warn of one of its many dangers.
The Mindless Scroll
The mindless scroll feels good, at least at first. It fills up those moments when you’re uncomfortable. You’ll scroll when you’re waiting for me to arrive, or when you’re bored at home, or when you’re uninterested in what’s happening around you. I’ve done this more times than I can count. But the mindless scroll is never really mindless.
- It can quickly slip from entertainment, to entrapment.
- It can trigger delight one minute, and depression the next.
- It can inspire your creations, but then inflame covetousness.
- It promises proximity, but I hope you’ll prefer presence.
- It can inform, but too easily indoctrinate.
- It rewards hearts and likes for selfies, more than selflessness.
- It focuses on outward beauty, more than an inner beauty that never fades.
- It’s designed to make you a passive learner, instead of a passionate pursuer.
No, dear one, very little of what we do is neutral. Where we direct our attention, our hearts and minds go with us. Are we seeking escape when we mindlessly scroll? Do we look down at our screens more than we look out to those around us?
Every time you mindlessly scroll, you’re making a choice and becoming more like something. The question is what will you choose to behold?
Behold What’s Beautiful
Of all the gifts I’ve given my children, I’m most conflicted about their first phones. I ask myself each time, does he or she have enough Bible in their heart to discern all they’ll see? The answer is always, ‘No.’ But we’re committed to protecting them as best we can, and walking with them through it all.
This gift sheds new light on what we’re exhorted to behold or to think about, in Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Am I ready for her to have a phone? Yes and no. How will she learn unless I give her the opportunity to use it and probably abuse it?
Without a doubt, mistakes will be made. But what better time to help shape her affections and show her grace, than when she is young, and under my roof?
Maybe the better question to ask is how much longer can I go without being able to text her I’m running late? Probably not long.
Set Your Mind On Things Above
So dear daughter, this is a tool I hope will bless your life. It doesn’t define you, and your life is not found in or on it. I pray you’ll use it to set your mind on things that are far above even the farthest galaxy, and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). I hope it will cause you to look out more than you look down. Use it, but don’t be used by it. And finally, beware of the mindless scroll. There’s so much more to this life than what we carry in our back pockets. Whether you intend for it to happen or not, you will become what you behold.
P.S. Don’t even think about social media! 😉 One baby step at a time.
P.P.S. Friends, next week I’ll be starting an Easter Series. I invite you to follow along by grabbing your free copy of the coloring book The Wonderous Cross.