I have a problem
I always knew I had a problem, I still know I do. It is a subtle addiction that seems insignificant but it silently steals. It steals from my relationship with God, it steals from enjoying my wife and kids, and it steals from almost any present situation I am in because my heart struggles to fully be present. What addiction might this be?
Here it is: I am addicted to my cell phone. While I have always realized this can be a problem, and my wife has even told me that it is a problem. I have never really understood the gravity of it until it was taken away.
This past week I went on a cruise, it was an opportunity to unplug, disconnect, detach from the outside world. You would think this would bring enjoyment right? I must admit the thought of it was, but in reality I seriously had a hard time. I found that not having my cell phone caused me to twitch. It caused discomfort, it made me think what if someone needs me? What if something has happened? What if my house gets broken into and I don’t know about it? All of those “what if’s” began to flood my heart.
The crazy part was is that I actually had my cell phone right there. The problem was that it was disconnected to the things that my soul was dependent upon because there was not cell service or internet. This may sound crazy, but the stuff that I found I was dependent upon really doesn’t matter one bit. Here are a few of many examples.
1. Approval: “I can’t see who liked that post of my Facebook page.”
Seriously! My heart is prone to the acceptance of others more than the ones who really matter. Ultimately God... I depend too much upon other people thinking well of me. In short I am an approval addict.
2. Comfort: “I can’t see how much money is in the bank account.”
Why do I need access to this 24-7? I find comfort in money, or what is in my bank account. Somehow having access to simply the knowledge that I am not going to go bankrupt comforts me. Scenarios that are far from real cross my mind and make me anxious. This is because the comfort of my self worth is not in Christ but in my net worth.
3. Control: “What if someone needs me”?
This is the dirty little secret on pastors that all people may not be aware of. We are control freaks. It may look different for each person, and mine just happens to be attached to others peoples needs. I have somehow bought into the lie that I can be someone else’s savior. If someone needs me then somehow I can have the ability to control his or her life. This is wrong especially for a pastor. It reveals 2 things about me, 1. I am not anyone’s savior, especially not my own. 2. I need a savior just as much or in my own mind even more than anyone else.
4. Power: “If something happens I don’t have the power to do anything about it.”
Do I really have the power over my life that I think I do? Can I really do, stop, start, change, or even manipulate the world around me to my advantage as much as I believe I can? No I cannot, this is deception and I fall in head over heels to believe it. If God is the one who is all-powerful then why do I think I am him? By simply having a cell phone at my fingertips I falsely believe that I have the world in my hands.
Growing pains, a matter of the heart.
Here is what I found to be true and here is where I have a long way to go and grow. The cell phone is not the problem… My heart is! This little shiny object that never leaves me represents a problem deeper than itself. I don’t believe in the sufficiency of Christ.
My mind is on me, and the temporary gratification of the here and now. This is selfishness, worldliness, and idolatry. Idolatry is when we put anything over and above God in our hearts and lives. In my case it is a cell phone and I am an addict. This cell phone tugs at my heartstrings and claims loyalty to my soul.
The Bible gives me this truth to walk in repentance and cause me to stop twitching when my cell phone cannot provide for the longings of my heart like I want it to. I am reminded to look to Christ.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
I can view things from a different vantage point.
Because Christ has died for me he reorients the way I view Facebook, my bank account, pastoring people, loving people. These things do not exist for me, but for him. Because my life has risen with him and because of him, I can view things from a different vantage point. I can trust his word; I can know that when circumstances do not go my way that God’s plan is perfect. Why? My life is hidden in God. Nothing can defeat me, because nothing has or ever will defeat him. My response is to worship God, and not the things on this world like my cell phone that makes me twitch. My response is to give my life wholeheartedly in surrender to God.
I need a new addiction and God is helping me with this: I want to be addicted to God’s transforming grace the continually brings healing to my broken idolatrous heart.