Missions is….giving up Convenience

As a missionary there are times when I rely on forms of technology far too much. And this addiction to technology is definitely most evident with my iPhone.

My iPhone 6s is something that I use for everything, admittedly too much. So when it started acting up on Friday afternoon my initial response was panic.

I walked into the house Friday and plugged the phone into a charger while making lunch. A while later I checked the phone, and found it had only gone up a few percentage points, which was strange. After thirty minutes, the percentage had actually gone down!

Frantically, I tried using other cords, but the result was the same. My phone would go up a few percentage points, and then start dropping. By 6:00 Friday night it refused to charge at all.

The problem is probably my phone battery that needs to be replaced. I’m planning to go to get it fixed Monday morning.

Friday did give me flashbacks to when my iPhone died in 2016….and reminded me of a worst case scenario.

I may be without a smartphone!

in 2016 my beloved iPhone 4 gave up the ghost. At the time, I didn’t have funds to buy a new phone, and bringing one from the states isn’t worth the money. Customs would tax me the price of the phone itself once it got here.

So for months I used a block phone

  1. No Facebook app
  2. No twitter
  3. No WhatsApp
  4. No easy texting

At first, this was absolutely awful for me. I would instinctively reach into my pocket in moments of boredom, only to realise my iPhone was no longer usable. The interesting thing is after a while I got used to using a block phone.

I was able to return to the States for a visit in early 2017 and purchase my iPhone 7, but the time without a smartphone was not as painful as I imagined it would be after a few weeks.

My addiction to a smartphone reveals a pretty nasty truth about myself and others….

We worship the convenience technology

Smartphones along with other forms of technology have put a wealth of information at our fingertips. Thanks for 3G, or LTE data packages we can do an amazing amount of tasks within seconds. Yet that convenience instead doesn’t give us more time.

Cal Newport in his excellent book “Digital Minimalism”. Points out that our technology, and smartphones along with social media apps especially, are designed to draw more of our time instead of create more free time.

Yes we are able to get more done in a shorter amount of time with technology. But that same technology demands more and more of our time.

In 2016, the loss of my iPhone had a dramatic affect on me because it made communicating harder. Yet I over time realised the less convenient life was in a way better because less of my time was spent staring at a screen.

Friday night I had to ask myself a serious question….

What if my iPhone isn’t fixable?

Can I go back to living without a smartphone? A life without convenience?

The truth is I believe my phone can be fixed easily, should be up and running in a few days. But my experience in 2016 showed me it was indeed possible to live without the convenience of a smartphone. And Friday reminded me that the Lord desires I be willing to embrace that life again.

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