Holland & Usry March 2018

Put Down Your Phone AND START LIVING!

f you watched the Super Bowl halftime show this year, I’m sure you noticed the moment when Justin Timberlake went into the stands.

in a picture. If you think about it, taking a picture can be exchanging a real-life moment for an artificial one. Recently, I thought of it this way: Which will my children most likely remember, the posed photo in winter gear on our snowcapped lawn or when Daddy took ‘em on in a snowball fight?


He stopped in front of a young man, and the kid froze up for a second. But he quickly recovered and did exactly what many of us would do to make the most of an unexpectedly fantastic moment: He pulled out his camera for a selfie. Forevermore, he will be known as “selfie kid.” I don’t shame the young man for his behavior. But it is evidence of a disturbing trend I’ve noticed recently, where we are living through our cellphones. I’m guilty of it myself. My children have the habit of being hopelessly adorable at a moment’s notice. When that happens, I reflexively reach for my phone to take a photo of them. What I’ve realized is this: I’m lost in my cellphone instead of soaking up the moment. And that’s where life is truly lived — even glorified — in these unexpected, joyous moments we never get back. Whatever the outcome, the moment has passed, and I’ve spent it fumbling with my phone instead of reveling in how incredibly blessed I am to have that moment and maybe even share it with them. Don’t get me wrong, photographs are important. We all appreciate having permanent keepsakes of once-in- a-lifetime experiences. The problem comes when we prioritize the photos of the experience more than the experience itself. If your trip to the beach or Gatlinburg disintegrates into an endless series of photo-ops, you risk losing the magic of moment by trying to capture it

Come to think of it, maybe the biggest change cellphones brought to taking pictures isn’t how we take them, but why . They used to be something we kept for ourselves

— stored in books, only to come out on those rare occasions when we feel like reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Now, we take photos to show everyone else what we’re up to, so we can blow up Facebook with our total awesomeness, which has a tendency to look like everyone else’s. I guess what it comes down to is whether or not our phones are enhancing our experiences or distracting us from them. Technology marches forward, and that’s a great thing for the most part. But it becomes a problem when you pursue life more on a screen than in the real world. So here’s what I decided: Given the choice between sharing joy and capturing the moment on my phone, I’m committed to sharing joy. While pictures can be lost or destroyed, moments we hold in our hearts don’t fade away. And yes, there’s a balance to be struck. Don’t think for a second we’re giving up every photo-op for Lent! I just don’t want to be preoccupied with my phone when the majesty of real life is unfolding right in front of me.

I don’t shame the young man for his behavior. But it is evidence of a disturbing trend I’ve noticed recently, where we are living through our cellphones.

Spring’s coming! Put down your phone and live!

–Rob Usry


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