For years, when my daughters were young and I was a pastor, I lived under the tyranny of the telephone. I treated the ringing of the phone as a divine mandate, and I missed too many dinners and bedtime prayers with my daughters because of that phone—no, actually because of my choice to answer the phone.
Finally I discovered something that changed my life: phone calls are seldom from Mt. Sinai. There are few true emergencies and it won’t hurt people to wait an hour or a day for me to call. When my daughters were growing up there weren’t cell phones, and one of the best things about going out for the evening as a family was that nobody could reach us! We can do the same thing now—but it requires silencing the phone. You don’t have to see who’s calling, texting, tweeting, Facebooking, or…fill in the blank. In fact, if you do, you’re saying they are more important than the people you are with. “Wherever you are, be there.”
Nanci and I learned over thirty years ago that the phone is our servant, not our master. By God’s grace that lesson stuck. Sure, we still get calls during dinner. We just don’t answer them! And we are guilt-free, because we know it’s what God wants. (The messages come in, and if it’s important we’ll pick up. But guess what—it’s almost never important enough to interrupt dinner!) Looking back, I’m amazed and embarrassed that until I was thirty I let that piece of technology disrupt me and my family. All because I didn’t take control. Thank you, Lord, for waking me up when you did!