It is estimated that the average person spends roughly 23 days a year looking down at their cell phone. Technology can help us stay in touch with what is going on around the world, but it can also cause us to miss the world that is right in front of us. And if we do look up, we often take pictures and videos of God’s beauty that surrounds us, and thus we see it through a 5 inch screen.

I love to people watch. But whether I’m sitting in an airport, a restaurant or even a park, most people are all doing the same thing. They all have their heads down looking at their phones. I have even seen people texting the person they are sitting right next to. We shouldn’t need to walk into a tree, while our head is down looking at our phone, in order to notice God’s beauty around us. And we definitely shouldn’t fall into a fountain because we couldn’t put our phone down long enough to see where we were walking (yes, I have seen it happen).

We live on our phones and use social networks to communicate, and yet it’s amazing how we can have hundreds or even thousands of friends on social media, and somehow manage to feel alone. We attempt to use social networking as a way to better connect to family and friends. We take a selfie or post a short video so that we can share our lives and allow people to see what we are up to.

In reality, we don’t need a thousand friends we never talk to. Instead we need a few friends we can actually talk to, hang out with and receive love from. Our self-worth shouldn’t come from how many friends we have on Facebook and how many likes we can get from a post.

Also, it’s nice to take a few pictures, but not if you take 10,000 pictures and the only time you will ever look at them is when you run out of disc space, and need to make room on your phone for more pictures. And buying more storage space is probably not the answer. Rather, we need to take a few less pictures and actually enjoy the moment. Personally, I often forget to take pictures and miss the chance to capture the moment to look back on later; but sometimes I think that is actually better than taking too many.

Mobile technology can be a great tool, but using technology as a babysitter for our kids, and believing that our lives are so busy and important that we must text and drive at the same time, is a mistake.

So let’s put our phones down, lift our heads, look around, and see God’s wonderful creation that surrounds us. It’s actually quite fascinating. Let’s not let our kids see the world through a 5 inch screen when they can see it live. Do you want to see the world change for the positive? Watch what happens when we are in control of technology, rather than technology controlling us.

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” — Job 12:7–10 NIV

Mark Etting

Author Mark Etting

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