How to Deal with Christian Depression

By | bible, help, life | 2 Comments

“Joy is gone from our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.”

Disclaimer: Although I have had experience working with and counseling high school and young adults for over 10 years, I am not a licensed counselor. If you need professional help or advice, please seek that out in addition to or instead of this post.

That being said, I think it is important to address the issue of depression from my standpoint. The intended audience of this post is a young adult Christian who has recently changed environments and come out of experiencing regular emotional happiness and joy in their lives from the following:

  1. A community of good people who challenge them and relate to them.
  2. A history of generally getting what they want or what they think they want.
  3. Sustained positive feelings when associating with Christian activities such as successful events, worship meetings and good conversations.

Typically, when a person leaves this environment and the generally sustained positive feelings and emotions that came with it, they become “down” or in their mind, they are “depressed.”  It is the same dilemma as when a great trip comes to an end or when one comes down off of a mountain top.  The experience and elated views they once had are now gone, and the thought of reality has set in which is not as enjoyable.

First, what is depression?

“In a culture such as ours, where there is a high priority placed on performance and success as symbols of worthiness and where there is a diminishing opportunity to be successful, is bound to give rise to an increased gap between expectations and accomplishments.” – Dr. Archibald Hart (Coping with Depression)

It is actually hard to define exactly what depression is. It is the same as trying to describe what “feeling bad” is. What might make it easier is to evaluate the symptoms of it. Here is what Dr. Archibald Hart says in his book, Coping with Depression, are some of the main symptoms of depression:

  • Confused thinking
  • Slowed speech
  • Loss of interest in work or hobbies
  • Inertia
  • Fear of losing one’s mind
  • Flogging oneself with guilt and self reproach
  • Thoughts of death and death wishes
  • Feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of appetite or a marked increase in appetite
  • Feelings of total futility
  • Inability to sleep or oversleeping
  • Stomach discomfort

You might look at that list and realize that it’s not that bad. Or you might look at that list and realize that it is that bad. Either way, if you are dealing with some or most of these and you have recently moved from a “mountain top” environment that I described earlier, here are some ways to help.

1. You are not alone.

According to healthline.com, 1 in 10 Americans report that they struggle with depression. The first thing you need to understand that you are not alone. This is actually quite common.  Satan (our great enemy) wants you to feel like you are the only one that deals with this.  It is also very easy to think that if you are a Christian, you are not allowed to be depressed.  Where in scripture is this to be found?  Literally nowhere.  Be encouraged by that!

2. This is actually normal and quite healthy.

Just like the weather has seasons, your body has seasons. Most, if not all plants cannot bear fruit year round. That would destroy the plant. The world is full of mountaintops and valleys, which are both necessary and needed. Unfortunately, what happens in young Christians who are involved in churches, Para-church ministries and media start to equate high emotional feelings and excitement with being possible all year long. In America, we are a generally positive driven culture, especially in Christian circles. Our Christianity has blended with America’s success and humanistic values and created a monster.  Go into a Christian bookstore and look at the titles.

  • “You Can Overcome!”
  • “Your Best Life Now!”
  • “Sun Stand Still!”
  • “5 Ways To Get Your Life Back.”

On and on the titles go. The reality is that while this is appealing for all of us, it is not reality, nor should it be reality. We live in a cursed world. Genesis 3 tells us that this world is cursed and we are all broken. Depression in many cases actually serves as a helper throughout this broken world and with the broken bodies we live in. Again, Dr. Archibald Hart reminds of this.

“Ideally, depression performs a very important function. It triggers a series of important responses in the body to deal with the chaos in life.”

Maybe what you are dealing with is a sign to get out, slow down and change perspective.

3. It’s biblical For Crying Out Loud

Watch this. Most Biblical heroes struggled with depression. This is a reminder that you are not alone. The verse that I started this post with is from Lamentations 5.

“Joy is gone from our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.”

Read the Psalms. You will see very quickly that David and author Psalmists were incredibly depressed many times. In Matthew 5, Jesus says that blessed are the poor in spirit and blessed are those who mourn. What?!  This is in stark contrast to what our excitement driven and self-help Christian culture is selling. Jesus didn’t start out his famous sermon with “Blessed are those that feel great!”  or “Blessed are those that are successful!”  And praise the Lord for that!  Again, walking into a Christian bookstore is an alarming indication of the contrast.

4. What To Do.

Well here is the fun part. We all want OUT of depression. Here are a few things to do.

  1. Wait. Ouch. You didn’t want that. But here is the deal friends. Winter lasts for months in some places and weeks in other places. But it is always a part of the year. You cannot force winter to be over. You cannot force fruit to grow.
  2. Read. First, read your Bible. Actually listen to what it says. Learn from Biblical heroes about their depression. Then, gather some good resources and read. You can spend a few bucks right now on Amazing and have a kindle book delivered to your computer and start reading. Don’t just run to a counselor or doctor. See if you can help yourself first. I will recommend some books later.
  3. Do. Do something.  Activity does the body and soul good.  Sit down and evaluate some old loves or hobbies of yours and just take a day and go for it.  Doing something that makes you sweat is good to.  Also, making sure you are eating healthy and hydrated can make a huge difference in how your body feels.
  4. Talk to someone that is more than a friend. I know, you don’t relate well to someone who is older. But truthfully, find someone in your community or church that is older that will relate to you but also give you great perspective. Many people who ask me to meet are surprised that I deal with depression on and off like everybody else even though I am I serve in a vibrant ministry.
  5. Seek professional help. If you are still dealing with these things, seek professional help. But before you go to a “doctor” I recommend finding a good church and asking to meet with one of their counseling pastors. If you have been in your Bible and done some reading yourself, you will be far better prepared to spot someone who is giving you bad advice and move on to someone else.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:5

Resources.

Woman’s Guide to Overcoming Depression
http://www.amazon.com/Womans-Guide-Overcoming-Depression-Archibald-ebook/dp/B00B8587GU/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409336354&sr=1-6&keywords=archibald+hart

Unmasking Male Depression
http://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Male-Depression-Archibald-Hart-ebook/dp/B007V95C0G/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409338758&sr=1-4&keywords=archibald+hart

New Light on Depression
http://www.amazon.com/New-Light-Depression-Answers-Depressed-ebook/dp/B003MVZOZU/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1409339054&sr=1-1&keywords=new+light+on+depression

The Freedom from Depression Workbook
http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Depression-Workbook-Minirth-Clinic/dp/0840762070/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1409339147&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=Freedom+from+Depression+les+carter

Almost Game Time. Still Debating the Super Bowl & Sex Trafficking?

By | life | 2 Comments

triplex text footballIt is almost game time and I imagine that many are still truly debating the issue of sex trafficking and the super bowl. Especially with all the extreme statements and posts on both sides of the issue.  Please take the time to read and gain understanding.

Since the #DWTBMovement began a few days ago, we have seen a firestorm of controversy on both sides as well as had many challenge those of us who have posted about it directly saying that the Super Bowl increase in sex trafficking is a myth.

There are many organizations, politicians, media outlet and blogs saying that the Super Bowl brings with it a huge increase of sex trafficking.  Many of these seem to have grown into extreme statements that have been blown out of proportion.  I do agree with that.  For example, the quote about 10,000 victims were trafficked to Miami for the super bowl event seems to be emotionally charged without significant back up.  (But what if that were true?)

On the other side of the issue, those that say that an increase in sex trafficking at the Super Bowl is only a myth have done the EXACT same thing just in the opposite way.  They have polarized the argument.  The amount of posts, reports and articles swinging to one side or the other in an extreme way is truly alarming.

What are you to think about all of this?  Well the issue runs way deeper.  You first need to realize that an hour spent searching the internet on this topic will not get you educated enough to truly understand this issue.  That is why the #DWTBMovement is saying get peoples attention and GO get involved.   Here are a couple of points to hopefully help you.

1) Sex trafficking is really hard to stop from a law enforcement perspective. And it is even harder to track so to base an extreme statement of no increase around the Super Bowl on police reports is a bit shaky.  Read what the FBI says and you will see how complicated it is.  They said in 2011 that the victims are in the millions.  “Not only is human sex trafficking slavery but it is big business. It is the fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.”  Read their full report here.

2) The articles that have flared up stating the other extreme (the Super Bowl Sex trafficking increase is a myth) have interesting details you need to consider.  Here are the few that I have seen:

“Super Bowl Sex Trafficking and Other Myths,” by Joe Carter | The Gospel Coalition.  Read it here.

  • This was probably the strongest argument that I had received by so many.  This is probably due to the fact that the GC group blog is very credible and filled with God fearing and Bible believing people.  The problem I have with Carter’s post is his title.  He basically tells all the readers that it is a myth and they can go on their way.  He comments below in the comment section that he would have chosen a different title had he known this would have been the big deal that it was.  He also cites police arrest reports as his bases for saying that the increase around the Super Bowl is a myth.  Yet, he then writes at the end of his post a quote from spokeswoman from an organization that “No one knows with certainty the exact number of children exploited through sex trafficking in the United States or during events like the Super Bowl…”  Why would you go to the other extreme and polarize the argument?  That didn’t help.  He essentially did exactly what he originally set out to debunk.  He said, “That’s why I think exaggeration of the issue leads to trivialization.”  I agree.  And calling something a “myth” could be quite the exaggeration.

“The Super Bowl Trafficking Myth” by Salon Media Group.  Read it here.
“The Mythical Invaders of Super Bowl Hookers” by Reason.com.  Read it here.
“The Super Bowl of (later changed to ‘and’) Sex Trafficking” by NYTimes.  Read it here.

  • Most all of these articles start off with extreme statements moving the reader to draw extreme conclusions without even reading the details.  Also, most of them talk about the report that was produced by the Global Alliance Against Traffic In Women (GAATW) in 2011 essentially refuting all claims to major sports events increasing in sex trafficking.  The report is extensive.  Read it here.
  • My problem with the GAATW report is two fold.  1)  Why the other extreme?  Why do they seem to push over and over again that there is no increase in Sex Trafficking at all of these events?  That is a bit strange.  2)  Read about who they are.  They are an ‘alliance’.  They say about themselves that the GAATW “collects and disseminates information, and advocates on behalf of the Alliance at regional and international levels.”  I couldn’t find anything about having people actually on the ground.

 

On the other hand, there are arguments on the extreme side and the moderate side for an increase in sex trafficking at the Super Bowl.  There is no need to post links to those because you have probably already heard them.

Here are a few things to consider for why the Super Bowl has an increase in Sex Trafficking in its host city and why this has sparked such an outrage.

1)  A city cannot even host the Super Bowl unless it has 30,000 hotel rooms.  NFL Commissioner, Goodell says this here.

2)  Every major city WANTS to host the Super Bowl.  New Orleans claimed it netted them 480 million.  Do you think major cities who stand to have the Big Game back to their city in the future really want their city looking bad by reporting statistics of crime around it?  If New orleans stands to have the game back and make another 480 million, my guess is that they are not going to be quick to publish crime stats around the event.  Just something to consider. New Orleans report here.

3) Supply and Demand.  Are people really so adamant that there is no increase of sex trafficking that they won’t even look at supply and demand?  Do we not think there will be more jobs, food, hotel rooms, and beer to provide for the influx of population?  The demand for paid sex is growing and why will no one moderately admit that the supply will not follow the crowd to a large event.  That is ignorance of basic principles of economics.  You are really going to stand up and say that when a city gains 480 million dollars in net revenue streams during 10 days that there is an increase in sales for every commodity except paid sex?  That is something I would like to challenge.

4) Most articles that have been published taking the stand against sex trafficking increasing at the Super Bowl are from people who seem to be sitting in offices.  I don’t know that for sure, but what I do know is that I have had genuine conversations with people I trust who have actually worked in the field of anti trafficking at the Super Bowl.  Here is my recent conversation with a friend for you to read.

My Friend: “It was definitely more of an issue when it was in New Orleans!! You can tell that by the amount of arrests made during that time related to trafficking and prostitution. Also there were so many teams of law enforcement and nonprofits that came in to combat it. I was able to work with the FBI some and see the intense work they were putting in. Plus I saw it first hand in the amount of extra people in the clubs that I minister to on a regular basis and the extra work I did to stop it downtown during that time.” She references “arrests related to”. You see most arrests related to trafficking don’t go on record as trafficking. It could be a number of different issues there. 

Me: “And just to make sure I understand. You are saying that the Super Bowl in New Orleans brought a rise in trafficking according to your experience? So many are claiming it’s not true but I want to hear it from you, someone who was there and ministers there on the ground.”

My Friend: “Yes that is exactly what I am saying. It is always happening here, but the Super Bowl made it so much worse. Feel free to share my experience with people as you talk to them about this!”

Me: “Do you have a list of examples you could shoot me if you have a few minutes?”

My Friend: “Population rises in the city and so does trafficking. Regularly a strip club might have 30-40 dancers on a weekend night. During the Super Bowl, their were at least 90 dancers a night. I saw 13 year old girls dressed provocatively walking around with older men. Normally this would not be as common but law enforcement had so much going on that trafficking was more out in the open. Instructions for how to “get a girl” were posted on random doors throughout the city that would be obvious during any normal time in the city. Backpage.com, where many girls advertise and are bought and sold, escalated with more girls during the Super Bowl. Although law enforcement increased, most were told not to do anything about trafficking bc they needed to leave that to the FBI and the law enforcement that were trained to deal with it. Around 85 people were arrested for trafficking in New Orleans or surrounding areas like Baton Rouge around the Super Bowl last year. That only includes specific trafficking charges.” (The reason she said that only includes specific trafficking charges is because so many of them are dismissed or moved in to different charges which makes using them as a statistic shaky ground.)

This friend of mine is a real person who was really on the ground.  She is not in an office somewhere quoting statistics from quick internet searches or arbitrary police reports to engage in arguments or to earn more attention, likes, views or money.

Lastly, here is one actual report of a mother who traveled from Florida to sell her daughter as a sex slave because of the Super Bowl.  Again, an issue of supply and Demand.  Read it here.

 

Ultimately, keep in mind that a lot of people stand to gain and lose with this topic.  Cities don’t want to lose a Super Bowl hosting event.  The Super Bowl doesn’t want to lose being the greatest show on earth.  People want to argue and be right.  Many people also want an easy answer and want to move on with their lives.  People also want to latch on to this hot topic because money stands to be made with views, likes, shares etc.  Why do you think so many have jumped into the fray with extreme tittles?  That is what frustrated me about the GC’s article by Joe Carter.  Did you notice the “donate” button at the top of the site?  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, just keep that in mind!

The #DWTBMovement is not about making you feel guilty or about making money!  It is not about spreading sensationalism around something that is merely a myth.  It is a practical way to GET YOUR ATTENTION about sex trafficking and to let you know that it DOES increase at major sporting events.  But they key is awareness and then action.  Go learn more.  Let your heart be moved.  The issue will not be fully solved by not watching the game, nor have we ever claimed that.  But getting your attention and spreading the word begins to help.  That’s why it’s called a movement, not a solution.

Don’t just read an article or two and move on with your life.  Stop and think.  Stop and learn.

Thanks so much for getting this far in my post if you did.  That tells me that you want to know more.

5 Reasons You Won’t Join the #DWTBMovement

By | life | No Comments

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1) You are skeptical.  Any “movement” brings with it a measure of skepticism.  You don’t quite know if this is fake or sincere.  You live in a day and age where everything is not what it seems.  Products are advertised as being made one way but in reality they are made in a different way. We are constantly deceived by the media, by blogs, by tweets and posts of exaggerations or flat out lies which has bred a generation of skeptics.  You just don’t know if this is the “real deal”.  I don’t blame you.  I think the same thing about things like this.  This could be a ploy to get a lot of attention and get someone’s brand out there to be bigger and to sell you something and make a ton of money.  

My Answer:  This movement is an idea that God put in my heart literally last week after a few years of personally dealing with this issue, researching it and being trained in it.  I don’t think I’m cool.  Quite the opposite.  I have felt pretty uncool for the last week or so.  There is no money being made here. In fact, there has been quite a bit of money spent here.  Including time.  I assure you – there are no hidden fees.  We might try to raise money in the future, but if we do, you will know.  This is literally me and a couple good friends trying to be faithful with what God put on our hearts to tell the world.  Sex trafficking is real. And there is more demand during large entertainment events (it’s simple economics of supply and demand) and challenging you to not watch the biggest entertainment event in the country is a call to raise awareness.  Plain and simple.  

 

2) You don’t know what to think.  The argument is polarizing.  You were probably all on board with the #DWTBMovement and all the things you were reading about how the Super Bowl is a huge sex trafficking event and then, ‘gasp’, the Gospel Coalition produced a “fact checker” article by Joe Carter about how the Super Bowl’s increase of sex trafficking is a myth.  Oh no!  This conservative, God fearing, Biblical based online resource just said it really doesn’t happen that much at the Super Bowl.  What is one to believe?  Essentially, he took a few (what he stated as) “facts” and brought tension back to the argument. And you keep asking the million dollar question:  “So does the super bowl have more sex trafficking than normal or does it not?!”  That is what you all want to know.

Feel free to read Carter’s article here.  Just make sure you read the comments.  The link I provided is the page with the comments.  There is more to this than being dismissed as a “myth”.  And again, Carter acknowledges he was way too extreme on his title, which has left a lot of people “off the hook” and not needing to worry about this topic because someone from the TGC said it was only a myth.  I think he knows that was not the best move.  But to his credit, he also didn’t know his post was going to be such a firestorm.  I commend him for not deleting his post and rolling with it.  It is never easy to be under such intense scrutiny.

My Answer:  Ironically enough, Carter starts his article by referencing Exodus 23:1 saying that scripture forbids spreading a false report.  Yet he is essentially saying that it is a myth that the Super Bowl has an increase in sex trafficking.  That is pretty bold. (He also acknowledges this himself and that he should have had a better blog title in a comment way down in the comment section.)  In his post, he states that Phoenix, Tampa Bay and Miami Police reported no unusual numbers of prostitute arrests during the past Super Bowls in those areas.  Well there are two things at play here for those statements:  1. Do you think cities want to divulge what is really happening in their cities when it comes to crime?  Especially when the biggest sporting event is taking place there?  2. Everyone wants to look at the single statistic of ‘prostitutes arrested’ for figuring out how much trafficking is happening in a local area.

The problem here is that you have the wrong idea in you head. You have a movie style picture in your head of a woman scantily dressed walking the streets looking for paying customers.  Sex trafficking can take that form, however, there is a whole different side of this.  Advertisements on websites such as craigslist and other networks allow for “girls” or “boys” to be advertised.  The meetings are set up.  And they are in private locations. They are in buildings.  They are in hotels.  This is an extremely difficult crime for law enforcement to detect and stop.  How can they possibly know when a young girl is being sold for sex in a hotel room?

If you think that trafficking does not go up in numbers around the Super Bowl, then you are ignoring basic economics of supply and demand.  But wherever you land on that issue, be careful when reading both sides of the argument on how much sex trafficking happens at the Super Bowl. Focus on the real issue. The real issue is that sex trafficking is happening all over in our society!  The Super Bowl is the mecca of all american entertainment events.  And kids are being used as commodities for sex as entertainment in our culture.  Literally.  That is what you need to know.  How can not watching it to spread awareness be a bad thing here?

 

3) You are scared.   You might be scared of what others think – friend, family and strangers.  If you are a Christian, you might also be scared about the perception of the non-christian culture. You might not be able to share Jesus with them if you offend them.  Lastly, you might be scared of being a hypocrite.  You were already planning on watching the game and if you join the movement now you are two faced, etc.    

My Answer:  I understand.  The potential perception of others is scary. I know from experience, especially during this awareness movement. First, there is only one opinion that matters.  It is God’s.  Not mine.  Not your friend’s. Not your family’s.  Remember that.

Second, its seems that the Christian culture in America is told over and over how relevant we should be to the secular culture.  You probably don’t want to make waves with them over the Super Bowl.  Don’t forget that Jesus himself turned the tables in the temple courts when those there had turned it into a “den of thieves”.  Jesus did not remain “un partial” so everyone felt good.   I am not saying you need to be mean, just don’t be paralyzed from sharing a conviction with someone.  Making someone upset because of your belief does not mean you did a poor job of “sharing the Gospel”.  If you remember, many people were very angry with Jesus.  They actually called him the Devil.  Many people will be angry with you in your life over lots of stuff.  Does that automatically mean you were wrong?

Last, if you were already planning to watch the game.  No problem!  Maybe you might change your mind.  Maybe you won’t.  Spreading the word about this movement and still watching the game doesn’t necessarily make you a hypocrite. By the way, if you are waiting to do anything until you are no longer a “hypocrite”, you might not do much.  We are all hypocrites to some degree.  We are being transformed into the image of Jesus over time – it’s called sanctification.

 

4) You are indecisive.  It’s a tough call.  You have read articles and opinions, but you aren’t really there.  You don’t really know.  You haven’t seen the issue of sex trafficking first hand.  You can’t make a decision so you put it off.

My Answer:  Well that is what this whole movement is all about!  We are trying to help you remove ignorance from your life in this area.  Look up an organization on our website.  Find a friend who is actually involved with this stuff.  Google organizations in your area.  Read the book, Renting Lacy (bet you won’t).  Move yourself to a place of making a decision about this.  Once you know, you cannot be ignorant.  You are now responsible.  And this is an issue you should not stay on the fence with.

 

5) You are indifferent. This is the worst of them all.  You could care less.  “It isn’t affecting me”, you think.

My Answer:  If this is the stance you take, this is tragic. I certainly hope this is not the case.  But only God can convince you at this point.  I truly fear for your soul if you are not moved to sadness and anger over the issue of sex trafficking.

 

Take a look. It might change your life.   dontwatchthebowl.com

Why I Won’t Be Watching the Superbowl

By | life | No Comments

triplex footballThe Super Bowl is the pinnacle of American entertainment.  And you might not know it, but the SuperBowl could be the largest event responsible for attracting many—if not the most—cases of sex trafficking into its host area.   When you have a giant influx of people looking for entertainment and pleasure, and those desires expand to people wanting to pay for illicit sex, then that demand will be met with supply.  And the supply is literally young people, mostly girls who are trapped and rented out to man after man, night after night.  This is the new pinnacle for entertainment in our country, but it’s just not as public and about a million times more disturbing.

The act of paying for illicit sex with enslaved young prostitutes is growing at an alarming rate.  Sex trafficking is a problem all over our country, and in all of our states.  There are literally young people, mostly girls who are manipulated, coerced and beaten into slaves for sex for paying customers.  It is literally like the movie “Taken” but instead of being in some far off country, it is literally in our hometowns.

This cannot and should not stay a secret!

Under two weeks ago, I had the idea late one night as I was feeling burdened by all of this of starting a movement to spread awareness about sex trafficking.  Funny enough, I actually bought the domain dontwatchthebowl.com on a whim.  The next day I dropped the idea because it actually made me nervous.  Ask people to not watch the bowl?!  That is crazy.  But a few days later I found myself at the Greater Dallas Movement Day and was given the chance through a crazy set of circumstances to pitch this idea to a room full of sex trafficking advocates.  They loved it and from then on I have been on a whirlwind journey with God and a few friends to start this movement.  We are asking everyone we know to not watch the big game to spread awareness of sex trafficking, both around the event and 365 days a year.

Let me be clear.  I don’t think the Super Bowl is evil.  I don’t think sports are evil.  But this is an incredible way to get people’s attention about sex trafficking and the amount that is happening around events like the Super Bowl and during the entire year.  When people ask me why I am not watching the Big Game, I have the perfect chance to tell them about how large sporting events attract sex trafficking and how sex trafficking is happening all around our country.  It is in our states, our cities and our neighborhoods.

So I am joining the #DWTBMovement.  The movement that started as a crazy idea about 10 days ago.  I won’t be watching.  I will find other things to do.  I might even host a “Don’t Watch the Bowl Party”, so I have a reason to talk with friends about this issue.

If you want to join the movement or learn more about this movement I started, you can find out more here:

dontwatchthebowl.com

Consider giving up some comfort and entertainment to spread a wildfire of awareness to spur on action against this terrible crime, so that no human being is traded for sex slavery again!

I Love My Cell Phone & Hate Myself

By | gadgets, life | No Comments

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It’s super trendy to bash cell phones right now. It won’t take you long to google cell phone bashing and find lots of cool blog post author’s writing about how they are getting a divorce this year with their cell phone or how your cell phone is ruining your life. There are even a couple of really cool videos depicting people trying to live “real” lives but everyone else is just distracted by their phone. People are saying over and over how cell phones are a big problem.

I disagree. I actually love my phone and I hate myself.  Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Your cell phone is not the problem. You are the problem. Mankind is the problem. Romans 3:23 says that for all have fallen short of God’s glory. All men have sinned. It doesn’t say that all objects fall short and all objects sin. The problem is NOT the object. Objects have ZERO control over anyone. It is the human behind the object. Why do we insist on blaming objects that we created? I have heard this over and over with Facebook, twitter, the internet and now it is happening with phones. I am sure the same thing happened when we invented the TV. Or telephones. The objects have never been the problem. The people have always been the problem. You allow your phone to distract you. Your cell phone doesn’t control your life. You control your life.  So what I am saying is I hate my flesh.  My flesh is the problem.  I can’t hate my phone.  It is ME behind the phone that it is the problem.

Action: Stop blaming an object for your problems. You are the one addicted to whatever it is at that time. How can you change you?  How can you stop hating the external problem and start hating the real problem?

2. Discipline, not device blaming. You need discipline. You’re telling me your phone is the only distraction? Cell phones are now the “big problem”. I can’t believe it is actually trendy to bash cell phones. Well, yes I can. But funny enough, Americans spend their time doing far more things that are a problem than being on their cell phones. How much time do we spend watching TV, movies, sports, gossiping, shopping or eating? And who is in control of those things? You. Do pro football teams force you to watch them and root for them and live and die by their game outcomes? No. You do. Only you. There are plenty of distractions and problems out there. You could throw your cell phone out right now and have a new “distraction” in your life in less than 10 minutes. The issue is not the device. It is your lack of discipline.  Again, I hate that I have a lack of discipline.  That needs to change.

Action: What are ALL the things in your life that you have a problem with? Bring some perspective back to this discussion and talk about everything that we struggle with in life, not just blame all our cultural problems on a device. Start developing discipline, rather than device blaming.

3. Be grateful for your cell phone. This is the one that blows my mind. You are telling me that people in society are not thankful for the invention and the ability to have a cell phone or smart device because of what it is doing? That is like saying you hate that we created airplanes because they can crash! We need airplanes. They are useful! They are fun! But they have dangers. We have to be careful with them. We need not get rid of them when people use them wrong. The same goes for your phone. I am INSANELY grateful for my phone. When I recently had a long trip to Argentina, I was able to talk to my wife and children. That is incredible. (Consequently, the only reason I was able to visit Argentina was because of airplanes!) I am able to keep up with friends, do work and learn great stuff because of my phone. But like EVERYTHING in life, it needs its place and to be treated carefully. It might crash, but that doesn’t mean you toss it.

Action: Ask yourself if you are taking extreme attitudes here with your phone. Are you avoiding self discipline or the tension of living with something you need to maintain constantly? Why not be grateful for the good that it brings. You can be thankful for something and also careful with it.

4. Perfection is not possible! Lets face it. Cell phones are not going away. Just like airplanes aren’t going away. We need to figure out how to live with these INCREDIBLE inventions with wisdom and discernment. Why do we think that we are going to reach some perfect pinnacle of juggling the things in our life? You will ALWAYS struggle with how much time you are spending on any number of things. That is why you need Jesus! That is why you need the Bible! You need help. You need the Holy Spirit. We are sinful people living in a cursed world. Why would we expect anything different? That is why I “hate” this body of mine.  It is in constant rebellion.  And with that, we will continue to invent crazy awesome things and struggle with using them in very bad ways. Does that mean that those things are bad? Probably not. The person behind the thing is who is bad.

Action:  Have you been trying to reach unrealistic expectations in your life with how you live?  In what ways are you trying to muscle up change instead of allowing God to change you.  Maybe you need to be patient with yourself.  God is sure patent with you!

I agree that cell phones need a place. But we need to be slow to cast cell phones into the fire here and call it the problem. Don’t side step responsibility. The problem is people. The problem is you. The problem is me. The problem is not external.  It is internal.  With God’s help, you can find discernment and discipline to put your phone away when needed and to use and enjoy it when needed as well. Don’t jump on the cell phone bashing bandwagon which is really just an excuse to blame something else. It is trendy nonsense and frankly outrageously hypocritical. Be careful what you blame for your own problem of sin.  Hate your own sin, not an external object that you, in fact, control.