Be All There

Be All There

I still have a telephone with one of those long curly cords. But it seems I’m in the minority. Cords are out. Wireless, mobile technology is in. Just ask the 52% of American households who no longer have a landline telephone. By relying solely on their cell phones, they’ve declared themselves free of restrictive cords.

But are they really free?

Wherever I go, I see people tethered to their cell phones. Of course, calling it a phone is outdated—telephone calls are just one way people use their smartphones these days. Email, surfing the web, texting, and playing games are a few more tasks the phone can perform. When we add features such as an e-reader, stopwatch, barcode reader, flashlight, and alarm clock, I wonder…are we really free or have we exchanged one tether for another?

I’ve seen couples out to dinner, sitting at the same table, each riveted to the technology in their hand. I’ve watched moms at a softball game, presumably there to watch their children, while their thumbs fly across a miniature keyboard as they connect with someone miles away. And I’ve been guilty of checking emails in the car while my husband is driving, instead of using the time to engage in meaningful conversation.

Why is it so difficult for us to live in the moment? Missionary Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Imagine what it would mean to the children around us if we gave them our full attention, mentally and emotionally, while we are with them physically. At the very least, we’d be communicating their importance to us. When the Holy Spirit spoke through the apostle Paul to exhort us to consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), I wonder if He looked down the centuries to a time when our most significant relationships would be with technology instead of the people we love?

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About Ava Pennington

Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. She moved from New York to Florida, leaving a twenty-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired! She now teaches a weekly, interdenominational Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300+ women from September through May. Of course, Ava writes. She has written for organizations such as Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, and Haven Ministries. She has also been published in 25 anthologies, including nineteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts International. Ava has also co-authored two children’s picture books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? If you’re looking for a speaker, she delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, please visit


Be All There — 4 Comments

  1. So true, Ava! The convenience of a smart phone is wonderful, but too often it becomes an interruption that takes us away from what we should be doing. Many have become slaves to their smart phone. No freedom at all!

  2. An outstanding post, Ava! And very timely! I, too, have noticed people tethered to their devices, oblivious to everything around them. Just yesterday, as I was driving, I noticed a girl walking down the sidewalk, her eyes glued to her cell phone. I hoped she wouldn’t miss the upcoming curb.

    I wonder if this practice of shutting out the immediate world says something about our growing inability to connect with people in person? Interestingly, there’s a new name for this awful practice. it’s called “phubbing” – a combination of the words “phone” and “snubbing”.

    It’s a sad day when technology overtakes the ties that bind–or should I say that used to bind?

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