iPhone: Home Alone

Recently I left my smart phone at home as I rushed out the door to an early morning meeting. I didn’t realize what was missing until I pulled into the parking lot for my 7:30 am connection with two very important people related to our ministry. I was instantly infuriated with my forgetfulness, frustrated with my ineffectiveness, and annoyed with my silly exasperation. Not a good way to start one’s day…especially if that one is the leader of a ministry focusing on the care of the souls of leaders and teams, and the formation of a lifestyle that features quiet reflection and a slower pace of life (yes, that’s yours truly).

It took me about 15 minutes to simply “let it go” in order to be present with my colleagues and enjoy the meeting. I was fixated on the certainty of forgetting my iPhone. It took me a while to get over the fact that I was completely (although only temporarily) out of contact with my family, office, and anyone else who would need to get in touch with (all important) me. I figured out how to meander my way back home after the meeting, albeit out of the way, in order to pick up my cell phone before continuing the duration of my day. When I finally had it back in my possession, I breathed a sigh of…relief?

Upon reflection, I was able to parse out why this scenario bothered me so much. I had to admit I am addicted to having this communication tool at my fingertips throughout the day. I had to confess to God and myself that indeed this piece of technology had a grip on my heart. To live without it for a day, or even a half-day, seemed at the moment utterly impossible. That reality hit me hard.

At each of the soul care retreats LTi facilitates, I “triple-dog-dare” the participants to place their cell phone in the middle of the worship table and forget about it for the duration of the retreat. I often scoff to myself as to how few actually take me up on my challenge. How dare I have that kind of pompous attitude ever again, after my hissy fit over leaving mine at home during the first few hours of a work day.

Lord, forgive me for the trap I find myself in when my addiction to technology replaces my soul’s steadfast desire for you and you alone. Release me from the need to be connected more to the people and issues and tasks of my day rather than be embraced and led by your Spirit. I need you much more than I could ever lean on any piece of technology. Renew within my heart a greater love for the mystery of the secret place, the generosity of the quiet space, and the abundance of the Spirit’s grace…and help me to practice life without any of the trappings that keep me from leaning solely on you, Lord Jesus!

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.