How much time do you spend using your phone each day? I use mine for nearly everything! It is my camera, GPS, recipe book, notepad, calendar, alarm clock, grocery list, exercise log, Bible, baby monitor, ETC. The list goes on forever BECAUSE there is an app for absolutely everything. Do I need an app for everything? Sometimes I think so!
I recently heard about a new app (yeah…i know!) that records how much you use your phone. It tracks how many minutes you stare into that bright, glowing treasure box. It even counts how many times you pick up your phone throughout the day. I decided to download it just out of curiosity since I didn’t really have a gauge of how many minutes I was using my phone each day.
The app is called Moment. Download it. I dare you.
Ok. I am going to be super vulnerable with you and tell you what my app told me…
I have been spending between four to five hours on my phone each day! Oh, and I did the math…that means that I am spending roughly 28-35 hours using my phone a week! That is about two days of my week…eight days of my month…96 days of my year!! DIS-GUST-ING!
Before you judge me severely, I will defend myself in saying that I use my phone for nearly everything and in place of my computer for the most part. If I am cooking, I am on my phone with a new recipe I have picked out. If I am driving, I am using my phone for directions. If I am exercising, I am using my phone to track the workout and play some hot jams. If I am nursing my baby, I am reading SOMETHING on my phone, whether it be my Bible or Facebook. If I am with my little one, I am taking pictures of every single milestone. Of course I run out of storage every week because I am stockpiling hundreds of pictures of my son. Anyway….
I am constantly using my phone. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without it, especially if I have to drive somewhere unfamiliar.
This silly little app caused me to pause and consider that however I try to justify it… I AM SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME ON MY PHONE! This week, I set out to do something about it. This is what happened:
It is always good to stop and pray before we start taking an ax to our lifestyle. I needed to repent for finding comfort in it, for missing time with my husband because of it, and for the envy and lust I have experienced while using it. Not only these things, but it is far too easy to feed a discontented spirit when you compare yourself with others, hoard Pinterest pins, and shop endlessly on eBay or Amazon.
Ultimately my problem will not be fixed in my own efforts. You heard me, right!? I can’t change me. Only God can change me. Holy Spirit, give me self-control and contentment. I want to be a master over my phone, but right now my phone is master over me. Help! Give me more of you!
2) Realize that the phone is not the problem. I am.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
My first instinct is to blame “technology these days.” Be careful of the blame game! In the midst of sin, always always be most suspicious of your own heart.
3) Do some surgery.
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30
A repentant heart does not continue on in the same fashion. There must be change…drastic, relentless change. We cannot face our sin and then shrug our shoulders in apathy or defeat. We are more than conquerors through Christ! (Romans 8:37)
My first step? I needed to deactivate Facebook for a time. SO MANY TIMES, I will get on my phone to do something important and meaningful only to realize that I opened Facebook instead and have been mindlessly scrolling for 10 minutes. If this doesn’t dramatically reduce my time spent on my phone, then the ax is coming out again. Pinterest…you might be next.
4) Set yourself up for success.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
The tone of the day is most likely going to be set by the very first thing that you do in the morning—the very first thing you read or hear. Because my phone is my alarm clock, and my flashlight, and my baby monitor (I know… you are getting the picture), I keep it on my nightstand. What do I reach for each morning as my eyes adjust to the new day’s light? My phone!
Perhaps I need a new routine. Perhaps I need to purchase an alarm clock. I could actually walk into my baby’s room and check on him. Perhaps I need the Word of God to be the thing to reach for in the morning….if even for a moment. I want to delight in the law of the Lord day and night.
5) Prepare for battle
When I decide to go head to head with my sin, battle always ensues. It is hard…I do not always feel like it. We must FIGHT! We CAN fight because Christ already won the battle. Try telling a close friend about your struggle and asking that they would pray for you and check in with you from time to time. Here I go…
I spend too much time on my phone! You have full permission to check in with me about it the next time you see me. Be gentle! 😉
How about these wise words?…
“Most of us are long overdue for screen Sabbaths—segments of the day (even whole days) where we will not be “on the grid” or in front of an electronic device.”
― Kevin DeYoung, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem
A full two weeks has gone by since I wrote the content above. My phone usage has gone down considerably… to an average of three hours a day. Some of this reduced time is due to cutting out Facebook.
Most of all, I am seeing the Holy Spirit enable me to have more self-control. I am intentionally leaving my phone in a different room more often, asking myself if I really need to use it, and seeking to use my time in ways that honor the Lord. In just two weeks, I have noticed an increase in my time spent in the Word and in prayer, my house is cleaner, and my mind feels clearer. Praise the Lord for the way that HE changes lifestyles. I am hopeful that I will continue to learn how to handle the good gift of technology in integrity and self-control. I must! Others are watching…
My desire is to teach my son (by example) that it is ok to rest and be alone without a device or search engine. (A discussion for another day…)
“I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room.”- Pascal Blaise
Leave me a comment if you have any encouragement to add to this discussion. Do you struggle in this way? Where do you lack self-control? Do you have any practical tips for reducing the amount of unnecessary screen time in your day? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Also, share this post if you like it and think it might benefit others. 😉
Until next time,