Have you ever thought about spending less time on your phone? Maybe to the point of turning it off and keeping it in a drawer for 3 days?
It did for me recently.
Perhaps for some of us, our devices have become so integrated into our lives that we don’t even think about the possibility of going without them. And I get it.
If that’s you, know that you’re not getting any judgment from me. Personally, my phone is pretty much always in my back pocket as I go about my days. You know, in case I need to snap a picture, respond to a message, look up a recipe, or a myriad of other things.
But I am really bad about excusing extra time on my phone in the name of “work.” And so what I’m about to share is not meaning to be preachy. But it may sound that way a little because I’m preaching to myself.
Phone time excuses
Yes, I work on my phone quite a bit, because I am trying to build my blog and YouTube channel. But the reality is, I don’t “need” to spend every spare minute checking messages and notifications. I can try to justify it, but in the end, it is really just a distraction from other areas of my life.
Making excuses for this is easy and seems harmless. But honestly, why do I feel like every single notification is about to make or break my whole day? Like, it’s something I must address right now or I won’t survive?
Here’s the bottom line: I need to repent for putting off my family so that I can check or work on my phone when it’s simply not the right time. Trust me, I know how important communication is. But if I’m allowing communication with the outside world to hinder my marriage and family, maybe–just maybe–I need to rethink the way I’m doing this.
A time for everything; including spending less time on a phone
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What God’s Word is teaching us here is an important principle. The principle is that there is a designated time for “every matter under heaven.” Knowing that, can we really justify interweaving phone time with every moment and aspect of our lives?
What happened after I shut it off
It’s hard to kick bad habits when you haven’t yet made the decision that they’re bad. So it wasn’t until I actually said out loud to my husband that I was going to turn off my phone for three days, and subsequently did it, that I realized just how much I needed that break. Even as someone who rarely just scrolls without some kind of purpose in mind, I needed it.
It’s important to remember that even though we do a lot of productive “work” on our phones, we still can benefit from stepping back and reevaluating from time to time.
My 3-day phone break has made my mind so much clearer. I’ve came back with a renewed sense of why I am online, and fresh inspiration for content creation. And while I was gone, my Instagram and YouTube continued to grow! Imagine that.
Could I have created more content in those 3 days that would have allowed me more growth in the future? Probably, but life isn’t all about the grind. And that’s what I needed to remind myself.
Part of me is laughing at myself for writing all of this about a three day phone shut off. Three days doesn’t seem like a long time in theory, but if we take into consideration how often we pick up our phones and just how many different things we use them for… it kind of is.
Benefits of spending less time on our phone
Obviously, I do not believe technology is inherently evil. If I did, then I wouldn’t be here! However, I am here to be honest and share what is true.
If we believe that we are not chained to our devices, yet we aren’t really willing to give it up for a specified time, then we probably aren’t fully surrendered to God. I understand that may sound a little harsh. It’s a difficult truth that I’ve had to learn and come to grips with myself.
I believe there is a blessing in choosing to temporarily do away with something important to us for a time. (Fasting is another term for this.) We shouldn’t need to hear the audible voice of the Lord to know that HE is blessed by us choosing to discipline our earthly bodies. We don’t need to wait on Him to say “go!” in order to encourage the body of Christ. He already did:
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
The double standard of phone time
If we can spend an hour a day just scrolling on Facebook or Instagram, why can’t we spend an hour a day helping our neighbor? Sharing an encouraging story? Professing our love for Jesus, even if just on the Internet? This is something that greatly convicted me last year when I took my first social media break. It’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog. But that’s probably another topic for a different day…
I know there are believers out there who truly love Jesus and want to serve Him, but have been led to believe that they don’t have enough of a “platform” to really sow into the lives of other believers. I’m not saying you need to start a blog or anything like that, but you can make use of where you’re at to spread love. Spread Jesus. Spread truth. You are called. We ALL are called to make disciples of ALL nations!
Encouragement that we can do this–with Him
Be aware of how the enemy is able to slip in through those seemingly harmless phone checks at all times of the day. I say this not to condemn, but to encourage and bring awareness. I do it and probably still will. But if I’m spending as much time saying quick prayers between making dinner or waiting for my boys to get their shoes on as I am checking my phone during those times, I think I will be okay.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
As believers, we are not chained to our devices nor to what the world says we should be. We are free! I encourage you to seek God and be open to the possibility of taking some time away from social media. It was and is so good for my mind and soul that I couldn’t help but share my experience. And if you need prayer in this area, you can always leave me a comment below or reach out to me on Instagram. I would love to add you to my prayer list!
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