Walking into 2019 I realized that something had to change. I knew that I was not being the best version of myself that I could be. I struggled to “find time” to do all the things I wanted to do…work out, read books, do fun activities with my kids, keep my house in order, etc. When I started to evaluate where all my time and attention was going, I realized that I in fact had plenty of time to do all the things I wanted.
I realized I spent a lot of time on my phone. I learned that I could look into my iPhone settings and it would tell me how much time I spent on my phone. This feature broke down what apps I used most, how many times I picked up my phone in an hour, and what app I most used after first initially picking up my phone.
I was SHOCKED to see the amount of time I spent on my phone. I struggled to find time to do things that I really wanted to do, but I somehow got so easily sucked into 9-10 hours of staring at a screen per day. Once I realized the amount of time I was giving to my phone, I realized it was time to make a change. I entered the year with a goal to significantly cut down on screen time.
I did some simple things to challenge myself. I used the Screen Time feature in my settings to set time limits on the apps that I was using the most. I also set small goals with myself to slowly decrease screen time. When it came to getting other things done, I would set timers on my phone and place my phone on “do not disturb.” I would then set my phone face down where I couldn’t see any notifications and I would then not pick up my phone until the timer went off. This really helped me to increase productivity at work. I still would like to decrease my phone time even more, but I now average about 5 hours a day of screen time. I cut my screen time nearly in half in little over a month.
I would bet that I am not the only person who struggles with this kind of addiction to a phone or device of some kind. But does God really care if I spend so much time on my phone? There is no command about cell phones is there? No, but the Word has a lot to say about distraction.
“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you….Don’t get sidetracked.” – Proverbs 4:25,27 (NLT)
It’s really hard to look straight ahead at what God has before me if I’m always looking down at a screen. Although what I’m engaging in on my device is not inherently sinful, the fact that I allow it to get me sidetracked from what God is trying to do in me, is.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”- Colossians 3:2-3 (NIV)
So many times I allow scrolling to replace the empty space in my mind. I fill any lulls in my day with a quick fix on my cell phone. This is time where I could be doing other things, or that I simply could be listening for the voice of God. I also fill time where I could be more intentional with people around me with scrolling. I scroll when I walk into a store, when I’m waiting in line, when I’m sitting down for coffee. All these little moments where I could be creating meaningful interactions with other people are wasted so that I can be entertained by a 4 inch screen. How many people need Jesus in me? How many of them are begging for me to just look up?