Feeding The Beast- Part 2- An honest look at our phone habits
In Part 1, we took an honest look at some of the ways your phone could be keeping you from loving others and inhibiting you from being a watchful and present follower of Jesus. The belly of the beast rumbles– and our cheap, processed and convenient food (or in this case– our need for a quick and easy escape) keeps it’s appetite nearly unquenchable. Before you feel really bummed out, know this. It’s not just you, its almost everyone! This addiction, overuse, and pocket sized obsession is a cultural phenomenon, and an absolute social norm. The Heartwork invitation to “Live a Different Story” can start right here in your everyday habits and disciplines.
In Part 2 of this blog, we will talk about a few simple ideas as you discern how to use (and limit the use of) your smartphone. Let’s look at how to tame the beast:
- Create a “parking lot” for devices in your home. Set times (maybe wake-up through breakfast, maybe from dinner all the way to bedtime) where your smartphones and other devices remain parked, charging up for later on. This doesn’t even have to mean that you can’t use them if you need to, but if you need to take a call or check an email, you do it there, in the parking lot, rather than in your real-life living space.
- Consider morning/evening boundaries. When we’re starting our days or ending them, maybe we actually want to do that better? Think about a plan to check your phone after you’ve read God’s word and prayed to start your day. Obviously this could get “religious” real quick, and that’s not what we mean, but it could be a beautiful way to make a statement with your time, to establish priorities and implement them practically. Maybe you need to hear from your Creator before you need to know the weather, what sale offers came in overnight and what every single person you’ve ever met is eating for breakfast. Maybe you could go to bed with the words of
- Don’t be that person. Just look around when you’re in line, waiting for a table, sitting at a table waiting for food, being transported by car, bus or whatever… anywhere. What percentage of people are staring at their screen? Let’s not get into judgement here, but consider just not being that person. What would it feel like to set a boundary for yourself? To check your phone if you need to but keep it to 10 seconds rather than checking in with every single app known to man. Start a conversation with a neighboring waiter-in-liner or take a moment to talk to God about your day or pray for the needs of those around you. What could happen? We don’t know, sometimes you’ll probably be bored (gahhh?!!). But sometimes a miracle could happen that you may have otherwise missed out on.
- Take a social media break. This is a tricky one because social media has it’s benefits, but sometimes we just need a break. Think about taking a month off. Just see how you feel! What does it do to your time, your energy and your ability to live “in the moment” and not just for everyone to see, but for your own growth and for the people in front of you.
See, we don’t think it’s even the phone that’s the problem. It’s our appetite. We are so easily deceived into spending our energy on the easiest and most satisfying “treats”. Our phones are like cookies, french fries and candy sitting in our pocket, on our desk and under our noses all day, every day. Who wants to make the effort to buy, cook and enjoy a thoughtful and crafted meal when there’s little treats at our disposal? Healthy people, that’s who. And if we want to be spiritually and relationally healthy, we need to change our appetite.
What kind of life are you hungry for?
What kind of addictions of mind need to be seen and faced head on?
We live in a world that’s got entertainment and diversion on lock. We must be thoughtful, and intentionally set up our lives to learn from and reflect the God we serve.
It’s not easy, but it’s better. Let’s Live Different together friends.
* John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally
** Tony Reinke, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You