On Taking a Phone Sabbath

CONFESSION: I am 150% addicted to my iPhone.
(Aren’t we all?) 
I’ve been noticing, though, that lately, my phone addiction has taken a stronghold over me. It’s the first thing I reach for when I get up in the morning, and it’s the last thing I look at before I go to bed. It’s really become a little sad, truthfully, just how ONE I’ve become with the damn thing. 
Last night, I was reading a chapter in Jennie Allen’s new book, Nothing to Prove, and the chapter was on fulfillment. She was using the analogy of the water-to-wine miracle Jesus performed with regards to settling in our own lives for fulfillment in things like social media, food, or Netflix instead of finding our true fulfillment in Jesus. 
As I was reading the chapter, I just kept thinking about my dang phone addiction. Every spare moment I have, I’m scrolling something. It’s embarrassing to admit, really, so when I got to the end of the chapter and she encouraged a “fast” from whatever it was we were settling for, I knew exactly what I was going to put down. I don’t find it to be coincidence that our church has been doing a series on finding margin in our lives and that today’s focus was time. When I consider the amount of wasted time I spend on that little thing, it’s no wonder I don’t get anything done in a day. 
So, this morning, as I was waking up, my sweet husband threw me my phone as he always does, but I told him to keep it turned off because I was taking a break today. It literally sat, untouched, on my night stand until almost 1pm this afternoon. 
The first hour was the hardest. It’s just my natural inclination to want to play catch-up on all the things I missed overnight, but I held my ground. It was amazing how much less stressful it was to get out the door when I was fully present and actually getting ready for church instead of scrolling Instagram. If Blake is driving us somewhere, I normally send text messages or check email, but today, I actually talked to my kids. It sounds so silly to type it out like that, but this was a change for me…and a healthy one.
After lunch, Blake encouraged me to just simply hit the home screen button to check and be sure I hadn’t missed any important calls or texts, so I did. There was a play date invitation that I did need to respond to, but otherwise, I stayed completely off my phone for the remainder of the day.
Y’all…I kid you not…I was a better person today.
Here are a few things I noticed about myself today being phone-free:
-I was calmer. Even Blake noticed a change in my demeanor. I was pleasant, I was calm, and I didn’t snap at anyone.

-I didn’t bite my nails. I had no idea that this nasty habit of mine went hand in hand with scrolling social media. It was amazing to me that I didn’t find myself biting because I wasn’t zoned out…which brings me to number three..

-I was PRESENT with my kids. We talked in the car, we talked at meals, and we played together. They didn’t annoy me as much today because I engaged with them more. We made an obstacle course, we talked about their church class, and we looked each other in the eye more.

-I was SO PRODUCTIVE. We cleaned out kids’ closets, we cleaned out my desk, we boxed up some old toys, and we put away three loads of laundry.

-My hands didn’t hurt. Usually, by the end of the day, my thumbs and forefingers hurt. I figured I was just getting old and maybe Carpal Tunnel or something…but I’m pretty sure it’s my phone.

-I was a better wife today. Blake and I talked in the car, we laughed together, and I didn’t spend the entire evening zoned out at a screen. Instead, we watched a show together, ate cheesecake (always a good decision), and talked about some goals.

-I didn’t get a headache. This one could totally be a fluke…or not. I’m not sure, honestly. But I didn’t get a headache today like I do several days a week.

  -I prayed more. I found myself talking to God when I would normally be numbing out to social media. I chose connection over comparison.

Today was AMAZING, you guys.
Here’s my sad conclusion after 24 hours phone-free. Social media, at least for me, has become an idol. It makes me less present, less content, and less involved in my actual life when I’m constantly scrolling through the highlight reel of someone else’s. It takes time away from God, my family, and my daily responsibilities. 
So, can I give it up entirely? No. 
The truth of the matter is that I use social media several times a week for my Noonday business and to share our adoption story. Social media has introduced me to dear friends, encouraged people who are on the adoption journey, and kept me connected to family members. There are lots of positives that come from social media, and when used appropriately, social media is an amazing thing.
But, here’s my hang-up: for me, and I know many others, social media and the phone has taken over our identities. It’s the first place we turn when we need to vent. When given two minutes in a waiting room, we find ourselves scrolling something. We’ve become so conditioned to this addiction that we can’t even hit a stoplight without picking up the damn thing. So, I’ve decided I need to set up some boundaries for myself.
Moving forward with 2017, here is what I am going to try to do to keep this idol at bay:
1) Jesus before Instagram: Until I’ve had some quiet time with the Lord in the morning, the phone stays on the charger. Period. If the kids come down as I’m finishing up my devotional, oh well. The phone can wait because the day has begun. 
2) No phone after 9PM: For the last hour or so of my day, it’s off. This will be time to wind down, relax, and be with my husband.
3) Social Media Sabbath on Sunday: Moving forward, I’m unplugging from social media on Sundays. I can’t say I’ll unplug from my phone altogether because that’s just not responsible with three kids, but on Sundays, Facebook and IG are staying closed. Period. No falling down the rabbit hole.
If you’ve never tried a social media and/or phone Sabbath, I’d highly encourage it! If you have, tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to hear how it goes for y’all!

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