Finally. It’s just after dinner and I have a moment to sit down but not at the counter, or my desk, or the toy car-covered living room floor, or the dinner table, but on the couch in my living room. Work is finished, laundry is folded (well, probably – I’m at least pretending it is), homework is complete, dinner is served and cleaned up, and I have a moment to sit and do something that is mine – I’m gonna mindlessly scroll through my Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter…whatever is your thing) for a bit. Are you with me? Anyone else feeling mommed-out, wife-tired, and overworked today? I just need to do something that doesn’t require me to think. Smartphone in hand, I open the app and begin to scroll. It takes about 3.2 seconds for a child to snuggle up onto my lap, through my looped and folded arms, and in just the right spot so as to block the phone screen. So, I do what any mom would do – I adjust positions. You know, so I can see the screen I’m trying to scroll through and relax. One arm around the child, one hand holding my phone. But then the child wiggles, looks up and says, “Mom, just put your phone away and pay attention to me. Hold me with two hands.” Crap. I hate it when kids are right.
The truth is my social media time has gotten out of control. Like super out of control. It’s an actual addiction, I think. For me, I think it began when we lost John Karl. In grieving I learned when it was time to “exit a situation” because felt overwhelmed. Sometimes I couldn’t physically do this, but I could whip out my phone and “escape” from the room for a bit. In the beginning, everyone assumed I just needed a minute and they said nothing. As the fog cleared I kept doing it. I kept scrolling to see what everyone was up to. So much so that here we are 3 years later and I’m checking my phone at every free second of the day. And sometimes in the seconds when I’m not really free. It’s consuming me and become a distraction. I hate that. I like social media, it serves a lot of great purposes, but it’s clearly a problem when my child is calling me out. Now what?
In a recent conversation with a friend I learned that on my iPhone I could look at (approximately) how much (battery) time I spend using each app. If you aren’t familiar you can check it for yourself, but I suggest you take a big breath first before you look at that number. I checked, and wanted to cry. It actually took my breath away to see that number. I’m not even kidding. Mine was 47% when I looked. I used half of my battery life scrolling social media. Half. In my brain this equated to half my day. Hold the phone…or maybe don’t because – Ouch. No wonder I couldn’t find time to get anything done like my regular day job, or my side travel business, or writing, or reading, or playing with my kids. 47%!!! Go ahead. Take a minute and check yours. I’ll wait…
Now what, right? I have been praying the word SIMPLIFY since the first of the year. It’s my focus word for 2018. How can I simplify my life and focus on my “big rocks”. You know the rocks you put in the jar first so that you are certain you have room for them. The ones that should be the biggest priority in your life. You can learn a little more about this “big rock concept” on a video I shared from — yep, Facebook. Anyway, I wanted to have room for this sweet child and with 47% of my time going somewhere else, it obviously wasn’t happening. Fix it, Jesus.
As we entered into the season of Lent, I thought of Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” I started to process this and break it down.
- Who wants to be my disciple? ME! Me, pick me. Right?
- Deny themselves. Ok. I can do that. Probably.
- Follow me. Yes, Lord. Isn’t this what all believers want?
I decided I had to “deny myself” I had remove social media for a bit. I knew I’d need it somewhat but since the season of Lent is about sacrifice and a reminder of Christ’s perfect sacrifice for us, I knew I had to do this uncomfortable (for me) thing. I removed the Facebook app from my phone. I can still access it, but I only do it from the computer and not just easily and whenever I feel like it from my phone. You guys, it was hard. How sad is it that this was so hard for me? I have to make an actual conscience decision to sit down, log in and check social media. I’m about a week in and It’s made a difference. Have I wanted to check it from my phone? — Yep. About once (or like 10 times) a day. If Christ could sacrifice so big and love so much that He used both hands to stretch the cross, I could surely put down my phone and love with two hands too.
That’s what I’m doing this season, trying to love with two hands. Put down the cell phone and join me. Love your spouse with two hands, love your kids with two hands, love the Lord with two hands.