My hands are constantly full these days balancing a four month old, a list of things to do, groceries, laundry, cooking dinner…you name it. One arm seems to be always doing something, while the other seems to always be holding my iPhone. I've realized that if we are not careful, we will allow our phones to rule us instead of using them as a tool to build the kingdom of God. Technology and social media can be used in beautiful ways to share the gospel, to encourage, to create, and to connect with the world. However, if used incorrectly, it can become an idol that rules our hearts, distracts our devotion, and wastes our time. I’ve been in both categories, and I know firsthand that when my phone holds too much priority in my life, my joy becomes depleted and my ability to focus on the tasks before me diminishes.
As a disciple of Jesus, a momma, a wife, daughter, friend, and business owner, I want to fight each day to use my phone as a tool for the kingdom of God rather than letting it rule my heart.
When my life begins to produce the fruit of anxiety, worry, a lack of focus, and a lack of passion, I know that I am spending too much time on things that won’t last for eternity. I step back, almost daily, to evaluate where my heart is and see what kind of fruit my actions and lips are producing. Implementing boundaries with my phone not only brings freedom, but is produces gospel fruit.
The Lord displays the beauty of boundaries in the world around us. The ocean knows its place. The tide comes in each day and washes back out to sea. It doesn't go past the shoreline, and when it does, like in the case of a hurricane, disaster ensues. The Lord set the ocean's boundaries in place for our survival. The sun also knows exactly where it is supposed to be in the universe. If it were just a little bit closer to earth, we would not be able to live. The Lord set this boundary in place for our survival.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus gave us another boundary to produce gospel fruit in our lives, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Anything that comes before seeking first his Kingdom is a lesser thing. When we order our steps around seeking first the kingdom, the rest falls into place. This boundary of what we are to seek first was given to us by Jesus because He knew this is how we live a life of abundance on earth. This is how I want to live my life, even through the use of my iPhone. I don’t want it to come before me seeking time with the Lord. Jesus comes first and foremost, always.
Below are four very practical ways I implement this each day.
Know that I am not always perfect at placing these boundaries on my phone usage, but I am learning (and have learned) that boundaries are healthy and they produce freedom. Let’s till up the soil in our hearts, dig up the weeds, and let Christ plant gospel seeds in our hearts as we seek to make much of Him, even through our phones.
1. Rearrange my apps.
I often rearrange the location of my apps on my phone. Our fingers quickly become wired to swipe open our phones and pull up social media. The more I rearrange my apps, the more I realize the amount of time I spend on my phone (including texting). Rearranging my apps challenges me to check my heart and reevaluate where I am spending my time and if I am using it wisely. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:15-16, "look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."
2. Log out of social media (or delete it).
After I post on social media I immediately log out so I can move on with my day and live in the present. Logging out gives me freedom to accomplish the tasks in front of me instead of opening up Instagram. On the weekends (and often at nights and during busy season), I delete the apps altogether. It is not hard to get them back on my phone, but having the distraction completely disappear is helpful!
3. Leave my phone out of the room at night.
Before we had our baby, my husband and I would leave our phones in a separate room at night. We wouldn’t get them in the morning until after we spent time with the Lord. Yes, we woke up to the blaring old-fashioned alarm clock each day, but it was such a fruitful, restful season in our life! Now that we have Nolan, I use my phone at night to track his nursing and the time he wakes up. Since I still need my phone, I turn it on airplane mode to help me not scroll during the hours of the morning and instead use that time for prayer or rest.
4. Remind myself I am free in Jesus.
I labeled my folder that contains the social media apps on my phone “I am set free” to remind me of the truth in John 8:36 when Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Sometimes we need visual reminders of our freedom in Christ.
You are free.
No phone, no social media app...nothing controls you. You are His and He is victorious. If you are struggling with allowing you phone to use you instead of using it for God’s glory, ask Him for His help. He is faithful to come to the aid of His children (Hebrews 4:16). Take time away from your phone each day to spend undistracted time with Jesus. You will never regret quiet moments in His presence.
You are set free. Live in His freedom and grace.
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