the good way

Me and My Phone

Session 4 • Simplicity & generosity • Activation

When we reflect on our current practice of simplicity, it most likely won’t be long before we begin to become thoughtful about our relationship with technology.

Technology has impacted our lives in many positive and negative ways. In what ways has your relationship with technology improved your life and in what ways does it currently complicate your life?

If you have an iPhone, go to Settings and then select Screen Time.

Here you can see your Daily Average amount of phone use.

Does it surprise or disturb you to see how much cumulative time you’ve spent on your phone today, or all week?

Select See All Activity.

Here you will see a breakdown of how much time has been spent for various purposes.

  • Where are you spending most time?
  • Does this reflect what you say you value most?
  • Are you surprised by anything?

Spend some time reflecting on how your phone usage makes you feel.

  • How do you tend to feel during or after using your phone in these particular ways?
  • When you scroll the news repeatedly, does it lead you to feelings of stress or anxiety?
  • When you scroll social media repeatedly, does it lead you to feelings of envy, insecurity, inadequacy or a sense of competition?

Are you willing to surrender your phone use to God?

Spend some time in stillness before God. Hold before him all that you’re noticing. Try to refrain from self judgement, God receives you with grace and affection. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you and guide you into a more healthy relationship with technology. What is God’s invitation to you? What might greater simplicity look like in this area, and how might you benefit from this?

Getting Practical

All of us need to use our phone in various ways. Here are some suggestions for ways that you can become more free from the use of your phone:

  • Invest in an alarm clock so that you can charge your phone outside of your bedroom. This will help to create some boundaries between you and your phone by ensuring that it isn’t the last thing you look at at night or the first thing you look at in the morning.
  • Make a commitment to enjoy time with God in the morning before you have even looked at your phone.
  • Go on our walk during your lunch break and intentionally leave your phone behind.
  • Decide on a period of time during your day when you will not look at your phone. For example, parents may want to refrain from phone use between when they get home from work and their kids bedtime. Perhaps you will decide that after 9pm your phone ‘goes to bed.’ Power it down or put it in a designated place.
  • Read a book on your commute so that you have something else to do, other than engage with a device.
  • In the Settings/Screen time, you can set limits on particular usage and schedule ‘downtime’ away from your phone. You can also turn off notifications, or remove visual reminders so that you can be less distracted by comments, likes or text messages.
  • When you are walking anywhere, aim to single task. Don’t walk and use your phone, just walk and take in what’s around you.
  • Only check emails when you know you have time to respond to them.
  • A weekly Sabbath is a good opportunity to intentionally reduce your phone use. You could start with going without your phone for a few hours. Gradually you can try to go without your phone for an entire day.

Whatever limits you decide to put on your phone use, do it prayerfully and invite God to help you become more aware of your interior movements throughout the day. When you feel a compulsion to reach for your phone, bring that into conversation to God and ask for his help. Try this for a week or two and see if you notice any difference in your mood throughout the day.

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