The disappointed look on her face conveyed everything her father needed to know—if only he’d look. But he was too busy fiddling with his phone to witness her growth on the basketball court. She was hoping for encouragement, pleading with her eyes for him to notice her.
Another player—my daughter—beamed at me when she made a good pass. I gave her a thumbs up, happy to be in that place.
I can’t help but be amazed at all the parents (and their children) who use their cell phones during the kids’ games, as if paying attention for a whole hour to what’s going on in real life is just asking too much.
However, these parents simply represent what’s going on in our world today. According to Business Insider, the average cell phone owner uses her cell phone 144 minutes a day.
What would you do with an extra 144 minutes a day? For me, an extra 144 minutes might look like this:
- A board game with the kids (45 minutes)
- A hand written letter to my great aunt who appreciates time honored traditions (10 minutes)
- Gathering my family for prayer (5 minutes)
- Taking a walk with my hubby (20 minutes)
- Extra bedtime stories for kids (15 minutes)
- Talking about boys with my 10 year-old daughter (15 minutes)
- Mowing my elderly neighbor’s lawn—and our own! (30 minutes)
- 2 extra hugs per family member (4 minutes, but priceless)
We are in bondage to our cell phones, I’m afraid. We have become dependent—no, addicted—to its wailing siren.
Until recently, we had more time to daydream, rest, create, innovate, reflect, rejuvenate, sit still, engage with loved ones, and get work done. Cell phones have robbed us from what truly matters. We are on 24/7 and don’t know how to shut off the noise, slow down, and savor the gift of life that God’s given us.
Can God use us when we’re so busy, always on the go, never still or quiet enough to hear His voice? Must He shout? Will He?
I don’t know.
But what I do know is this: You can free yourself from your cell phone’s grip. Here’s how:
- Get honest with yourself. For two days, log exactly how you use your cell phone. Note when you use it, how long, and for what purposes. What surprises you? Upsets you?
- Experiment. Leave the cell phone behind for a few hours, half a day, a weekend! Get an accurate sense of what your cell phone is really costing you, and tally up the benefits from giving it up for a while.
- Create a plan. Implement boundaries. For example, do you really need an email alert set up? What hours will you check your email or accept calls? Can you leave the phone behind for part of the day, so you’re not tempted to fiddle around with it?
- Share those boundaries with others. You can do this respectfully, even with coworkers and your boss. On of my clients told her boss the specific times she checks her voicemail and emails, which assured her boss that she will, indeed, get back to her.
- Ask others to let you know when you’re breaking your own cell phone rules. If I ask my children this, they will be sure to inform me that I’m on the phone too much. They want their mommy time!
Again, what would you do with an extra 144 minutes a day? Would you live the life God desires for you? Would you race the race that’s before you? Would you rest more, pray more, and spread love around twenty times over?