If you’re like me in quarantine, your screen time has gone up astronomically. I went from a couple of hours to about 8 hours a day. Am I slightly ashamed to say that? Yes! It’s 8 hours of my day devoted to my phone, which is the same time as a regular shift at work.
For quite some time before this situation, this addiction to my phone was how I filled much of my spare time. Through boredom, uneventful situations, and stress, my phone was my out. This was nothing new to me or to God. And that’s exactly why He intervened.
About three years ago, after washing dishes, I dropped my Google Pixel in the dishwater. Within seconds, I felt horror, devastation, and immense sadness. I cried immediately as I scrambled to find some rice to dry it out. (It’s funny how phones always have that “it’s waterproof” benefit, but they don’t really tell you how waterproof they are). After leaving it in rice for about an hour, I had hoped that it would turn on, but nothing. My parents tried to sooth me by saying things like, “Oh, it will be fine” or “You can always wait to get another one”, but I wasn’t trying to hear it. I could only see the blank screen of my device signifying my worst nightmare: my phone was dead, completely. So what do we do when we’re in trouble? Call God! But I wasn’t sure I was ready to hear His answer. In that moment, I heard God say to me, “This was the only way I could get your attention, and I shouldn’t have to do it this way.”
God had hit me with the 1-2-jab that convicted me. His words provided two very valid and scary truths.
- I had such an obsession with my phone that I couldn’t focus on anything else, including God.
- I had placed God as my last resort to turn to because of it.
Exodus 20:3-5 says,
3 “You must not have any other god but me.
4 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.
Now these verses are part of the Ten Commandments, and clearly I had violated them. I repented of my sin because I honestly wanted nothing to come between what I have with Christ or to affect me or my children. However, I had a lot of work to do to break this unhealthy bond.
In losing my phone for some hours, I cried, said I couldn’t live without it, and felt like I had just endured a lost of a best friend. (I know, very dramatic). All of this pointed to idol worship that I had no business doing and affected my relationship with God. It’s no wonder He stopped me. I was going off into the deep and in Exodus 20:5 that he was a jealous God and would not tolerate affection for any other gods.
So, if I could spend hours on my phone, why couldn’t I do the same with God?
And that’s the magical question to ask yourself today. If you are like me and you struggle to escape the claws of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., it may be time to reassess.
By no means am I telling you to give up your cellphone, social media and live off-grid for your entire life. That would be nearly impossible since so much of our society is digital. However, I am asking you to evaluate your time and how you spend it.
Recently, in my personal struggle, God helped me use the digital well-being features on my phone. You could say, “Well Chan, all phones have those features. You’re not special for using that.” And yeah that may be true, but in the usage of the parameters God set for me, my entire life changed.
I not only developed a plan for myself (I am disorganized, but I’m working on it), but I have searched for God more. My cut down of screen time gave God the space to work in my life the way He intended. I hear His voice more clearly, write the way I want, and found peace in many areas of life. I can’t even go to sleep peacefully unless I’ve read a passage from the Bible (lol). Also, I’ve developed so many more hobbies now!
John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
I’m committed to loving God and to keeping His commandments laid out in the Word and those He’s uttered to me. If that just happens to be scrolling through Pinterest and Twitter a little less, then so be it.
Romans 8:38-39 sums it up perfectly:
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now if you’re nosey like me, you’re probably thinking, “Now why hasn’t she talked about her 8 hour screen time in quarantine yet?”
My answer is this: Youtube, Phone Calls, Spotify, and my digital Bible.
God Bless You!
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