5 lessons learned when my toddler broke my phone.

11:16 AM

Well hello there.

   I am back "on the grid" after not having a phone for over a week.  I know, I know, first world problems, but it definitely taught me a thing or two.  And so, because everyone loves a bulleted list now and then, I give you:

Five Things I learned without a phone for a week:

1. It showed me who my real friends are.     
   O.k just kidding. (Or am I?)  I've found it doesn't matter if you have hundreds of "friends" on Facebook or thousands of followers elsewhere.  When it comes right down to it, if your phone quits and you can't contact anybody for over a week, only a handful of people will actually notice, (or in my case, about 3) and take the time to ask you about it.  And sometimes it's a surprise who those few people actually turn out to be.  With this new communication age of social media, it provides a constant platform for what I like to call "faux connection".  You feel "connected" to everyone just by glancing at pictures of what they are doing online, but that's not real connection at all.  And if you think it's real, just watch and see what happens when you (or they) don't post anymore and you realize you have no idea of what's going on in their lives and no intention of asking anytime soon.  Because you're not really "real" friends. That proves that you weren't really connected with them in the first place.

2. I spend a lot more time on it than I think I do. 
    I tend to scoff a little bit at those blog posts circulating the internet about how much we're on our phones all of the time because I don't think that I spend that much time on my phone.  Well...turns out I do.  Whether it's looking up a recipe on Pinterest while cooking dinner, tuning into a podcast while cleaning, listening to music while exercising, using Google maps to find places while I drive, sending a text to a friend, or calling to make appointments......I use it a LOT. And that's not even counting the social media usage. Which brings me to my next point.

3. It's inspiring to take a break from social media.  
   One of the most oft-used descriptors I hear attributed to Instagram is "inspiration".  But if you're being brutally honest with yourself, how often are you actually inspired after checking IG?  Unless you count being inspired to buy something that everyone seems to have.  Spoiler alert, that doesn't count.  Instead, I've found when I'm not constantly tuned into whatever everyone else is doing at every moment, I am more able to clearly think about my own goals, dreams and ideas, and not waste time convincing myself they're worthless, or someone else is already doing it better, or that I will never be as successful as this one person so why even try, etc.etc.  I am really excited about an opportunity that came about recently and I don't believe it's a coincidence that I finally had the courage to pursue it while I was "unplugged".

4. I read my Bible more.  
   Whoa, now we're getting personal! Though humbling, it's true. I read my Bible more without a phone because I still nurse Archer and so that means that I am often sitting down throughout the day, and I usually use that time to scroll on my phone.  When I used that time to read my Bible instead, I was amazed at how those little reading times actually added up.  If you're struggling to find time for your quiet time (like I was) don't wait for a big, blocked-off, 2-hour, quiet portion of time.  That won't happen until your baby graduates.  Just take little moments.  I didn't usually get my Bible out when I sat down to nurse because it was only going to be a short time.  It seemed like it wouldn't be long enough to have a valuable devotional time anyway, and so I would just use my phone.  But when I decided to read the Bible even if I just had a minute or two, those minutes added up to a lot more than I realized (because doesn't it always work that way?) and before I knew it, I was making my way through a whole lot of Bible reading.  So that's my first tip, steal time for it, even if it's just a few minutes, and my second tip is to get a One-Year Bible.  I've never had one before and it is a game-changer for me.  I found mine at Goodwill for a couple bucks (try looking when you go next, they almost always have one) and I can't believe I've never tried one before.  I sit down to read and I know exactly where I am and what to read and that has always been what bogged me down before.  Anyway, I love it and you will too.  GET ONE.

5. My children just want what I want. 
   I occasionally let my kids use my phone and ironically, that was the downfall of my last one.  William decided to give it a bath.  And so we will probably have some new rules with this one, but in any case, they seemed to want it ALL THE TIME.
"Can we look at pictures?"
"Can we play a game?"
"Can we watch videos?"
Whine, whine, whine, ask, ask, ask.  It was driving me crazy.  But guess how many times they asked for my phone the week I wasn't using one? That's right, ZERO.  Because turns out, they just want what we want.  When they see us devoting time and attention to something, they want in on that.  And who can blame them?  They want US.  And we want them to want us.  And I want them to want the things I want, and so I'd better be wanting the right things.  Whew.  That's a mouthful.

   So.  This concludes my list and almost has me thinking I should try and go without a phone permanently.  Switch back to one of those landlines with the bungee cord that my kids pull on and play with while I'm making dinner.  Well, the reason I don't think that's the answer is because in many ways, cutting out temptations from our lives will always be "easier" than learning how to deal with them, but it isn't always the answer.  It takes focus and determination and intention and discipline to deal with something in our life that has the potential to help OR to harm, and that learning process is good for us.  It's refining.  It's not always pretty, or easy, and it can be downright embarrassing to realize about ourselves, but it's GOOD FOR US.

   And so yes, I'm thankful to have a phone again, but I'm also thankful for what not having one taught me.  And I intend to use it with more intention from now on.

Hold me to it.

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