When the iPhone 5s came out in September 2013, I was among the first to purchase one. The new smartphone was a major step up in photo quality, storage, and productivity options. I was still practicing medicine back then and it soon became one of the most important tools in my practice. It had apps for everything from scanning in forms to secure email for medical information.

The iPhone 5s not only fit in my pocket, it fit my hand perfectly. As smartphones grew larger and larger with each launch, I held firm to my outdated phone. It worked. I refused to spend the money on a phone I didn’t want just because it was new.

Trouble in Smartphone Paradise

Earlier this year, my phone developed a little problem with the touchscreen at the top left corner. It wasn’t as responsive to light touch as before but a firm jab would do the trick. Gradually, the problem worsened. A few weeks ago, it developed a new problem. Ghost texting. If I held my finger over the smartphone, it typed whatever it wanted. It wasn’t necessary to touch the screen at all. The problem quickly worsened.

I searched Google for a solution. Several comments suggested it was due to static electricity. I doubted it but I doused my smartphone and myself with StaticGuard. No improvement.

I couldn’t answer the phone, email or text. A web search was hopeless. My pastor offered to repair it, but there were still a few days without a working phone. By that time, I was desperate for my phone so I did what I always do. Prayed about it. Be still, the Voice in my heart seemed to say.

I wanted a miracle, not a slow-down…

I wanted a miracle, not a slow-down, but I set the smartphone aside and went without. No texting,  calls, or photos to document every interesting moment. No internet at the tip of my finger.

A sweet silence filled my life.

Morning quiet time was uninterrupted by digital distraction. My spiritual hearing improved dramatically. I sat down at my computer and worked without interruption. It was heavenly. Productivity expanded in an amazing way.

A smartphone repair improved the situation but didn’t completely resolve the problems. One of my dear friends offered me an iPhone 5s, lightly used and in pristine condition. By the time it arrived, I wasn’t sure I wanted a working phone and waited nearly a week to complete the switchover.

When I finally “moved in” to the new phone, my device addiction was broken. I stopped carrying it in my pocket and leaving it on my desk as I work. The phone’s no longer the first thing I reach for in the morning.  The stranglehold on my quiet time is gone.

The Blessed Breakdown

Before the broke-phone blessing, my quiet time was flat and lacked its usual sweetness. I prayed God would show me what was wrong and how to correct it. He didn’t speak out loud but the quiet of my phone-less state spoke volumes.

I didn’t know I was mastered by my smartphone until I had to do without it.

The plethora of electronic devices available today has opened up the world in amazing ways. We can speak, live and “in person,” to friends and family around the world. Watch as events on another continent unfold. Learn about topics of interest from experts in their fields. Stay up-to-the-minute informed on current events.

They’ve brought much good into the world, but we were never meant to be controlled and totally focused on a box of plastic and electronics. Instead, we are to focus on things above and the people in our lives. When our smartphones control as much of our time as mine did, they become idols in our lives and that idolatry must be broken.

Do digital devices have a choke-hold on your life? Are you wasting in-person time with family and friends by spending time on your phone? How does the amount of time spend on your phone compare with the time spent with loved ones or in the Word of God?

10 steps to take control of your smartphone use:

  1. Move your smartphone from your pocket to your purse or backpack.
  2. If you leave the phone nearby at night, move it off the nightstand so that you must be intentional to access it.
  3. Take your phone off your desk and move it to a shelf or other piece of furniture.
  4. Turn off notifications on social media apps. It’s not necessary to maintain a constant vigil on Facebook, Instagram, or SnapChat. If you want to stay in touch, check in once or twice a day.
  5. Use a timer to monitor the amount of time you spend on your phone. There are apps to help with this.
  6. Ban your phone from quiet time with the Lord. Use a “paper” Bible instead.
  7. If you use on online Bible or devotional app, decide in advance not to move away from the app, no matter how many notifications or digital distractions you receive.
  8. Ask an accountability partner to help you.
  9. When you’re with friends or family, put your phone away. Be present wherever you are.
  10. Most important of all: Ask God to deliver you and set your focus on Him alone.

“for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14

“You will seek me and find me when you seek for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 

Get involved:

Join us for the Whisper Gathering, a life-changing women’s retreat designed to help us hear the Still Small Voice of God October 25-27. Click here for more information: The Whisper Gathering 2018

Our free 5-part course “Create in Me a Clean Heart” is now available. Sign up here to receive the course and our newsletter here: Create in Me a Clean Heart

Thank you bunches for helping expand my digital borders by liking and sharing my posts on Social Media. When you pin to Pinterest, it helps even more, so I hope you’ll take a moment to pin to one of your boards. Thanks so very much! You’re awesome!