Why the Internet Is Keeping Us From the Best Parts of Life


April 28, 2016

Why the Internet is Keeping You from the Best Parts of Life // Read more on www.jennieallen.com

I have three darling, intrusive friends that are a big part of my life- Laura, Bekah, & Julie. You’ve probably heard me talk about them.

Every Thursday, we meet for lunch and ask each other hard questions about every part of our lives. We get honest about our marriages, our kids and parenting, what we’re afraid of, where we’re sinning and we celebrate the awesome, fun stuff too. But what I found this past week was that I was not being fully honest about something….

My time spent on my phone and computer. It flies under the radar and I’m not even aware how often I’m on it.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Internet, our phones can certainly be redemptive tools. I have seen Jesus go out to corners of the globe through technology.

But, I fear we are missing our lives.

Is technology really giving us life? Do we ever feel filled up after an accidental hour on our phones?

Our addictions are pulling us away from the purposes God has for us. They numb us, distract us, and make us focus on anything but Him. Then, we wonder why we can’t find community, why we don’t feel close to God, why we feel stuck, why aren’t seeing more fruit in our lives, why we are not seeing Him.

I really believe this is big part of it. We have swung so far from discipline and order to avoid legalism, but end up missing all the simple things that are meant to give us God.

I am tired of it and I bet you are too- so here are a few ideas to help us not miss our lives for our phones:

1. Track how much you use your phone.

A great tool to help us phone-addicts: Moment App. The first day I used it, I was on my phone for 1.5 hours. Continued over a week’s time-10.5 hours. More than a full day I’ve lost to my phone.

Oh and there are days it is worse than that!

So practically speaking, this could be as simple as downloading a time tracking app for accountability or leaving your phone in the kitchen at night. A while back, I went and bought an old school alarm clock specifically for this purpose. I wanted to break the habit of mindless scrolling as soon as I woke up.

2. Have real life friends.

I love the friendships I have online- but they cannot take the place of eyeballs and laughter and meals and sitting on patios. If our online community replaces our real life people, get offline.

Do you share what’s going on in your soul? And if you don’t have an outlet for this, why not? 

3. Following people who are close to God is not the same thing as being close to God.

I love following podcasts, blogs and accounts of leaders I respect, but there is a temptation to let it replace the Church. Because we are hungry for God, we go to people who we think have Him instead of going to Him in the Scriptures ourselves.

4. Phone station. Have a basket by your door and everyone put your phones in it when you come home. Take breaks, days away.

Take 24 hours off technology this week. It will be the greatest gift. You may realize you can actually breathe a little better without it!

Are you addicted? How do we break this?

27 Responses to “Why the Internet Is Keeping Us From the Best Parts of Life”

  1. Yep!
    I’ve been going through Kelly Minter’s “No Other Gods” study with a few girlfriends over the past several months, and a few weeks ago God was SO CLEAR that this is an issue for me.

    Thanks for writing about this Jennie! I think we need a lot of honesty around this issue because quite frankly it feels ridiculous to admit addiction to a 5 inch piece of Lithium, metal and plastic (or whatever it’s made of). We can’t let shame and embarrassment keep us silent though or we’ll stay stuck!

  2. Struggling hard with #2. It’s hard to find likeminded people who are willing to make room in their lives for real friendship. We are two years into our new area and still looking for those heart friendships.

  3. We (myself, husband and two teenage daughters) keep our charging station on a shelf in the garage. Phones are due for all four of us at 9:30 (weekends are later, especially if the girls have something going on…we are not legalistic about it). We set our house alarm at night so no one revisits their phone without turning the alarm off and hearing the beep thought the house. This forces us to really have a reason to check the phones! As a parent, it gives us so much peace of mind. Plus, it shows our girls that we live by the same rules. We keep a cheap landline by our bed just in case a friend or family member has an emergency and needs to reach us. I hope this helps someone! 🙂

  4. This is exactly where I’m at! I was just telling my husband last night that we are setting some technology free time with our family. Our kids went on a mission trip to Mexico over Spring Break with 40 other teens and they were face to face for 5 days straight! They enjoyed real relationships without cellphones and emojis! We NEED to fight for this in our families and our friendships.❤️

  5. WOW!!! 24 hours without my phone, what would that look like?
    The Lord has been dealing with ME about getting away and spend time with him and soak him in and this was conformation on that. I love to get on Facebook and see what everyone has going on and than I get busy with my day and spending less time online will open up more of my time for God & family and really living in the moment.
    Thank you for reminding me today to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit

  6. Such a good reminder, Jennie. Thank you. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I had taken Facebook off my phone for a while, and only had the groups app on. It was so amazing how much less I used my phone! Then I had to put it on to use Facebook Live in a group, so I ended up keeping it on, and I’ve noticed how easy it is to get sucked into those little red notifications.

    “We have swung so far from discipline and order to avoid legalism, but end up missing all the simple things that are meant to give us God.” – This is also so true. I’m working on developing discipline in my life, but growing up with a semi-legalistic background, I think I had gotten way too far away from developing healthy habits and disciplines in my spiritual life.

    Also love the practical advice you’re giving, and will be sharing it with others!

  7. Thank you. I needed to hear this today. It’s hard not having an IRL tribe, but I guess I need to go find one.

  8. Pam Berry

    Thank you. When my career ended suddenly last month l found myself “sucked into” more and more virtual life . I had just “lost” the physical community that I had been a part of for almost 20 years. I also was trying to figure out who I was aside from my career. Because my job over the past couple of years had increasingly consumed my time (and my life) and I had neglected the friendships I had, I didn’t think I could all of a sudden call them and say, ‘hey, I’m hurting and I feel alone’. So I settled for saying that online…where I could edit and re-edit my responses. That isn’t to say that God hasn’t used some of that to bring healing but in my gut I knew I was being drawn into a cycle of reclusiveness that was quickly isolating me from the real world. Yet God. He led you to start a village (that at first I thought was a tad bit crazy) which I ended up becoming a part of…only to find that I had used it to replace the community I had lost. Then you spoke that Sunday night on this very thing…and I knew I had to pull back, and step out and risk. Relate to people through more than responses on a screen. So, thank you, because I got the message.

    • Love this, Pam. Thanks for being a part of the village.

  9. Bethany

    Thanks for this post, Jennie! I’ve been having similar feelings over the past few weeks. While I love to learn & glean from people/blogs/podcasts I follow, I often feel that I’m missing out on life. Time for an honest eval & some redirecting. Thanks for being so transparent.

  10. When you challenged the IF leaders to fast in preparation for IF I decided to fast from my phone/social media. Every time I went to pick up my phone and quick check Facebook or Insta or my email or text or … or … or … I stopped myself and prayed instead. It was so illuminating. I reached for it so often I was embarrassed and I spent A LOT of time in prayer that day. By the end I didn’t even miss it. But so often I find myself drifting back to bad habits. I encourage others to pray instead of check their phones. Its a win in every way. 🙂

    • This is a great suggestion! Thanks for sharing!

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