It’s that godly hour again, 3:33 a.m., and He’s dragged me outta bed to write this down before I forget some of it because…well, I guess it’s important.
So. I’ve struggled with different sins throughout my life but in the past year finally reached a point where I’ve gladly submitted the big ones (the glaring, burdensome, recurring ones) before my loving Father, let my Savior Jesus take care of ’em, accepted His help and forgiveness (no strings attached), and been totally freed from the weight and temptation of those sins. It’s been pure awesome.
But tonight, a little after 2am, I woke with a very unsettling feeling, maybe a bad dream (the details of which I can’t recall)? Then I realized God wanted to chat with me about something, something I’d ignored for too long and frankly didn’t want to admit or deal with.
You see, I am a social media addict. Have been for some time, and it’s only getting worse. It wasn’t so bad before I started blogging, but after being advised by blogging experts and conferences to be very active and regular on various social media platforms, I eventually created a monster. In fact, maybe some of you recognized it long before me and quietly “handled it” (e.g., blocked notifications from/about me, “unfriended” me, curtailed your own social media use). But me? Nope, stupid me — I’ve repeatedly ignored all of DH’s half-joking “yup, Mommy’s addicted to her phone” remarks, the kids’ “Mommy, stop looking at your phone” requests, friends’ subtle comments about my co-dependency with my phone.
Only tonight, and only because it was God Himself talking – did the alarms finally go off. He’s been cleaning house, my house, and there’s still much to do. This is what He wanted to say tonight:
“Anita, I love you dearly but you’re out of control. You check your phone constantly for messages, social media updates, comments, likes…. You waste so much time and energy this way. Do you want to live your life or do you want to just post about living life?
Remember several months ago when you started wearing a watch and stopped using your phone to check the time? You had fewer opportunities to be distracted by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the lure to constantly “like,” comment or post. You were more present. But what happened? Shortly thereafter, both of your everyday watches went out of commission – one suddenly broke apart and the other’s battery died. You’ve “been meaning” to get them fixed for some time now. How’s that going?
And you know how you lost or broke your phone several times the past couple years? Each time, you had to go “old school”, write down your daily schedule and important numbers on a small note pad, wear a watch and live life without the distraction of your phone and social media. I was hoping you’d enjoy it. But you were too busy pining for your phone to be found or repaired ASAP.
Did you think those things mere coincidences, just parts of everyday life? It sure looked like it from the outside, didn’t it?
No. The Enemy loves it when you’re vain, self-centered, proud, distracted, not fully present for your family, friends, Me. Those annoying, long-time trusty watches needed to be dealt with. (They were helping you keep focus off yourself.) So he did.
Me? I love it when you’re focused on My Kingdom, the gifts and blessings I desire to share with you, the things I want to show and teach you to enrich your life here and after. I love it when we’re close, Anita. When you crave and relish time with Me as I do with you. That annoying, bewitching phone needed to be dealt with. I let the consequences of your addiction – your distractedness and absentmindedness – take care of that. But you kept replacing or repairing.
I can only remind you of what is right. You know Me, Anita. I will never make you do or not do anything. (It’s called free will, remember?) It’s your choice whether or not to trust or obey. In this, as with everything. But let Me just ask you one thing – have I ever failed you or not come through?”
Ugh. Dad, why you always gotta be so…right??
So. At 3:06 a.m., I found myself on my phone again but this time to run a Google search on “social media addiction app” and lo and behold! There are a number of apps out there to help addicts like me. “Freedom” totally bars you, cold turkey, from the Internet for hours at a time. “SelfControl” (a Mac app) lets you block specific websites for up to 24 hours. “Anti-Social” and “LeechBlock” (a Firefox add-on) block “distracting” social media sites and other sites you specify. Ding ding ding! Checking ’em all out today. (Gotta write that down on a to-do list on a paper notepad.)
Here’s the plan. I just moved all my social media app icons OFF my phone’s home screen to the very last page/screen, I’ll open them no more than twice a day and at appointed times only, I’ll research those anti-addiction apps, I’m going to the watch repair shop today, and I’ll write down my daily schedule on a notepad so I don’t rely on my phone calendar (too tempting otherwise). At the same time, I will be more purposeful about being more present and “tuned in” for God, my family and my friends.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
(Lamentations 3:22, 23 ESV)
Thank You for Your new mercies every morning, God. But can I ask one little favor? Can You maybe grant me those mercies a little later in the morning? Like around 6? 2:00 is a tad early for me. Of course, only if it works for You. Love ‘Ya!