Why You Should Give Up Your Cellphone for Lent

In those phone-less hours you may find more ways to see God in the everydayness of life.

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Posted in , Mar 12, 2019

Give up your cell phone for Lent

I hadn’t made any intention of giving up anything for Lent or taking on something, but right after Ash Wednesday, I was heading home from work and halfway there I looked for my phone—but wait, where was it?

Did I leave it at work? As soon as I got home, I emailed a colleague who happened to linger longer at the office than I had. “I think I left my phone on my desk…”

She emailed me right back. “I put it in your drawer. Under a piece of paper. You can get it tomorrow.”

Okay, so I didn’t have to worry about it. But could I live without it?

No Instagram, no texts, no news updates buzzing in my pocket, no phone calls. We don’t even have a landline at home anymore. My wife had her cell phone so we were reachable for emergencies. And there was my computer. But that was it.

It was like I was living back in say…2005. I couldn’t check the weather when I woke up in the morning. Couldn’t listen to a podcast when I worked out at the gym. Couldn’t check Instagram for any cute photos while eating breakfast. Couldn’t see the latest news.

I’ve never thought of myself as a phone addict, but I realized in the space of those phone-less hours that I was more present, more aware of what was going on around me, more ready to see God in the everydayness of life.

On my morning subway commute I read some Bible passages on my Kindle, as always, but I was more focused than usual. I closed my eyes and went into my prayer place—without having to wonder who might be emailing me or texting me. It would have to wait until I was at work.

By the time I was there—digging my phone out of my drawer—I knew what I was going to give up for Lent. Not for always, not for every day, but there are long stretches when the world won’t fall apart if I’m not on my phone. Better yet, I won’t fall apart.

When Jesus talked about praying and fasting He said “Go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

No phone necessary at all. 

Tags: Lent
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