Screen time

A notification came up on my phone today and apparently my smart phone has been keeping track of how much time we spend together. I couldn’t believe the number of hours it tallied!

It was the equivalent of a full-time job!

Horrified, I double checked the outrageous number of hours on the notification.

  • Quick scroll of Facebook in the morning.
  • A YouTube video while I get ready for work
  • Podcasts while I meal prep 
  • Netflix while I do the dishes
  • A bit of scrolling social media here and there.

Add in my digital crossword puzzles and Solitaire games at night to relax – and it all adds up!

I am spending more time with my screens than I am with my husband!

Researchers say all that heads-down posture lowers our empathy toward others and deteriorates our interpersonal skills. Case in point – when was the last time you struck up a conversation with the woman in line with you at the grocery store or bank or on the bus?

Our culture has never been more connected or more lonely. We use our phones to stalk instead of talk. We don’t actually connect with real people on our phones and it creates a feeling of isolation and loneliness.

God did not create us to do life alone.

He put unique gifts, talents and qualities in you to bless others. You have marvelous and tragic life experiences that can encourage and equip others!  We need to connect with our people instead of our screens to feel the love come back in our relationships.

Digital Detox Options

Obviously, we can’t just stop using our phones, but we can make some modifications. If you’re ready to re-evaluate the relationship with your screens, let me make a couple of suggestions.

  • Choose to engage with people around you. Ask about the weather or the ball game or the price of milk.
  • Call rather than text.
  • Repurpose some of your screen time. Take up an actual hobby. Read a book. Paint a picture. Go for a walk. Write a letter.
  • Say no to your phone for an hour, a day or a weekend. Set it down, leave it behind, or turn it off for a while.

When we set aside our phones, I’m confident our relationships will flourish, our productivity will escalate and our creativity will blossom.

I’m curious. How much time do you spend on your devices? What is one thing you’ll exchange for endless hours online?

Verse for today:

“I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. – 1 Corinthians 6:12

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for the ease of the world I live in. The little device in my hand is more powerful than the computers that sent men into space 50 years ago. How wondrous! But Lord, I beg you to help me to keep anything but You from ruling my life. Protect my time and attention from distractions. Remind me that while many things vie for my attention, that I must keep my eyes on you first.

22 Comments

  1. Marian on August 29, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you for your message today. It was like a breath of fresh air. I recently moved from my very comfortable home into senior living, and all now is different from my life before I moved here. I am thankful for my heavenly Father Who loves me and provides for me. I would like close friends and people who care. I want to become a friend to others too. I want to encourage you to continue your ministry, especially to women. Isn’t it wonderful that God can use us for His name’s sake.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Hi Marian, I admire your courage to move and your desire to BE a friend who has friends.May the Lord honor your heart’s desire and bless you with great relationships. amen!

  2. Sandy Allen on August 29, 2021 at 10:43 pm

    I am astonished when I see how much time I spend on my phone. Need prayers to help with this addiction (and that is what it is) to get it behind me.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:13 am

      Sandy I agree with you in prayer for a healthy balance with your phone use. You probably can’t eliminate phones from your life, ? but you can determine if you boss it or if it rules you.
      Jesus, be our guide amen

  3. Christine Michelle Morrison on August 29, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Dear Robyn,
    I first “met” you at the Knox Ladies Seminar a few years back. It was great to hear your story and all your wonderful advice based on God’s Word and from experience also.
    This email hit home as I too spend more hours than need be on my phone, email, ect. Me…..a non-tech person just 2 years ago. Everything in our busy lives has made using a phone or computer to do some things, so much easier and yet……does it??? I love the verse you added at the end, 1 Cor.6:12…so true and what I need to really allow to be “true” of my life as a Christ follower. Thanks for the wake up call!!
    Hope to hear and see you again someday. Take care and God bless you!
    In Christ,
    Christine Morrison

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:10 am

      Hi Christine, I’m so glad you posted. Knox Ladies Seminar was a great event for me, too. Maybe they’ll have me back. ?
      In the meantime, I’m glad for your awareness and pray that you find the balance for your phone use.

  4. Lisa Mathe on August 29, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    So true.. My older sister can’t do messenger or get e-mail. Bad headaches or tv. She got an mri the doctor said nothing was wrong. I call her or she call me. She has a new doctor thank God for the prayer chain her new doctor had an answer. She has a type of migraine.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:08 am

      Lisa, You are a good sister. I’m so thankful your sister got an answer to her headaches and pray for relief now and forever in Jesus name!

  5. Shirley Franklin-Simons on August 29, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    I spend a lot of time trying to keep up with the events in our Country as they change rapidly. How sad these days there is battle for change and most of the Patriots know the change is not good. With prayer and strength we must fight for our freedom. Socialism does not work and this has been proven many times.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:07 am

      Hi Shirley,
      I appreciate your diligence. Information is powerful.

  6. Kay Zehr on August 29, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Thank you for your much needed reminder! I am conscious of the problem with many of us, and we need more reminders like this! I wish our media would post more like this!

    Thank u again Robyn for the reminder! May God bless you & your ministry! ??

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:03 am

      Aw, thanks for posting, Kay. Appreciate your encouragement ?

  7. Judi Asiala on August 30, 2021 at 1:45 am

    I’m probably the odd one. I leave my phone home when I walk my dog, and only check for messages from time to time. Sometimes I only check email once a day!8

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:01 am

      Hi Judi – Wow, that’s discipline. So glad you’ve found the balance that works for you and inspires the rest of us. ?

  8. Rose Kamwesa on August 30, 2021 at 2:21 am

    You put it the way it really is with me !
    It is a good reminder to me and I need to reconsider my priorities.
    The trouble is , I am on my phone now!

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 30, 2021 at 11:00 am

      Rose, Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! Phones enhance our lives in wonderful ways. Here’s to finding the balance. ? Thanks for posting.

  9. Jeanie Monk on August 30, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I spend waaaay too much time on my phone. Texting, checking emails, social media, playing games. You can spend hours without even realizing it. I sure needed this reminder. I’m going to cut back. I met you and your husband in Palatka, FL at the Women’s Conference right before Covid hit. A sweet lady in my church passed away yesterday from Covid. You take care and stay safe. God Bless.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 31, 2021 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Jeanie,
      I had a great time with your women at Palatka… and am happy to be your object lesson for putting down the phone.

      I’m sorry to hear about your friend dying of Covid.

      You stay safe and take care, too.

  10. Sue Prybylla on August 30, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    The timing of this email is perfect. So ready to disconnect that before I read this I was pricing flip phones to get off the smart phone and change my phone number because of the time spent in toxic conversations, whether the conversations are texts or scrolling through Facebook…I am so sad and exhausted from all the sadness and drama going on in my family, church and in the world. I need a break!!!
    My brother and I are writing a book about our abuse in our family of origin and that is extremely heavy and exhausting, but the truth needs to be told for the next generations to break the cycle. Sorry so heavy…

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 31, 2021 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Sue,
      I’m so sorry that’s the book you have to write, but I’m sure it will therapeutic for you and helpful to others.

      If you need help writing the book, you might talk to Dawn Damon who coaches others how to share their hard story. http://dawnscottdamon.com/

      Also, if you plan to publish the book and don’t have a contract yet, consider coming to Speak Up next year to pitch your book to acquisition editors from all the big Christian houses. https://speakupconference.com/

  11. Kristina Walles on August 31, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. I am able to put my phone down, I am an outside person and don’t want to bother keeping track of it. However at night I tend to be on it a lot. Others in my family are on it most of the time. Frustrating to try and have conversations with others, who don’t even look up to answer.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 31, 2021 at 3:19 pm

      Wow, Kristina, you are so right about trying to communicate with people who are head’s down engrossed in their phones. Good for you to have good balance and patience.

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