How To Keep Your iPhone From Ruining Your Quiet Time

Note from Kat: Today’s post is from my friend Heather MacFadyen. She blogs at GodCenteredMom.com. She is an amazing part of the Hello Mornings Team and I’m so thankful for her ideas, energy and encouragement.

I care what you think…

Every day I fight a battle. Will I strive for your approval or God’s?
How I spend my time, energy, thoughts & resources depends on this battle. Buying a new dress to impress at a baby shower. Obsessing over a previous conversation and if I hurt a friend’s feelings. Repeatedly checking email, Facebook, Twitter, to see if you commented, “liked”, or re-tweeted me.

I want you to tell me how wonderful I am. Having an iPhone in my hand from the moment I wake until my eyes drift off to sleep keeps the battle right in front of me. Constantly.

Tweeting more than Praying

When I started getting up “for” my kids, instead of “to” my kids I wasn’t addicted to my iPhone. It was before I entered the “blogging” world. I didn’t know a single person on twitter. None of my friends were updating their statuses at crazy early ‘o clock.

I would wake up have my quiet time with God, some quick exercise and plan my day all in the 40 minutes allotted.

Slowly I met more #hellomornings moms online. Instead of tweets being ignored, when I wrote something meaningful others liked it and would comment or re-tweet. It fed my addiction for approval.

A year later I spent more of my hellomornings time on my iPhone than in my Bible. This was not Kat’s intent. The online community she plugged me into was for accountability and encouragement, not a distraction from God.

My iPhone Boundaries during #hellomornings:

For me getting rid of my iPhone was unrealistic. Being a part of the #hellomornings team, leading a Twitter accountability group, and contributing to “Do Not Depart”, I need to be checking in on my phone in the morning. In order to put my “iPhone idol” in its proper place, I had to establish some boundaries:

1) Write a quick tweet to “check in”
2) Glance through the feed for my accountability group for any prayer requests/struggles/etc.
3) Respond to those requests
4) PUT the iPhone in the NEXT ROOM!
5) After spending time in prayer, the Word, journaling then tweet what God’s taught me.
6) Check the Bible study stream (#lovelikehim) for any other wisdom
7) Once a week take a 24-hr social media Sabbath

This may not be your struggle. You may not even have an iPhone. There is most likely something consuming your thoughts, time, and energy other than God. Whatever you think about most often takes the place of God in your mind (“Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your MIND”).

What is distracting you from keeping your eyes fixed on God? What boundaries can you put in place today? Click here to join the discussion!

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Comments

28 Comments

  • Avatar Jamee says:

    Thank you for your honesty. It helps to know I am not only one who struggles. I have purposely stayed off twitter so as to not have another place to check in.

    And I will consider the 24 hr media Sabbath…..

    • Avatar Heather says:

      you’re welcome. Funny thing is I totally failed on my iPhone boundaries this morning…not knowing Kat was posting this today. Ha! Hope you find the 24 hr media sabbath helpful. I love how it “resets” my need. Usually end up staying off the next 24 hours as well.

  • Avatar Amy Nap says:

    To be totally honest, I too have seen facebook and blog sites taking me away from Gods word. While the sites I visit are God centered ..it does take away my time spent with God. Having a smart phone makes it all too easy to frequently check FB. I too have stayed off twitter and pinterest so I dont add to that time waste. I do feel a great ministry and work being done through what Kat has started and the entire team of ladies. I just need to be better at restricting myself..self control. Keep my priorities straight and do all to the glory of the Lord.

    • Avatar Heather says:

      Thank you for sharing your struggle as well Amy. Definitely think Kat encouraging 1,000 of moms to wake up and spend time with God is getting the attention of the evil one. He would love to distract us from communing with God. Sadly I give in to the temptation more than I’d like. Good for us to keep each other accountability regarding social media.

  • Avatar Audra says:

    This is absolutely one of my greatest struggles, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. I am an approval addict, and social media feeds into that. God is taking me into some pretty ugly places inside my spirit that still (despite my being 27 and not 13) do many things out of a need for attention. It hasn’t been pleasant, but I know that He is growing my heart through it, and reminding me that the approval and attention I truly, deep down, desire isn’t the kind of that comes from any form of social media. It’s not even the kind that comes from people. Praying that God continues to teach me how to desire His approval and attention and His alone.

    • Avatar Heather says:

      “Approval addict”. yup. Right there with you. Glad to hear God is working with you and directing you back to Him for approval and acceptance. Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar Kym says:

    Buy a different phone that does not allow you to be online. Then only be online on your laptop at specific times.

    I got rid of my smart phone and my data plan and don’t regret it at all. The world does not end if you don’t tweet or you are not on facebook.

    • Avatar Heather says:

      That’s impressive Kym. I’m still “baby stepping” my way there. For me at this stage I need boundaries, but maybe it will come to completely cutting myself off. Thanks for the encouragement that it can be done!

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    I don’t have an iPhone and don’t intend to get one. I already spend wayyy too much time online when I’m at home and am sure having internet access available to me wherever I am would be terrible for me. I’m fortunate that I don’t have any good reasons to have an iPhone, so it’s easy for me to do without.

    • Avatar Heather says:

      Since getting an iPhone, the positive is I spend less time on my computer. I’m never on the computer when my boys are awake. However, it is all to easy to “quickly” check my phone. The main point of my post was setting boundaries for morning quiet time and not allowing other things to inhibit my relationship with God. Thankful you do not have to worry about it!

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    Through a serious of marriage woes, my husband asked me to give up facebook completely. My vague and sad posts were causing him to stumble. I did it, and it took a couple weeks, but it was very freeing. I have to say that the time I spend in God’s word has become more about God, and less about how can I frame what God has taught me so I can gain others approval. As much as I thought I could not live without it, I could!! Maybe it is not what God called you to, but for me it has been a blessing in disguise. I spend more thoughts on my family and God then I did when I was worried about the facebook world! Thanks for sharing this!

  • Avatar Vickie says:

    Thank you so much for this post which hit home hard today. I’m a mum of three and a child psychologist. In my work I realised that the attachment difficulties some of the young children referred to me were presenting with with partly due to the eye contact, hugs and language they were missing out on as a result of their mothers spending long amounts of time online or texting or speaking on their phones. I often see children given phones to play with in supermarkets to keep them quiet rather than parents engaging with children. These tools not only take us away from God – they take us far away from times and memories we will never get back. I love the growing movement of ‘hands free parenting’ ie ensure your hands are free to do the right thing. I now deliver training to early years settings on how to support parents to play, interact and be present for their children rather than turning to a screen. Sad days indeed x

    • Avatar Heather says:

      Wow Vickie! This comment is full of so much…Thank you for sharing your experience. You definitely made me stop and think about how much eye contact I am giving my boys. Having 4 boys I’m usually busy with someone or something. Your comment is definitely making me stop and look them in the eye when they are talking instead of continuing in my task and nodding my head. Thank you!

  • Avatar Amanda says:

    I am nodding my head as I read! I love my Droid X, and in so many ways, my phone helps my spiritual walk (YouVersion, Remember Me, etc). But its so easy to get sucked into conversations and spend my precious morning moments away from God. Thanks for the ideas and tips!

    • Avatar Heather says:

      oh yes Amanda those great iPhone tools…I actually wrote a post on the top 10 apps for spiritual development. It’s hard b/c if I use them I also am tempted to check email/FB/twitter once the phone is in my hand. Hope the tips help you!

  • Avatar Robin says:

    One word…GUILTY! Only mine’s an HTC EVO. I recently started participating in #hellomornings and have been very blessed. That being said, I am already seeing the “fine line of addiction” you struggled with. Thank you for bringing it to light.

  • Avatar Lauren says:

    I use my Iphone during my quiet time… set my timer for 15 minutes and ready my Bible until it alarms. I usually end up reading more. I don’t participate in an accountability group, just a couple of online groups on facebook, so I also don’t get on the computer until my timer has gone off. I’ve been doing this for a couple of months and have found it really helps me. I also try to write down anything that I’m planning for the day before I start if possible, so I won’t be focusing on what I have to do.

    • Avatar Heather says:

      what an AWESOME idea! 15 minute timer. Thanks for sharing! Also like having a pad of paper next to me to write down the things that keep distracted my mind. Thanks Lauren!

  • I am the SAME as you! “Repeatedly checking email, Facebook, Twitter, to see if you commented, “liked”, or re-tweeted me. I want you to tell me how wonderful I am.” <–YIKES.

    I used to take my computer w/me in the mornings. Then I would get distracted and start clicking every link I saw on twitter, writing posts and more. Now I *just* have my phone with me and it slows me down tremendously. I can check my YouVersion reading plan (which I just happen to be doing now), take a picture of my #hellomornings for IG and then just read. I hate typing on my phone, waiting for it to load links and so I don't want to do much on it.

    I think the point is remembering why we're getting up early–not to be a part of an accountability group. Not to make #hellomornings famous (altho' I want it to be!). Not to even interact and encourage others–but to spend time with our Heavenly Father.

    GREAT post, Heather! Love you, girlfriend!
    a

  • Avatar Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing in my struggle! Glad you were able to find the boundaries/system you need for your morning. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • I. Needed. This. Thanks.
    i just need to remember that my Ipad can be an incredible tool to be used for the Lord…. Or it can be an idol.

  • Avatar Larri says:

    Great post, Heather! I have no smart phone, because I know I couldn’t handle it. 🙂

    As for me and my boundaries…I cannot turn on the computer before my QT. If I do a ‘quick check-in’ just to say hello to my tweet friends, QT is destroyed for that day. I must have those moments with just me, my Bible, and Him with no other intrusion.

  • […] Realizing how desperately dependent I am on my time with God I’ve made a commitment to my husband, and asked friends for prayer, to rise early. And in that time I will spend more face-to-face time with the One True God, not distracted by social media. […]

  • Avatar Jess says:

    Such a relatable post. I left fb for this reason and the unproductive time I was spending on it was also all negative topics. I was balanced for a bit but now find I’m twitter/email obsessed. It’s definitely not an app or phone problem, it’s an internal/boundaries problem. I like the idea of a sabbatical. I’ve been struggling with a way to find the balance rather than just getting rid of accounts or my iPhone all together.

  • Avatar Jen S says:

    So with you! And so grateful for you sharing the practical boundaries you set…I’m all over them! 🙂 Blessings to you Sister.

  • Avatar Angela Marks says:

    I love the way God speaks! I was just thinking about the same thing and I stumbled across this via pinterest! I’m also a #hellomornings tweeter! Going to be more intentional with my time!