Lent – The Cell Phone Challenge

Posted on Mar 5 2014 - 6:00pm by Tammy Smith
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Lent – it’s going to change my life this year! Join me is you dare!

I was not raised in a church that encouraged the practice of Lent.

It’s not that I wasn’t raised in a church, of course I was, I’m from the South. I was there every time the doors opened.

And it’s not that I was raised in a laid back kind of church; hardly, I was raised Pentecostal Holiness and I don’t think anyone has ever accused them of being laid back!

It’s just that some Christian faiths, my denomination included, for whatever reason, just don’t practice Lent.

But I dabbled, as kids will do, especially in high school, since my friends were doing it.

                If you’re going to dabble, Lent is pretty safe!

I think I gave up soda or something like that, apparently it wasn’t very earth shattering for me at the time since I don’t remember it and if the truth be told, I probably did it because my boyfriend’s church did it and I probably lost interest after about day 10 and moved on to some other “trend”.

So what is Lent?

It’s a season of preparation. It marks the start of the preparation for Easter and is supposed to provide a distraction free time of reflection, moderation and discipline. Here’s the short version:

  1. It always begins the day after Fat Tuesday – If I was Tuesday I’d apply for a name change;
  2. It lasts until Easter – which makes it 40 days long;
  3. It doesn’t include Sundays I have no idea why Sundays don’t countmaybe they should be upset also;
  4. You are supposed to give something up, the crazier the better – but it’s supposed to be real sacrifice.

That is Lent in a nutshell!

According to the internet because (you can find a top ten list for ANYTHING on there) some of the most popular sacrifices made in the name of Lent are:

  1. Coffee – This is impossible, there would be blood-shed in my house and pretty sure the Bible is clear on that being one of the big no-no’s!
  2. Chocolate
  3. Alcohol – which makes me chuckle a little (but like coffee….. no wine for 40 days = blood shed, therefore off my list)
  4. Facebook – 1st world Lent here folks!
  5.  Cursing – again this makes me chuckle
  6. Sex  – Clearly a clever woman came up with this one to use when her headache excuse got old
  7. Smoking
  8. Gossiping  – Perhaps there is a bigger problem if you gossip so much that you need to give it up for Lent
  9. Fast Food – We have truly Americanized Lent and
  10. Cell Phones/mobile devices

In all seriousness, I have felt quite convicted for a couple of weeks now about that final #10!  It has absolutely nothing to do with Lent or the impending Lent or Mardi Gras or Easter and has everything to do with my toddler.

God works in mysterious ways people!

It all started recently when I heard 2 year old say, to me, one night after dinner:

“Mommy, put down your phone and play with me!” – stab directly in the heart, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00 – instant mommy shame and guilt.

Of course as soon as he said that I put it down and got down on the floor and played with him –

Shew! Super cape back on!

Regrettably, however, my phone has not stayed off since that night and I have heard him say it more times than I would like to admit when he was trying to get my attention:

                “Mommy, put down your phone.”

Why do I even look at that phone?

It is not as if I don’t have enough to do….

From the moment I leave work, I am in an absolute mad dash.

First it’s my Nascar-style dash home to feed my still breastfeeding baby because if I am late or he gets hungry early, my mom will have to use some of that stored milk and for some unexplicable reason that is one of my worst fears. Most days I leave work feeling like I have a window of opportunity as narrow as the space shuttle upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and one little miscalculation will cause a depletion of the liquid gold I work so hard for. Side note: Breastfeeding has made me a hoarder.

Then I have to actually get the kids loaded up, get them home, feed them dinner, clean the dishes, prepare for the next day, playtime, bath time, story time, bedtime, a few more feedings in there….. and now I’m actually wondering how I even have time to pick up my phone….

But I do and often!

It’s also not as if I don’t have enough on my mind……

I mean with all the “Hey Hubs – the baby’s wrist just popped when I picked him up, do you think he has brittle bone disease” – or something equally as manic that makes me thankful every day that he loves and doesn’t commit me ……

Or the 101 times every night I have to ask him if the front door is locked and the alarm is set before finally getting out of bed and checking for myself so I can see it – no joke folks, this is just how CRAY-CRAY I am and this is every night – he really loves me!

Still I find space in my mind for what everyone else is doing on Facebook or I make time to browse Pinterest so I can feel wholly inadequate as a mom who does not make my child a sandwich every day in the perfect shape of his favorite cartoon character as I send him out the door in his hand sewn clothes I have re-purposed from his father’s old button ups to add to the sentimental meanings of his attire.

Sadly, I make time for these things on my phone……. at the sacrifice of other thingsor should I say other people…..people who I say are more important to me, that I know are more important to me, but that I don’t act like are more important to me.

My phone has become a priority, and has claimed an unjustified position in my life without any fight from me.

It has stolen time from my kids, from my friends, my family and from my husband. It snuck into that place, really; I didn’t put it there and I didn’t mean for it to get there.

But it’s there…..

in my hand replacing my husband’s hand

my arms reaching for it instead of reaching to tickle my child

me reaching out to tell a funny story on Facebook instead of sharing a laugh with my husband

in between me and those I love so much.

So in the spirit of Lint, but certainly not because of Lent, here goes….

I am putting my phone down, at night, for 40 days.

Starting today – the first day of Lent – I will put it away somewhere I can’t reach it or see it or hear it, because I don’t trust myself – It has become an addiction and must be treated as such –  It will disappear during my drive home and will not reappear until after I leave my family the next morning. (insert nervous nail-biting)

I will give that time…. and attention…. Back to my kids and back to my husband. I will reclaim them as my priority and put Mr. I-phone back in his place.

Join me in my journey, I dare you – either to participate or watch from the sidelines. But whatever you do, come with me, it promises to be interesting and entertaining.

The plan:

  1. Lay your phone down before you get home at night and don’t pick it back up again until you leave home.
  2. If like me, you have only your cell phone, no house phone, you need a plan in case someone really needs to get in touch with you. My plan is simple: Call the Hubbs!
  3. To capture with words or pictures something every day of this 40 day journey that expresses what laying down that phone has meant to me that day. Whether it’s a giggle from my children that I would have missed looking at an email or a kiss from my husband Pinterest would have stolen…. I want to capture what it means to give them the attention that I have been giving my phone.  

If you join me, send pics or comments of what you are regaining. Send them to me on Facebook or email me at tammy@balancinginstilettos.com (but remember I won’t see it ‘til morning).

“So baby, you win! Mommy is putting down her phone….. let the playing begin!”


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