Dumb Phone.

A month ago, I came to terms with my smart-phone and social media addiction. The day after I posted my blog, J and I went all around town trying to find a place that would give us a dumb phone, and in almost every place our desire to go dumb was met with shocked faces, and a hefty price tag for the dumb phones. Thankfully, Amazon always comes through. We were able to buy AT&T ZTE GoPhones for about $15.00 a piece and added them to our Christmas list for each other. Once the phones came in, I called customer service and was able to switch SIM cards over easily.

At first, I missed my iPhone. I hated not being able to waste time playing catch up with everyone’s lives. I hated not having the perfectly captured moment on my camera roll. I hated the fact that my phone didn’t bing and buzz as often, making me feel less important.

Yet, I noticed a change in my focus. Instead of being distracted with the photos and statements of others, I have been able to sit down without distraction. I have been able to study and observe each way our daughter is growing, without a screen in my way. My house is kept cleaner, and I am not running as behind. I can interact in conversations that I would have missed otherwise. My husband isn’t asking me to get off my phone on a daily basis to focus on him. And in many ways, I have been much more productive than I have been in years.

As far as my mood is concerned, I am at peace. I am at peace with myself. I am at peace with my husband. I am at peace with the development of our daughter. I am at peace with our home. I am at peace with my things. I am simply at peace. I don’t know if that would have been possible without making a drastic change in my day to day life.

My day looks a little different now. Instead of waking up first thing to check my phone, I wake up to my daughter’s bright eyes saying “HI!” over and over again. Instead of checking out the latest gossip over a bowl of cereal, my daughter and I pray together, and even after we pray, I watch my daughter hold my hand for just a little bit longer as she fills her mouth with cheerios. I am no longer worried about crafting the perfect photo, because I am learning that no camera can capture the beauty of a moment the way God designed our eyes to. In the car, my phone is in my purse, and my mind is thinking on the conversation my husband and I are sharing. At the dinner table, I often don’t even know where I set my phone last. I don’t take pictures of my food. I don’t allow for my husband to talk to a head looking down, and I don’t allow for my focus to be anywhere but in the moment. In the evenings, we actively watch a show together, or we work on our newest project, or we simply talk. And before bed, I read and read until I’m too tired to read anymore.

As each day of this journey has passed, I have noticed some changes in the way my family reacts to me. My daughter has been much more affectionate than she has ever been. She comes to give me kisses and hugs in the middle of her playing, because I am right there. She is learning a new word each day, and we spend a lot of our day staring in each other’s eyes jibber-jabbering and laughing. There are less tears, moments of frustration, and more moments in which I thank God for allowing me to stay home with her each day. My daughter finally knows she has her mama’s attention, which is all she wanted in the first place. With J, we have shared more pillow talk and laughs in the last month than we have in the last few years combined. My mom made the comment that she believes we are at the best place we have ever been in our marriage, and I truly believe a big part of that is due to the lack of distractions and comparisons that no longer fill our home. We are happy, content, and more unified than we have ever been. Our communication is at it’s best, and for the first time in a long time, we aren’t having to fight a phone to get the attention we desire.

The Lord is continually showing me new areas of distraction and selfishness that I need to address. But He is also, encouraging me along the way with each positive reaction I gain from my family. Getting your life back on track is never easy, and I know it will be a daily choice, but I long to be present and available for those I love most. I long to be filled with beautiful moments and memories not found on a camera roll. Most of all, I long to honor God with every aspect of my life, even if it means dealing with and giving up some pretty major things in my life.

When I began this journey, I knew things would change, but I wasn’t sure if I could handle the changes or not. Looking back over this past month, I feel in many ways that I have gotten my life and my joy for this life back. I don’t know how things will change in the future, but I do think that living life a little dumber is here to stay, and I couldn’t be more excited!

If you’re looking to make a change like I did, but in a not so drastic way (at first), I highly recommend the book, Hands Free Mama, by Rachel Macy Stafford. You can check our her blog and books here: http://www.handsfreemama.com/hands-free-mama/.

If you would like to make a phone change, there are a lot of great options on Amazon! You might be surprised at how much you love going “dumb”.

*In case you wanted a few numbers, J and I paid $110.00 a month for cell phone service with our iPhones. In February, our contract will be up, and our bill will go down to $45.00 a month for cell phone service.

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photo credit: Arianna Randle at http://arianarandlephotography.com/

Sayonara Smart Phone.

I have an addiction.

I am addicted to likes, and comments, and shares, and pictures, and comparison, and judgement, and information, and gossip, and everything else that comes with social media.

I am addicted to sculpting the perfect “insta-worthy” photo. I am addicted to finding the perfect caption. I am addicted to sharing my life with the world.

I am addicted to the validation I get from my social media platforms.

But today, I say NO MORE. Today, I am checking myself into social media rehab.

This afternoon, my mom sent me an article from Time that put my life in perspective. I was ashamed. I was convicted. I was broken.

This article analyzed the interaction of 55 separate family groups, and the effect the parents’ use of smart phones had on the children. In almost every case, the effect was negative. Children were pushed away, kicked under the table, and were made to compete with a device glued to their parents’ hands. Mothers were frustrated, and dads were curt. And while reading the article, I saw how many times I brushed off my daughter’s desire for my touch to view a photo on a screen. I thought of all the times, I had sought to capture the perfect “camera ready moment” while forgetting to actually soak in the perfect moment. I thought of all the times, I snubbed the attention of my husband for the attention of my virtual friends and followers. I thought of all the times, I allowed for what is portrayed on social media to impact the feelings I had toward my home, my husband, and myself.

I have become enslaved to social media. I am in bondage to the extremely limited popularity I gain from my posts. And when it comes down to it, I am guilty of serving two masters. I am living in constant sin, while trying to show the world how sweet my life is.

Now, don’t get me wrong, 90% of what I post is as real as it gets, but it’s the constant need for validation that has a hold on me. I am no better than a girl in school seeking the attention of the “popular kids”. How can I expect to teach my daughter’s their worth, if I can only find my worth on a screen that barely fits in the palm of my hand? How can I expect to have real meaningful moments and relationships, if my mind in only trained to find the Facebook Timeline-worthy moments? How can I desire to see the beauty God has created around me, if my mind is limited to a single square frame? How can my husband and I grow in our intimacy, if I am constantly checking up on the lives of others?

I have a daughter who seeks my attention more than anyone else’s. She needs to see the expression in my eyes when I catch her doing something cute, not the back of a phone. She needs to see the smile across my face without a bright pink block obstructing her view. She needs to know that I care and desire her attention as much as she desires mine.

I have a husband who longs to feel both my hands clutching his while driving down the road. He longs for a full sentence to come out of my mouth during a conversation without the distraction in my palm. He longs for a date that doesn’t require a “look what we did” picture. He deserves a wife that gives him the best of every part of herself, not her insecure comparison leftovers.

Most of all, I have a Creator who longs to know the deepest parts of me. A God who constantly reveals Himself in ways I often miss with my head turned down. He’s given me talents and desires I hardly explore because every free minute is spent staring at a screen. He’s given me glimpses of Heaven I often miss in an attempt to control every situation for the “perfect” post. He deserves every part of me, not the limited just-before-bed time I give Him.

I have been thinking of how I can reverse my addiction for many months and weeks now, but I’ve always been afraid to pull the trigger. I didn’t know what the best strategy for getting rid of my addiction would be, and quite honestly, I was too afraid to. In reality, due to my photography business, and family and close friends living away, getting rid of all social media isn’t the complete answer (yet). But just getting rid of the apps doesn’t do much either, nor does it rid the problem of perfectly posed moments found on the camera roll. And while I would love nothing more than to completely unplug from this crazy world and live in the middle of beautiful nowhere with my family, those dreams simply aren’t realistic. So, the best strategy I have found is to rid my life of the bright pink iPhone 5c that is held in my hands more than my baby. I’m saying goodbye to the smart-phone filled lifestyle I have created in an effort to end this addiction before it gets worse. I am saying goodbye to the need for validation. I am saying goodbye to the comparison I have let steal my joy. I am saying goodbye to the missed moments I’ve spent looking down.

I am looking forward to living life a little dumber. I am looking forward to spending my free time playing with my daughter, laughing with my husband, creating, reading, studying photography, and cooking. I am looking forward to comparing myself to my reflection of yesterday. I am looking forward to life free of addiction.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

Matthew 6:24