You may not know this, but your smart phone has a feature that shows you the percentage of battery used and amount of time spent on each individual app you have a habit of tapping.
You should probably sit down before opening it up.
Staring your phone habits directly in the eyes can be unsettling, to say the least.
I just took a glance at mine, and was unsurprised that Twitter led the pack, with an app I use for praying the Liturgy of the Hours coming in a distant second. I’m hoping this phone feature isn’t presented to me at my judgment, because that would be a really awkward conversation with the Lord to say the least.
As we approach Lent, the thought of giving up social media has surely crossed your mind, as it has crossed mine. Friends on social media have slowly but surely started to announce their plans to pack up and leave for the penitential season, and that’s left me with a nagging question:
Should I give up my phone for Lent?
My immediate thought is, probably.
I spend way too much time on social media, way too much time checking my notifications, and way too much time scrolling through an endless stream of jokes, memes, and retweets.
But…BUT…I also get a lot out of social media in regards to my faith.
I spend time online conversing with other like-minded Catholics, learn about saints and prayers that haven’t come my way before, stay informed on important topics that help guide my life as a follower of Christ and His Church, and hopefully participate in spreading the good news of the Gospel in a social media universe typically drowning in pessimism and nihilism.
And so I’m left with the same nagging question: Should I give up my phone for Lent?
I haven’t decided yet, in all honesty, but I have realized the importance of being realistic and authentic with myself as I move toward making a decision.
It’s really easy to tell myself that my phone is
playing a role in helping me grow in my faith, but is that really as true as I
tell myself it is?
Am I really spending time engaging in evangelization while posting on social media? Or am I wasting time reading about the name of the latest Kardashian baby, when that time would be better spent in prayer and helping my neighbor? Am I leading people to Christ with the things I share on social media? Or, am I spreading pessimism and nihilism in my posts without really realizing it?
It isn’t easy being real with ourselves.
It isn’t easy to actually examine our conscience, to be willing to look at ourselves in the mirror and be willing to see all that’s there staring back at us.
But if we are going to have any hope of a
fruitful Lent, we have to start with that honest examination of ourselves no
matter how difficult it is.
Will I be giving up my phone for Lent? I guess you’ll have to check out my Twitter feed to find out.
Tommy Tighe is a Catholic husband and father of four boys. You can find out more about him at CatholicHipster.com.