I was gifted my first phone in the 4th grade. It was a pink Motorola RAZR (see below).

Receiving this cell phone was a safety measure from my mom. My mom was raising me alone at the time, so she had to keep track of her curious child somehow! This looked like making sure I got off the bus okay (and at the correct location) while she was finishing up at work, etc. Now, we can FaceTime, text, call, or follow one another’s lives from wherever we are and whatever we do via our smartphone.

I wonder if my mom could have guessed cell phones’ role in our lives today. Mobile phones have become part of our daily lives. “Put your phone away” has become a phrase often said and, just as often, dismissed. The short-term dopamine and serotonin we receive from a notification on our phone or from “scrolling” social media has the potential to create unhealthy habits.

Check out these statistics about the average American and their relationship to their smartphone:

  • Historians place the invention/release of the iPhone in the same category of significance to humanity as the Gutenburg Press.

  • We touch our phones roughly 2,600 times a day.

  • If you are over 35, you’re on your phone for 3 hours daily.

  • If you are under 35, you’re on your phone for 5 hours daily.

  • Psychologists are now making the point that most of our relationship with our phones falls under compulsion.

I invite you to consider putting your phone down or limiting the activity on your smartphone each day as a safety measure for your spiritual formation. Every time you reach for your phone (or pick up your phone), take a few moments to slow down and think about something you’re grateful for.

When we’re distracted, in a hurry, or experiencing busyness, we’re less likely to be aware of what we are grateful for.

Hey Siri…Let’s slow down and focus on gratitude today.