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#SmartFreedom LENTEN Challenge Week 4

Have ya heard? Ask Aunt Katie is hosting a SmartFreedom Challenge for Lent. If you'd like to join the Challenge you can request to join the facebook group or email for more info! We'll still have our Friendsday Wednesdays, Boozeday Tuesdays, Theology Thursdays and the rest this Lent, so those of you who are already unchained from your SmartPhones won't be left out!

Now put your phone down and read this on a computer like a person experiencing that sweet, sweet Freedom!

Here's Challenge #4!

Aunt Katie

Welcome to the Lent 2018 #SmartFreedom Challenge!

The Church invites us to grow in holiness during Lent through three practices: Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving (want to review why these are such fitting practices? Here's a post or two about it!) We began the #SmartFreedom Challenge focusing on fasting: first, the ground rules (see the list below), then during Week 1 we fasted from scrolling, and Week 2 we fasted from using our phones when talking to humans IRL. During Week 3 we shifted our focus to less posting, more praying, which included not only a fasting challenge but a daily prayer challenge.

Week 4 brings us a new challenge--a look at almsgiving. In order to better detach ourselves from our phones, we want to also detach ourselves from the ease, comfort, and expediency of phone-related commerce. Sometimes when we can just click, click, click, our troubles away... we're not even necessarily shopping for items we need or even reeeeally want--if we wanted/needed them we wouldn't be surprised by every new box we find sitting on our doorstep... How often do we order things on our phones when we're tired, bored, or both?

This week we will fast from spending money through our phones. No frivolous shopping, no sale-chasing, no spending any money through our phones for one week (again--prudence. You know what you need. But the key word here is need.) When we are tempted to scroll through and mindlessly spend, we invite you to reflect on the Corporal Works of Mercy:

Feed the Hungry

Give Drink to the Thirsty

Shelter the Homeless

Clothe the Naked

Visit the Sick

Visit the Imprisoned

Bury the Dead

To review, here are the challenges from the first weeks:

WEEK 3: Less Posting, More Praying

WEEK 2: No Phones while talking to other humans. Yep. You heard that correctly. I know what you're thinking... how will I fact-check my friend's story? How will I order the great new thing they're telling me I have to have? How will I look up that actor-whats-his-name from whats-that-movie? How will I check facebook to know who is the person my friend is talking about? I have a solution to propose to you: Write it down! Pocket notebooks!!! Want to know where to get a good one? Send me a message.

WEEK 1: No scrolling! We defined "scrolling" as anything mindless and unintentional. When you do choose to scroll, set a timer! That way you're only wasting 5 minutes instead of 55!

AND don't forget our original #SmartFreedom Ground Rules:

We’ll start with the obvious and work our way down (Note: 1-4 + 10 are non-negotiable)...

(1) No phone usage while driving.

  • Meaning: no texting, no googling, no social media of any kind, no email, no Netflix, no internet, no Siri (again, this is about detachment), no phone usage.

  • Exceptions: GPS + Music, Podcasts, Audiobooks, etc. (NOTE: only search for your location, song selection, etc. before you have put the car in drive!)

  • Suggestion: Look into “Do Not Disturb While Driving” it is a very cool new feature for iPhones. NOTE: Don’t look into it while driving.

(2) No phone in the bathroom.

  • I don’t feel that I need to explain myself. You know who you are.

  • Added Benefit: You can’t drop the phone in the toilet if you don’t have it on you.

  • Suggestion: Keep your phone out of your pocket when you can… leave it in your purse, gym bag (is that still a thing?), locker, desk drawer, etc. If you’re at work, school, or at home--you don’t need your phone in the bathroom.

(3) No phone during meals.

  • Yup. Meaning: no phone.

  • Let me repeat: no texting, no googling, no watching a show, no responding to a text, no reading tomorrow’s SmartFreedom Challenge, no social media. NO.PHONE.DURING.MEALS. Even if everyone else is on their phones… Even if you’re dining alone and you feel super awkward. Even if you’re dining alone and you’re at home. This rule ain’t easy.

  • Suggestion: Turn it off and leave it in your bag or pocket or car. If it is on you will be tempted to “check the time” then you’ll see your missed messages, and it’s all over from there.

(4) Communicate about your lack of communication. Tell the person who would most freakout that you haven’t responded that you’re doing this SmartFreedom Challenge (i.e. your mother. Tell your mother you will be unable to respond for brief to not so brief periods of time.) We are working on detaching from our SmartPhones, not detaching our loved ones from their mental health. If your mom, husband, cousin, bff, frenemy, etc. is going to think you’re dead if you haven’t responded for 20 minutes because you’re eating, driving, or otherwise--warn them!

(5) Prudence in all things. If your daughter is driving by herself for the first time to a sleepover in a sketchy neighborhood--(1) rethink that decision, (2) keep your phone on you… You know the difference between being on call at the hospital or being on call just in case your friends might have plans to go out but they might not and you don’t really feel like going anyway but you at least want the option because it is always nice to be invited. You know when and where you can turn your phone off, or on silent, or just leave it in the next room.

(6) Be gentle with yourself. We’re using the word Challenge because these are challenging!

(7) Toughen up, buttercup. You wanted to be challenged. Let it hurt.

(8) Ask the group for help when needed. We will be posting weekly “How is it going?” or “Victory Lap” posts where you get the opportunity to share your shame or glory.

(9) Not required, but a suggestion: Do a little phonexamen at the end of the day… How did today go? Thumbs up or down? When did I go into screen zombie mode? What triggered it? Was I in bed? Was I in a waiting room? At a stoplight? What will I do tomorrow to catch myself before I phzone out?

(10) Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you can take your gaze off of the screen and back onto the King.

#LENT #prayer #fasting #almsgiving #CorporalWorksofMercy

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