Welcome to the #SmartFreedom 21-Day Challenge!
If you’re new to #SmartFreedom--get excited! This is going to be terrible!
If you’re back from our Lenten Challenge… CONGRATULATIONS! The fact that you’re here means you haven’t given up on getting free from the blue glow of your smartphone.
If you signed up for this #SmartFreedom Challenge, my guess is that you are a little grossed out by your own phone usage. The hours wasted scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling, the fortune spent when drinking and priming, the anxiety you feel when you don’t know where your phone is… we’ve all been there. Most of us are there right now. Myself, definitely included!
This sleek and slimmed down 21-Day Challenge will take us through a mini-boot camp of handheld self-control. They say it takes 21 days to start a new habit... but they said that before smartphones were invented. Our 21-Day Challenge combines fasting, prayer, and fun challenges that help us put our phones back into their proper place--our pockets!! And our eyes back on the Lord and back to making contact with the eyes of His other children. We will start with the same basic three rules and build our resistance from there!
I am no expert. I promise no miracle cures. But I do promise to do all of the same things you are being challenged to do for the rest of this month (and hopefully long into the future.)
The Plan: From SmartPhone to SmartFreedom!
First, we will have some Ground Rules. These ground rules apply for the duration of the challenge. NOTE: These rules are healthy practices we should all be following anyway, so I encourage you to adopt them indefinitely.
Ways to Participate:
Throughout the 21-Day Challenge you will receive a Daily Challenge, Exercise, or Reflection to help you along the way. Sometimes we will explore our motivations, our particular bad habits, and what the Lord has to say about freedom, silence, and community.
Sign up for the daily emails! Not getting the emails? Ask Aunt Katie why at AskAuntKatie@gmail.com.
Follow the posts on Instagram @AskAuntKatie.
NOTE: If Social Media keeps you on your phone for hours at a time you may want to delete your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. apps for the duration of the challenge and stick with the daily emails!
Speaking of the Lord, here’s a little verse to get you started:
Call to me, and I will answer you;
I will tell you great things beyond the reach of your knowledge.
See, the Lord is saying, “You don’t need to google that answer, or Facebook stalk your ex, or text all the things to all the people. Talk to me. Call to me. Whatever peace, joy, fix you’re looking for out of that phone--you’re not going to find it. Call to me.” We just have to stop scrolling long enough to listen to this invitation.
Community: The Final Piece for Peace
As we journey towards God and not Google, the Word and not Emojis, community IRL (in real life) and not texting, it is important to know we’re doing this together. The facebook group offers you an opportunity to comment on your progress, the good, the bad, and the less than progressive. By no means do you ever need to comment on any of the posts, but know that this is a place where you can ask for help. Know that you are in my prayers--and please be praying for each other! Any form of detachment is painful, let’s not do it alone.
Without further ado… here is your First Challenge: the Ground Rules! This Challenge lasts for ALL 21 Days! So as each week progresses we will continue to follow the Day One Rules! Ready? Me neither.
10 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”--a very cool feature for iPhones that keeps notifications from coming through while you are driving (Settings > Do Not Disturb. DNDWD can be set to automatically turn on when sync’d to bluetooth or manually). NOTE: Don’t look into it while driving.
(2) 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. NOTE: That “Do Not Disturb While Driving” can be set manually any time--not just when you’re driving...and you can edit your away message accordingly!
(3) 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.
(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.
Don't forget to share this challenge with your friends!
You can't suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) if your friends are also MO.
NOTE: Not getting the daily emails? Let Aunt Katie know.