Alright everyone, get your foreheads ready because Lent is coming! ‘Tis the season of ashes, sacrifices, singing anything but “Alleluia,” and the color purple. You can usually tell because all of the Catholic websites and media sources in the galaxy (including us here at Life Teen) are posting blogs about what to give up for Lent.
In this day and age, a popular suggestion will be to give up your phone. To be clear, I think that’s a great idea. Many of us are way too attached to our phones, social media, and the feeling of worth or attention we get from it.
However, if you’re like me, simply cutting something out doesn’t always do the trick. For example, two Lents ago I gave up joy, sorry I mean sweets.
That was, well… terrible. My places of travel that Lent included New Orleans, Disney World, and the Coca-Cola Museum. I was like a vampire who just won a free trip to Hawaii. I couldn’t enjoy any of it! I may as well have gone to CandyLand.
Even though it was tough, I made it through to the other side. After Lent was over, I went back to smiling, sorry I mean eating sweets. Looking back, that sacrifice didn’t change me very much (other than helping me fit back into a nice pair of jeans). It didn’t really teach me a lesson or help me grow. It was just really difficult and then it was over.
Approaching this Lent, I want to experience something different. Maybe you do, too. If giving up your phone doesn’t seem like a good option for you, I have another alternative in mind: Use your phone to do good.
Sacrifice is good, and fasting is absolutely necessary. However, I worry that if we don’t learn to use things for the good of the Kingdom of God, we might be missing the boat. It’s the same with using your humor to glorify God, or using your body to glorify God, or using your music to glorify God – we can use our phones the same way.
These might sound basic, but here are some suggestions of how to use your phone to do good this Lent. Warning: side effects may include deepening of friendships, growing in holiness, and seeing God in places you don’t usually notice Him.
- Text a different person every day for the 40 days. Affirm them, tell them how they make your world a better place, and ask how you can pray for them. Then, actually pray for them.
- Set an alarm on your phone every day reminding you to pray. At that time, stop whatever you’re doing and pray.
- Read Scripture every day, and then post on Facebook daily about what stood out to you from that scripture. This will be a sacrifice especially since a lot of our Facebook friends may not know about our faith.
- Use the iBreviary or any other app to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. This will help you stay unified with God AND the rest of the Church throughout the day. Talk about staying connected.
- Set three different timers, spaced evenly throughout the day. At each one, stop and reflect on your day since the last timer and all that has happened. Try to see God in each moment, be mindful of His presence along the way, and thank Him.
- Delete one song a day from your phone that probably shouldn’t be there. For each one that you delete, download a worship song.
- Share a beautiful, inspirational image on Instagram once a week. Write a caption about how it inspired you in your faith and maybe include that you’ll be praying for everyone who sees it.
Now these were just some suggestions. Hopefully this got your brain working on some cool ways you can use your phone a little differently this Lent. Who knows, you may end up forming a lifelong habit.
To enter more deeply into the season of Lent with a daily prayer companion, check out Glorious Wounds.