Grounded Podcast

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Stewarding Screen Time, with Arlene Pellicane

Are you the boss of your phone, or is your phone the boss of you? Arlene Pellicane joins our hosts to talk about the impact of our screens and our addiction to them. She challenges you to see how those patterns creep into your relationship with Jesus. Learn how to keep your cell phone from stealing your peace, hope, and joy.

Episode Notes:

Screen Addiction Quiz

Connect with Arlene:

Website

Instagram: @arlenepellicane

Facebook

Twitter: @ArlenePellicane

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Erin Davis: What's the size of the deck of cards and capable of stealing your peace? We're gonna find out in this Memorial Day edition of Grounded. I'm Erin Davis. 

Portia Collins: And I'm Portia Collins, our co-host, Danna Gresh and Alejandra Slemin have this week off. But Erin and I are here every Monday morning to give you an infusion of hope and perspective.

Erin: We are. 

Portia: Erin, we're in Michigan.

Erin: We are in Michigan. People might be noticing their backgrounds look a little differently. Normally, you're in Mississippi. I'm in Missouri, but we're in another “M” state this week doing some podcast recording. So we're actually together in the same building. But for audio and technical reasons I don't understand, we're not in the same room. 

Portia: Right? Like, what's up with that guy? 

Erin: I don't know. We were wanting to be side by side all up in each other's faces. But our team wouldn’t let us.

It would have been fun. But I did get to go out for Mexican last night with you, your mama whom you call “Queen,” which I love, and the world-famous, Emmie Collins. I met her in the flesh last night.

Portia: Yes. We had such a good time with you.

Erin: She really is a threenager like you say Portia, but she is so tiny and so cute. And she loves “Vive Our Hearts.”

Portia: “Vive Our Hearts.” Yes.

Erin: “Vive Our Hearts.”

Portia: And she loves “Erwin.”

Erin: She does love “Erwin,” we played hide and seek. She's my new best friend. 

So we are enjoying being together. I hope you are enjoying being together with your people this Memorial Day. Hey, before we jump into today's episode, we want to give you a little assignment. I know it's Monday; I know you might not want some homework, but I promise this is easy. You just need a piece of paper and something to write with. I'm prepared. I'm ready to do the homework. 

If you're watching Grounded on something other than your phone, we know many of you watch on your phone, but maybe you're watching on your laptop, maybe you're watching on your tablet, maybe you're streaming on your Apple TV. We want you to make a tally mark, Tally mark is so easy. That's all you have to do every time you're tempted to check your phone in the next 30 or 40 minutes or so. While we're talking Portia, how many tally marks you think you're gonna make in the next 30 or 40 minutes?

Portia: So basically, you're telling me that I gotta do this too, huh? 

Erin: Yeah, we're gonna do it, too. 

Portia: Okay, okay. 

Erin: We usually have a little team chat going on on our phones. I don't know if you know that. That's a little secret about Grounded. So normally our phones are on silent. But this morning, let's flip it on. Hopefully our phones don't blow up. So if somebody needs us, our producers need to tell us our hair's doing something crazy or something. We'll know. Otherwise, we're going to keep our phones down for this episode. So with that in mind, knowing you're not going to need your phone for Grounded purposes. How many tally marks you think? 

Portia: Hmm, well, I think I just got a tally mark, cuz I literally just got distracted. I don't know, sometimes it's not too bad when I'm doing Grounded, because I'm focused on Grounded. So I may not get many. But if I wasn't doing Grounded, my screen time is horrible. 

Erin: Alright, here's what I've noticed, anytime I get any notification at all, which I get some for, like, my Dwell app sends me notifications, which is awesome. Because then I go, “Oh, yeah, I want to listen to my reading plan for today.” But then I just fall down the rabbit hole. And I go into all other manner of places. So I would guess that in a 30–40 minute span, my temptation to reach from my phone is at least 10. That's what I’m going to guess I’ll have.

Well, we all have a cell phone addiction problem as a culture. That's not new news this morning. I could throw a bunch of numbers at you about how many hours a day we're spending on our cell phones. In fact, your cell phone tracks it. My phone sends me an update every week right before I head into church, and I always feel like . . .

Portia: Me, too!

Erin: Oh my goodness, the timing of that is kind of perfect and kind of also hard to take.

We know this, that adds up to years of our lives spent looking at screens. But you know what? Most of us have heard those numbers plenty of times, and they're not really changing our habits. 

Portia: Yeah, we don't want to take a stand that phones are inherently bad, okay. 

Erin: Right.

Portia: My phone gives me a lot of good opportunities to connect with people, to encourage, to be encouraged. 

Erin: Me too, remember just last week, Portia, you were feeling discouraged. You texted me, and you texted some others. We kind of hopped on a text thread. We became this conduit of Scripture verses, and this is what I'm praying for you today. We couldn't have done that in person, because none of us live in the same town. 

Portia: Yep. First of all, that was super encouraging. I'm thinking about just the placement. You're in Missouri, somebody else was in Mississippi, somebody else was in Illinois, but I was able to rally the troops.

So that's a good thing that happens with our phones. Another opportunity or good thing that I loved, I can share Jesus via social media.

Erin: We do.

Portia: I do very often. And so there are some good things that can happen with our phones.

Erin: Right? I've been thinking a lot. I don't have huge number of followers on my Instagram account. But there's about 5,000 people there. I'm going to assume most of them are women. I would be thrilled for the chance to share the Word or the gospel or some biblical hope with 5,000 women in any other context, I would be over the moon. So I want to use that as I want to steward that well, and so I would never say, “Oh, that's a terrible thing that social media exists.” 

I like to think of social media as our Mars Hill. If you know in Acts chapter 2, Paul went to Mars Hill, because it was like the center for forming ideas and thinking. That's where Paul went, and he shared the gospel. So social media is a place where thinking is being informed, ideas are happening. And we need Christians to share the truth in that space. 

Portia: I really had not thought about it that way. So, I think that's a really good way of framing this. And for everybody watching listening right now, to be clear you are not hearing Erin and I saying that you should smash your phone in the name of Jesus. Okay?

Erin: Oh, no, we're not gonna say it.

Portia: That is not what we’re saying.

Erin: That is not our goal, but Grounded does have a goal. We're here to give you hope and perspective. So let's wrestle with some questions this morning. Are there ways that our cell phones are stealing our hope? Are there ways that our cell phones are stealing our joy? Or our peace? I think those are really the heart questions that I want to consider for myself and for you today. 

Portia: In other words, what we're saying is, we are going to help you get some wise, biblical perspective today about these little devices that we carry around, and most of the time, we don't forget ’em.

Erin: When we do forget them. We panic. 

Portia: We’re like, “where’s my phone, where’s my phone?”

Erin: Like my arm has been cut off, I think, where is it? 

Portia: Right? Yes. And we have just the guest here to help us with that. Our Arlene Pellicane is here to help us identify if we may be addicted to our screens. It's hard to say that. We don't want to admit that, but it's a possibility. And if so, then she's going to help us to figure out ways of how we can be the boss of our phones.

Erin: I want to be the boss of my phone, not the other way around. I'm excited to hear from Arlene. This is an important conversation. It affects us every day. I think it affects everyone. I don't really know anyone who doesn't have a phone that's beyond a certain age. My oldest is 13. He really thinks he should have a phone. He doesn't yet, so there's probably some younger folks who don't have a phone, but everybody else I know, has one of these. So, since this is an important conversation, and since it affects so many of us, and you know, we want you to do this with every episode of Grounded, would you share this episode of Grounded? You could make a social media post about it; you could just text out the link or hit that share button. 

Okay. Portia, you and I have been talking, I don't know seven or eight minutes. I haven't made any tally marks yet because I'm so enjoying this conversation. But I wonder if the women watching or listening to the podcast version of this if they've been tempted to grab that phone? And if so, they've if they've been making tally marks? If you have, let us know in the chat. We're going to kind of keep a running total of how many times you want to reach for this while we're talking. 

Portia: Honestly, I haven't been too tempted. I'm looking at my text messages that are popped open. One of the lovely people around here sees me messages.

Erin: Sure. 

Portia: I hadn't felt the urge. It's probably because I got my little halo on. I want to be “Debbie Do Gooder.” Master of her fault. 

Erin: You're always wanting to be “Debbie Do Gooder.” I love that about you. 

Portia: Well, y'all keep keep keeping track. Okay. We'll do a check in at the end to see how you're doing. But first, we want to hear from our guest. Welcome Arlene. 

Arlene Pellicane: Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be with “Debbie Do Gooder” Let's go.

Portia: You know what, Arlene? I love you already. Okay.

Well, guys, Arlene is a wife. She's a mom. She's a speaker or writer. She has co-authored books with Gary Chapman, Screen Kids and Grandparenting Screen Kids. I love those titles, by the way. She is joining us all the way from California bright and early this morning. Thank you so much for waking up early with us. Hey, welcome. Arlene.

Arlene: Thank you so much for having me. I love what you guys said. It's like you said, we're not going to tell you to smash your phones in Jesus’ name. But I think what we're going to tell you to do is stash your phones in Jesus’ name, like at some point in the day, you stash it away, and you have a little free zone that you create for yourself. So, you don’t want to smash it, but you might want to stash it.

Portia: I love that it's a new catchphrase. Yeah, in the name of Jesus.

Arlene: That's right.

Portia: So, Arlene, you know that if you ask most Christian women, “Are you an addict?” All of us would say, “No!” That's taboo? I guess you would say. But do you see evidence that we're were addicted to our cell phones? 

Arlene: Yeah. So let's back up a little, because this word “addict” can mean a lot of different things. But let's you use it as addiction; let's use that as that you can't stop doing a behavior that is long-term hurting you. Alright, so it's some kind of behavior you don't want, but you just can't stop. 

This could be eating Doritos. This could be smoking. This could be pornography. This could be a lot of things. And for a lot of us, it is phone use. But because it's so normal, we don't think anything of it. Because my word, if I'm addicted to my phone, then every single person in my neighborhood and in my city would be an addict, and this you understand.

So perhaps a better question to ask would be to ask a loved one— mom, a sister, a husband, a child—“Hey, do you ever feel like I'm not present with you? Like, do you ever feel like I'm looking at my phone more than I'm looking at you?” Then be ready to hear what they say. And that's really the perspective you might hear. I have one chapter in my book, Calm, Cool, and Connected: Five Digital Habits from a More Balanced Life, this part about your spouse is more interesting than your phone. And you know that when you got married, you thought that spouse was amazing. But now maybe you've been married for a little bit. And you're like back-to-back at night looking at your phones, and you say good night. Instead of staring at your baby, you're staring at this baby. You’re staring at someone else. 

So you just ask these kinds of questions, like: “Honey, do you feel more important than my phone?” They did a survey of 6000 kids all around the world from all different countries. They said, “What's your parents’ worst habit?”And they said most of them said my parents worst habit is looking at the phone call interrupting us. And so, to think when you're in conversation with someone, if the phone buzzes, like it's a notification that you have someone posted a photograph of you on social media, like it is not the end of the world. 

And yet here you are with your loved one. You break that conversation to look at this really trivial notification. So that's when we have to reframe, “Wait a minute. Why do I keep touching? Why am I making those little tic boxES? Like why do I keep looking at that?” Be honest and take that inventory from your loved ones, and also, from yourself. Think of it, technology is supposed to help you reach your goals. 

Portia: Right. 

Arlene: I have the goal of I'm in a new city, and I need to get to this office. So I'm gonna use my technology to use the GPS. It's going to help me reach my goal of getting a job, but what happens? It starts with my goal, but then it takes over with its goals of, “Hey, did you see this?”

Portia: It becomes your boss. 

Arlene: It becomes your boss. So you've got to be really aware that it is not a fair fight. You might have all the good intentions in the world. But it has been completely programmed to hijack your attention over and over and over again, just like a big bag of M&Ms sitting on your desk. You can say to yourself, “I'm just gonna only eat ten.” But with that big bag is sitting on your desk, you have a really hard time. Just see it that way. This thing is useful, but I've got to stash it. I’ve got to get it away from me at certain times of the day so that I can be more focused, because it's there to distract you. That's what its job is.

Portia: Right.

Arlene: Think of like, it's not a tool. People say, “Oh, it's a tool.” A tool is like a hammer. When you need a hammer, you pick it up and you use it. But the hammer doesn't say all day, “Pick me up. Did you see me? I’ve got news; I got it.” It's not talking to you. And so, you just have to see this is kind of a really hyper tool that you’ve got to treat with caution. 

Portia: I want to jump in here. I know that you've got a quiz on your website to help us wrestle with this whole question of like, “Am I using my phone appropriately?” We'll drop a link to the quiz so that you guys can check it out. But I want to know, can you give us some questions to basically help us to see if we are using our cell phones rightly? 

Arlene: Yeah, that's a great thing. So do this with me, okay, you guys? Just be honest, because it's you. Iowa State University did this research about if people have “nomophobia” is what they call it. And nomophobia is fear of not having your cell phone with you. I love to tell people don't worry about nomophobia. Like, your phone doesn't care if you left it behind. Care about nomofamily phobia, that I don't have a family anymore, because I've been looking at my cell phone so much.

 But researchers found that 58% of men have it and 47% of women. Now this is but a few years ago. I think maybe those numbers have been higher. But think of how you would answer these questions:

  • I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone. 
  • I would be annoyed if I could not look information up on my smartphone when I wanted to.
  • Running out of battery and my smartphone would scare me. 
  • If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
  • If I did not have data, a data signal or could not connect to Wi Fi, then I would constantly check to see if I had signal or could find a Wi Fi network. 
  • If I don't have my smartphone with me, I would feel anxious because my constant connection to my family and friends would be broken. 
  • I would feel anxious because I could not instantly communicate with my family or my friends.
  • I would be nervous, because I would be disconnected from my online identity. 
  • I would feel weird because I would not know what to do. 

And isn't it true that that if you walk into, let's say, a women's ministry meeting or something where you don't know anybody, and you sit down. It used to be you look around and try to make a friend or look for some, but what do we do now we sit right down, we look busy.

Portia: We look down at our phones.

Arlene: Right? Let's look busy. Let's get our stuff done. Right? 

Portia: Even if we're not busy, the temptation is, I'm just gonna gravitate to my phone, so I don't have to talk to anybody. You're right. You're absolutely right. I have some more questions. 

First of all, I'm already convicted. So you have just read me the riot act already. I'm gonna be honest, I answered those questions that you just asked. 

Arlene: Right. 

Portia: I don't want to share my answers publicly. Because I will . . .

Arlene: Don't worry, you're in good company, a lot of people agree with you. 

Portia: I know that you've written a lot about the impact of screens on children. 

Arlene: Yes. 

Portia: But less is said about how it’s impacting adults—especially women. So my question is, What would you say the effects that you see of having constant access to your phones? I mean, it could be positive or negative. But what generally are the effects that you see when we were attached to these phones so much? 

Arlene: Yeah, it's easy to escape. If you're in a situation that requires hard work, that would be parenting, that will be your professional job, that will be getting dinner on the table, that will be getting your laundry done, whatever it is, right? What can you do? You can escape. You can check out your phone, and you can have amusement. You can have something that looks very legitimate; email looks super legitimate. But you know, you’re looking at shoe sales or something. 

It can seem to your children or those around you like, “Oh, she's always working.” But you know, like, oh, I work 20% of the time, and then the other 80% of time. I'm just kind of mindlessly scrolling. I think a huge thing is that idea of we can procrastinate and put things off. And if we say, “Oh, it's so hard to parent, to be a mom or it's so hard to do this job are so hard to lead this mission. And of course, yes, those things are true, but we are escaping and we're not sometimes facing the things that are most difficult.

So, for instance, take the first 90 minutes of your day, leave your phone, like put it far away from you and tackle the most important tasks you need to do to. Get that stuff in your work that you need to get done, stuff in your home, you get done. So, I think it can be a form of escape. I think it can be obviously a distraction that when your loved ones, when your coworkers are looking at you, you're looking at something else and just follow your eyes. Right? 

That connection with people, even though we are apart, we're kind of looking at each other this whole time that I've been talking. I haven't been talking like this, “Okay, well, Portia, you really should use eye contact, that's really important.” But see, when you have the eyes up looking at people, it does make a big difference. It feels like, “Okay, they're seeing me.” But all day long, if we're looking at our phones, there's a really high cost to that, because everyone around us is thinking she's not invested. Right? It's awful. 

It's the same words, but the delivery system is different. So really follow your eyes. But again, it's hurting our relationships. It's something that that hinders our relationships. Then think about what we are meditating on all the time. The Bible tells us praise Him in the morning, praise Him noon time, from the rising of the sun to the going down to the same the name of the Lord is to be praised. And really to think, is my phone helping me in that endeavor? Or is it taking me a totally different track? 

Let's not be so naive to think that these big tech companies don't have an agenda for what they want you to believe and think. It's not going to be this right turn; it's not going to be this 90 degrees, where you're like, “Whoa, I don't believe that. I'm a Christian; I believe in the Word of God.

Portia: Subtle.

Arlene: Point five degrees like maybe this. Just to be aware, what are we meditating on? What are we thinking about? When the first thing in the morning, when you grab that phone, and you check your notifications, you check your email, you take your whatever. Now your mind is like, “Oh no, I forgot that project at work. Oh, my goodness, I'm in so much trouble.” And now you've just gone a completely different direction than if you would have not looked at your phone for the first half hour, said, “Okay, Lord is a new day.” Maybe you are journaler, and you'd like to journal for one minute. Maybe you're going to read the Bible for five minutes. You're gonna start a different way; it's going to change the trajectory so much. So it really does make such a difference how we're reaching for it. 

Portia: As you're saying all of this, I'm thinking about how while our phones can connect us, they can also disconnect us. I am thinking about myself and my temptation to check my phone so much that it causes me to not really be present, sometimes with my husband and my daughter. Like when you just did a little example of you were talking and still looking down into your phone. I was like, “Oh, that is me.” It's not so much with people who I'm talking to you, the people that like if I'm working or something. It’s the people who are closest to me, like my husband and my daughter. And so, it makes me think, Do you think those same types of patterns could creep into our relationship with Jesus?

Arlene: Yes, that's so good. You know, I like to think of the phone as a hot potato when I'm with my loved ones. Like, quick, take the picture, everybody's here, and then throw it in your purse. Get it away so that we can have quality time together. I don't mean it comically. I'm sure there are lots of times where we sit down and read the Bible, or we sit to pray, or maybe we walk and pray. And we start doing that for 10 seconds, and then we're like, “Oh, let me see what's on my phone.” 

So literally, I think the phone can hijack your time spent with God. I think that the phone is . . . we're so used to that instant, right? We have a question, we ask Google. It gives us an answer, we're like, okay, we're good. Where should we eat tonight? What's got a five-star rating? We're good. So, then we're approaching God this way. God, I have a heel problem right now, like plantar fasciitis, I'm having trouble. I can't run in different ways. Like God, touch me now. And yes, God could touch me now. But it's like, you think I'm gonna I need that answer right away. 

When so much of Scripture is you're waiting, and you're persevering. I think that we get so used to this, lots of options, no waiting, instant gratification. We apply that to our relationship with God. And we're like, God, You didn't answer. It's been two days. I guess you don't care. And then we stopped praying.

I just heard recently, someone saying, don't just pray once, don't just pray twice, three times, four times. You think, Oh, I guess is that’s it. No, you’ve got to keep praying. You’ve got to keep at it. God's gonna reward that. 

So our phone, it's this different atmosphere. I have a daughter, Lucy, my youngest; she's 11. We were just talking about praying and stuff. And she was so sweet. She took a walk with the dog, and she said, “You know, Mom, I prayed to God during my walk, but I don't think He answered. Like, how does He answer? 

It's like, “Well, you know, Lucy, God speaks to us in different ways. He might answer through a Bible passage that you read later, or He might answer later, like, a lot later, or He might speak through me. So it's like, just be listening for Him.” That's not what the phone teaches you. The phone teaches you, you can hear it now, instant. I think we can become disillusioned with God. 

I think you see that a lot with younger people that are used to this just all these instant answers, disillusioned with God. Well, maybe You're not up there.” So I think that's really an important factor. 

And one last thing is just the idea of gratitude. To come into God's courts with thanksgiving to thank Him, to let that we know what the will of God is, to rejoice always to pray, and to be thankful. So, we know something was God's will. We know we're supposed to be thankful. We're supposed to pray; we're supposed to rejoice. What does the phone show you? I don't have that. I don't have as many followers as her. I don't go on those kinds of vacations. My kids don't get awards. I don't have a valedictorian. It's just I'm not grateful. Am I rejoicing? 

Look at the news. We're in so much trouble, just turmoil. It’s not just a newspaper where we get once a day the bad news of the day. But throughout the day I get all these notifications. I can have all these news feeds of all the terrible things that are happening in the world. It’s why I’m so anxious, I'm not rejoicing. And then obviously, praying. Praying is hard work. The phone is so much easier. Let me just google the answers, and I don't have to pray about anything. 

So absolutely. The phone has something very radical to do with relationship with God. And the more you stash your phone, and the more you are still in the presence of God, the more your kids say the words I'm bored, and you're like, fabulous, now God finally has some ears, so He can talk to you, right? Those things are really key. 

Portia: I think that this is the perfect time. You segue exactly into where I want to go. I know that I can't change myself. I know that somebody at home is saying, “I can't do this on my own.” We really need the Spirit's help to help us become the bosses over our phones. I want to ask you just to pray for the women who are watching or listening. They know that they need the Lord's help to really win the war with our phones and to steward our screen time better. Can you just pray with us? 

Arlene: Of course. God, we just want to thank You that You are with us in this conversation. We invite Your Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts in this moment. Lord, show us what are the areas of our phone use that we need to ditch. Like, what are the things that we just need to say, nope, no more? And what are the things that we just need that little tweak that will You show us? 

Lord, help us to be obedient to You, that our phones would not be a hindrance, they would not be an idol before us, but that we would be able to put it in its proper place. Lord, help us to have a clear sense of Your voice. Help us to love Your Word, to desire to know Your Word. Help us to use our phones for that end. Help us not to use our phones to distract us from our loved ones or to teach us things that are false. 

We surrender ourselves to You. We ask that You would move in our hearts in this moment. We ask Your blessing on our use and on our children and the generations that follow us—on our nieces on our nephews, grandchildren. We ask Lord that You would help us not to be obsessed with our technology, but to be instead obsessed with You. We pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen. 

Portia: Amen. So, you are my new best friend, Arlene. 

Arlene: Oh, Portia, right back at you. 

Portia: I just want to thank you so much for being with us. We're going to drop a link to your website. There are all kinds of quizzes and everything that I think would be so helpful to our viewers and our listeners. I mean, even courses. I've kind of been checking it out, and I'm gonna be on there a lot. 

Arlene: Yes, I'm gonna have 31 Days to a Happy Husband Course opening up this week. So if you want your spouse to be more interesting than your phone, head over. It’s happyhomeuniversity.com, and it's the Happy Husband Masterclass. 

Portia: Thank you for sharing that. 

Erin: I'm in, sign me up.

Portia: Sign me up. Thank you so much for being with us. 

Arlene: Thank you. Love you guys. 

Erin: Wow, what a great interview. I didn't put any tally marks on my paper while she was talking. I was riveted.

Portia: I mean, how could you?

Erin: I was riveted.

Portia: It was literally over here; it's like locked.

Erin: That exercise of talking to you while looking at her phone. Ooo.

Okay, our goal is not just to get you to check your phones a little less. Our goal is to get you to read God's Word more. And one thing I thought was using . . . I have a group of friends. We text each other every day what we read in the Bible; it's super helpful. But I keep that phone right there so that I can text them immediately. I'm going to change that. Have you noticed that there's not a lot of hope in perspective here, she was mentioning that, but there is hope in perspective here. 

Here's a short video from our friend, founder Revive Our Hearts, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. It's really short, just a minute to remind us that for daily hope and perspective is what we all need. We need the Word. Here's Nancy.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God uses His Word to direct us, to encourage us, to give us hope, and to help us endure through hard times.

I was talking on the phone with a woman the other night. She asked if she could call me for two minutes . . . that ended up being about an hour. She poured out her heart about something discouraging. It wasn't so much circumstances, but things she was wrestling within her own heart, some doubts, some fears, about the love of God, about her relationship with the Lord. She wanted me to take her to the Word. She wanted to make sure that the Word wasn't just for people like in the Old Testament, like David, or people in the New Testament, like Paul, but that it was really for her. 

So, I took her to this verse in Romans chapter 15, verse four, “for everything that was written in the past . . .” That's the Old Testament Paul's talking about, “. . . was written to teach us to instruct us so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.” 

How does God strengthen us? How does He encourage us? How does He give us hope? How does He direct us when we don't know what to do? He does it through His Word, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.

I put a question on Facebook a couple of days ago as I was preparing for this series, asking women how do you encourage yourself in the Lord when you're discouraged? One woman said the Word, the Word, the Word. I think she means the Word. That's what encourages us when we're discouraged.

Erin: Well, it's time to get Grounded in the Word, the Word the Word. I want to talk about God in the morning. If you've watched Grounded very much at all, you know, I'm a morning person. I've never met a sunrise I didn't like. My phone grid is full of pictures of sunrises. I'm just captivated by the morning. I don't know why the sunrise speaks to me. I do know that not everyone is a morning person, so I'm not trying to convert you night owls. 

I've been married to a night owl for 20 years and that boy is never going to voluntarily watch a sunrise with me. But I do want you to hear what the Word of God says about the morning. That might be a fun word study for you, go to Biblegateway.com and just put in “morning.” I've selected a few verses from the book of Psalms, Psalm 50:3. 

David wrote, “Oh Lord, in the morning you hear my voice. In the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you.” 

And watch in Psalm chapter 50, verse 16, David wrote, “But I will sing of your strength, I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

Psalm 90:14, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 88:13, “But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.”

I could go on and on. There are many verses like this in the Psalms and in other parts of Scripture. Arlene mentioned one where the Scripture talks about turning our hearts maybe through singing or maybe through the reading of His Word through prayer, turning our hearts to God in the morning. Now, maybe you're thinking, OH, maybe the psalmist is just an early bird too. Well, maybe. 

But there's also plenty of psalms about the night. It's not just the morning that gets mentioned in our Bibles. So it doesn't really matter what time the morning starts for you. Jason and I always joke that morning comes sooner for me than it does for him. And it sure does. What matters is that when you open your eyes, whatever that time is, you set your face toward Jesus. 

So, Grounded friends, I'm here to ask for accountability on this front. And I really mean it, I want you to ask me about it. I want you to pray for me about it. I want you to hold me accountable in this area. I want to do the same for you. Because right now, I wake up, and every morning, the first thing I look at is my phone. It's what I use for my alarm. So it goes off. I wake up, and I don't just turn my alarm off, I check my email as if somebody would have emailed me something essential between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. 

When I wake up, then I check my Instagram as if I don't know what I think might have happened in the night. Then I check my newsfeed. Then I get out of my bed. And I know better. I do. I've heard it all. The Throne before the phone, that is a saying that I know and I believe . . . and I don't practice. I've read all of the research about what it's doing to my moment . . . maybe not all of the research, but I've read a lot of research about what that's doing to my brain. And frankly, I'm addicted. Those questions that Arlene read, they are about me, and I don't like that.

Is it a sin to look at my phone first thing in the morning? No, it's not. Usually what I'm looking at, always what I'm looking at is benign. I'm not looking at porn on my phone. I'm not looking at something that by itself is offensive to God. But it does set my mind, my heart, my intentions, my priorities on a trajectory for the day, every single day. And it's a trajectory that I don't want to be on anymore. 

I've said this to the Grounded at hosts several times recently, “Grounded is changing me.” And I hope if grounded is changing me that Grounded is changing you. And just in preparing for this episode, I knew what the step was for me—not looking at my phone first thing in the morning, which means I gotta get an alarm clock. I got to find another way to wake up. I've got to stash it so that my priorities are set differently. 

So, here's the challenge. Let's seek the Lord in the morning. First thing, it could be a prayer, it could be a song, it could be reading our Bibles, it could be that we slide out of the bed straight onto our knees. Start with that posture of humility before the Lord. 

And Portia already mentioned that we can't change ourselves. So, we need God's help with this. And the other thing that we can't change is everything about life in a digital world. There is an algorithm, multiple algorithms, that nobody understands or can really even define for us. But everybody knows they are hard on a neurological level for our brains and they do exist. Our phones are always accessible. We can't fix that necessarily. But what we can do is what the psalmist said, we can seek Him in the morning. One more time. Let me read you Psalm chapter 90, verse 14, as a prayer for each other, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” That means we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Portia: Oh, Erin, 

Erin: Portia, I know you're not a morning girl.

Portia: I am not, at all. But you're on to something, and I might become a morning girl.

Erin: Come on over. The water’s warm in the morning girl world.

Portia: Dannah said that she wasn't really an early morning girl. 

Erin: But now she’s a 6 o’clock girl, she says.

Portia: Right, right by the grace of God. So, if it could happen for her, it could for me. That was such a blessing to me. Well, this morning, we're going to take it back a little bit. And we're going to bring back a throwback segment from the early days of Grounded. We like to call it “Thank you 2020.” But today, we're just gonna call it “Thank you.” We're gonna say thank you. 

Erin: Yes, thank you. It is Memorial Day. I hope you have an epic picnic planned. I think my family and I are going to try and get ourselves to the river. But we want to remember that this day here in the United States is set aside to remember, to memorialize those who have given their lives in military service to our country. 

We don't want to say goodbye without acknowledging that important sacrifice for our freedom, and you know what? If you love someone who made that sacrifice for our freedom, we want to say thank you to you. 

Portia: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Erin: All right, it's time to add up those tally marks. You know what, I thought I'd have a lot more. I have 3.

Portia: I’ve got 3 too!

Erin: I wish it was zero. But I was glued to Arlene. I didn't want to go anywhere else. But however, my 13-year-old did he text me and say, “I love you, Mom.” So let's celebrate that, that made me want to look at my phone. I love that boy. 

So how many times did you want to check your phone during this episode? Maybe you actually did reach for it. Maybe you didn't reach for it. But you had that compulsion, that feeling like I need to check. I'd love to know your number. I always go back and I read all of the comments you leave for us. They help us shape future episodes of Grounded. So, drop your number. I want to know. Portia, you had three I had three. I want to have less and less. I want to be looking at people like this. Not like this.

Portia: Yes, same.

Erin: This isn’t even my best view. It gives me a double chin.

Portia: I mean, Diana, looks pretty good. 

Erin: Yeah, Grounded viewers, Portia called her hair, Diana. That does look good. But I want people to know, I'm paying attention. 

Portia: Yes, absolutely. Well, here's some good that you can do with your phone, set a reminder to join us next Monday as we wake up together with hope. Next week on Grounded.

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About the Hosts

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta. 

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

About the Guest

Arlene Pellicane

Arlene Pellicane

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of several books including Parents Rising, 31 Days to a Happy Husband and Calm, Cool, and Connected: 5 Digital Habits for a More Balanced Life. 

Arlene has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. She hosts The Happy Home podcast and writes regularly for Proverbs 31 Ministries and Girlfriends in God.

Arlene earned her BA from Biola University and her Masters in Journalism from Regent University. Arlene lives in San Diego with her husband James and their three children.