The Limit Experiment

I tried an experiment this week and was both surprised and not surprised at the results.

Lately I’ve been pondering limits and self-discipline, both as a result of my fitness coach and as a result of the most recent sermon series at our church.

I’ve been evaluating how I spend my time in order to make the most of every moment and I realized that I – like most people – am susceptible to being distracted by social media. It’s so easy to mindlessly scroll through our news feeds and completely lose track of time. It’s an escape, especially for me as an introvert. While social media itself isn’t bad, anything in excess is bad for us.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
– 1 Corinthians 6:12

So, I decided to take advantage of one of the most brilliant iPhone features ever (in my opinion) and I set time limits for myself:

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(Also, Dark Mode is my favorite. My light-sensitive eyes are very thankful for it.)

I boldly chose to limit ALL social media to just one hour. 

And I expected to fail. But, I didn’t.

In fact, the first day I didn’t even use the full hour.

I found that because I knew I only had a limited amount of time to spend there I chose to spend it more wisely. I spaced out checking my notifications (which, honestly, were never that important anyway). I found something else to do away from a screen when I was tempted to click on those apps. I enjoyed the day to the fullest without even trying all that hard.


I think our society has become afraid to be bored. Afraid to miss any little detail that someone (we may not even care much about) happened to share on social media. Afraid of…you name it. Instead, we allow ourselves to scroll endlessly and mindlessly. And we waste hours of our lives looking at screens.

What kind of an example is that for our children, especially when study after study is confirming that screen time is bringing harm to the brains of children and to our parent-child relationships (see another article here)?

They will imitate what they see – are our actions worth imitating?

Boredom breeds creativity. It is the best platform for the imagination to really excel. Boredom gives us rest, something from which we seem to run.


What I have learned (repeatedly, in different ways) is that setting limits doesn’t restrict your life – it gives you freedom.

This is why I love budgeting, this is why counting macros as part of my nutrition and fitness training has been so good for me. The Bible tells us that discipline brings GOOD (Hebrews 12:11). So, why do we ignore it? Why do we mock those who are disciplined? Why do we try to sabotage our friends when they are working hard at a goal that requires discipline (“you deserve ____”)?


iPhone-induced limits on social media have made me be more intentional with my time because when we realize that our time is limited, we are forced to make hard choices about how to spend it.

And the same goes for our lives. When we realize that our days are limited (Psalm 90:12), I pray that we also make changes to spend our days more wisely.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

 

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