8 Things to Do Instead of Scrolling

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What happens when there is an empty little block of time? That moment when you don’t know what to do with your hands, or you need to “escape,” or for no other reason than it is just what you do …you pick up the phone and scroll. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok (do you scroll on TikTok? I guess I am too old to know). Before you know it, 20 minutes is gone. Maybe an hour. Maybe more. But worse than the loss of time, you are left more discouraged and dissatisfied than when you started.

That dissatisfaction, for some reason, leads you back to the hamster wheel of scrolling.  Now I am not saying all social media is all bad, but right now, especially in this season, it can be down-right discouraging. We must evaluate our time, our hearts, and our minds, and take action to protect them. Romans 12:1-2 says

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

I don’t know about you, but after most times I spend scrolling I am more conformed to the world than transformed. I find myself angry, jealous, overwhelmed, or worried. Then in Colossians 3:1-4 it says

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

I would encourage you to ask yourself before you even begin: “Will this time help me ‘set my mind on things above’?”

One of the best ways to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. So, I am sharing a simple list of things to do instead of, or before, scrolling. Although some of these are still on your phone, I would say that most are more productive, helpful, and life-giving rather than just scrolling. These are hopefully things that will help you “set your mind on things above.”

1) Read scripture

Okay, okay, it may sound like a churchy answer, but a good one nonetheless. Before you allow yourself on any social media spend 5 minutes reading scripture on your phone (or in a physical Bible).

2) Budget 

The Bible talks a lot about us being good stewards of the resources God gives us. Another great use of your time is to set up, fill in, or evaluate your budget. If you don’t already have a budget there are several free apps that you can use to set one up. This can give you a better grasp on how and if you are spending your resources with a mindset on things above.

3) Read a book 

Whether is an actual book you can hold in your hands or an ebook, I am sure that reading will be more life-giving than scrolling.

4) Memorize Scripture 

Most of us have made every excuse in the book about why we cannot memorize scripture. But this is the Word of God we are talking about. And when we memorize it is with us wherever we go and whenever we need it! One simple way to do this would be to start a note in your phone of scripture you are memorizing. Instead of hopping on Facebook, look at the note, consume, and remember God’s word. With three to five minutes each day, you will be surprised how much of God’s word you can put in in your heart

5) Pray 

What if we spent half the time we scroll in serious prayer? For real, it would be life-changing.

6) Write

You can write just about anything- a journal, grocery list, a story, a to-do list. Or connect back to the above option, write down your prayers.

7) Be still 

Do nothing. Yep, I said it. For some reason in our world today we can’t just be. We have the compulsion to pick up our phones at stoplights (by the way this is illegal in Georgia), during a lull in conversation, and everywhere in between. It is okay to have stillness in this productivity-driven world, in fact, God tells us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)!

8) Be present … 

Lastly, maybe you do not need to be on your phone at all or doing anything to “fill your time.”  Maybe you need to be totally present with your friends and family.

None of these things are groundbreaking. You probably could have come up with this list as easily as I did. What is difficult is the commitment to protect your heart and mind. And I am challenging myself, as I also challenge each of you to pick a least one of these to do before scrolling. And I pray it will bring encouragement, a renewing of the mind and a way to help you set your mind on the things above.