Do you want to teach your kids how to trust God’s truth? This week we are featuring Jennifer Bryant’s WORD30 testimonial on the blog. We just love how this mama helped her family turn off the screens to make space for Jesus in their day-to-day lives. This year at Living by Design Ministries, we are committed to helping you eliminate distractions and grow your faith. In order to facilitate this shift in focus, we’ve created a free 30-day challenge kit. You’ll find all the details about how to download the WORD30 Challenge Kit at the end of this article.
A Guest Post by Jenn Bryant
My eyes crack open to the sunlight that has crept into the stillness of our bedroom.
Barely conscious, I reach my arms up to stretch. One hand rests to feel the gentle breathing of my husband, and the other… on my phone.
Any texts? Calls? What’s happening on Facebook? Anything new on Instagram?
Wait…what? When did this become a habit?
Maybe this is your struggle, too.
The moment we became proud owners of the world’s information in one pocket-sized gadget, why go to anything else?
That got me thinking: If my phone is my “go-to,” it’s no wonder why the kids constantly request to use TVs and tablets.
If I don’t teach them to choose non-digital options, who will teach them?
That’s when I decided to take the WORD30 Challenge.
My goal was to cut down the amount of time we spend preoccupied with our devices and fill that time with intentional time with God.
Including this mama.The choice had to be deliberate, on-purpose and for a purpose. I had to actively choose to make that change for myself if I was going to impact my family.
The choice had to be deliberate, on-purpose and for a purpose.
I had to actively choose to make that change for myself if I was going to impact my family.
I’ve spent so much time developing a default to devices that a new habit needed to be developed.
How to Trust God’s Truth & Take Back Your Time
As a mother, there are countless things that fight for my attention.
Never-ending piles of laundry, dishes, meal prep, appointments, lessons, phone calls, texts, not to mention the kids and their constant “Can I’s.”
You know what I mean…
“Can I watch an episode of Wild Kratts?”
“Can I play the farm game?”
“Can I ask Siri where pandas live?”
When I’m running around trying to put out metaphorical fires, my first instinct is to calm the extra chaos by giving in to their requests.
No big deal, they can play for a little while.
But a little while turns into an hour… maybe two.
Before I know it, they’ve spent more time inside on a device than outside getting fresh air and sunshine, or spending time with the Lord for that matter.
I’ve learned how to read the Bible for myself—pray, meditate, seek truth… but I can’t just teach my kids to do that.
I have to also make space for them to experience that on their own.
So I made a decision: Before we turn on TVs or tablets, let’s turn to time with God.
I’m talking 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening.
Just enough to quiet their day before it begins, and settle their hearts at the end.
So they set their timers. Some days took longer than others to get started, but we made it happen.I’ve learned how to read the Bible for myself—pray, meditate, seek truth… but I can’t just teach my kids to do that. They needed to actually make time to do that it on their own.
The WORD30 Challenge gave me a short-term goal to hit that developed a meaningful pattern of obedience, setting aside time, and slowing down our increasingly fast-paced lifestyle.
More importantly, it pointed all of us in the direction of a big God who cares about all things and who is there for them at all times.
We just had to clear the clutter and turn to trust God’s truth.
How the WORD30 Challenge Shifted our Focus
When we gave our time to God during the WORD30 Challenge, these were the gifts He gave back to us:
We became more familiar with His character. As we talked about How he loves, protects, guides, and defends us, His presence became more personal. (Prov. 8:17)
When we took time to sit outdoors and take in the beauty of His creation, our hearts were full and amazed when we observed it closely, carefully, and quietly. (Ps. 95:1-11)
We learned that from the beginning of time to our present day, He has continually confirmed His character. We can trust Him in all things. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Ultimately, through the process, we learned to trust His truth.
When we repeat behaviors long enough and often enough, they become part of our daily narrative.
What’s more amazing is that God promises to help us in our struggle to put other things above Him. He gives us a choice, a way out, and a promise to sustain us! (1 Corinthians 10:13)
But If my first instinct is to hand my kids a device to calm their chaos, that device will be their go-to.
Instead, I can practice showing them how to go to God to satisfy their human desires, and how any other option becomes less important.Digital connection cannot be a substitute for divine transformation.
One Simple Step to Help Your Family Make Room for Jesus
When we got into that pattern of resting our bodies and minds to look to Jesus, our needs were less selfish and more aware of the needs of others.
On days when I charged my phone in another room overnight, my wake-up experience was less rushed, and more centered on Christ.
When I turned my eyes to my Savior and recharged in His Word, I walked in more peace and greater power.
This old hymn reminded me:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full, in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Mama, you have the final say.
You set the temperature in your home and model a life given to the Lord.
The amount of time you set aside is up to you.
This is not a prescriptive plan, but a purposeful plan to build better habits.
No more cheap substitutes.
No more man-made masters.
We can show our kids what it means to live and breathe because He gives us that breath.We can show our kids what it means to live and breathe because He gives us that breath.
We have the privilege of being connected in this digital world, but our devices don’t have to control us.
If we believe that God’s Word is life to our soul, then let’s plug into the ultimate source of power—His Word.
And as a result, we will learn to trust God’s truth.
Testimonials from Jennifer’s Kids:
“Being outside makes me energized to see all the things God made.” – Chloe
“It teaches me to be more humble and to not get mad at things because God is all around me and created everything, even me.” – Asher
What is the WORD30 Challenge?
It is a 30-day “spiritual cleanse” where participants are inspired and equipped to exchange 2-3 worldly habits for 2-3 godly habits. Our free 20-page challenge kit is packed with resources to help you decide what you’ll give up what you’ll replace it with.
Here are a few examples:
- Replace Netflix at night with listening to Christian podcasts or sermons.
- Replace listening to the radio on your commute with Scripture memorization and prayer.
- Replace consumption with creation and hospitality.
- Replace watching sports on weekends with spending time in nature.
- Replace mindless scrolling on social media with reading God’s Word.
For some participants, success might mean achieving a 30/30 score on the challenge. For others, you may set your goal at 5-days a week, while giving yourself a bit more room and latitude on the weekend. Whichever measure of success you choose, be specific and make sure it is measurable and achievable in your current season of life.
We look forward to supporting you with tips, tools, and testimonials throughout the next thirty days.
– Jennifer Bryant
Jennifer Bryant is the wife of a good man and mother of two precious kids. She blogs about life and family at PracticalFamily.org, and encourages others to build practical skills for healthy communication, simple living, and discover their awesomeness. Read more of her posts on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.