Spiritual Fitbit

spiritual-fit-bitOk, I give in. Everybody I know under the age of 40 seems to have invested in these tiny, expensive Fitbits, which you snap on your wrist or clip on your shorts. They measure your steps, the flights of stairs you’ve climbed, general exercise, and calories expended. They talk to you. In cheery, shrill little voices very early in the morning.

“Hi, Annie!”

“Good luck!” (Did it say “sweetie” or did I just imagine that?)


My take on this whole “I-am-going-to-monitor-every-activity-of-my-day stuff” is that, sure, it can make sense. It may help you get more control over your eating and exercise. But, really? I need to know all of this?

I have a proposal. A fine one, I think. Let’s invent a “Spiritual Fitbit.”

Here’s how it would work: It would record how much time you spend in prayer daily, with extra points for being on your knees. It would tally up how many Hail Marys you did on your Rosary, with cute little icons to celebrate. It would measure how much time you sat in Centering Prayer and how many breaths you took per minute. It would mark down acts of charity each day — served at soup kitchen, drove elderly lady to doctor. And it could indicate how often you went to Mass with a festive icon of the Eucharist surrounded by jaunty yellow rays.

At the end of the day, you could total up how you did, and perhaps feel modestly proud of how well you are following Jesus. Perhaps you could turn in your points at some future time for Holy Cards or Saints’ Medals. At the end of the week, your computer would have a readout: “Your Spiritual Fitbit Report. Charity — 5 actions (You could do 10!); Prayer — 2 hours (Next week try for 5!); Mass Attendance — once (Next week try for 2!).”

But wait. I just remembered. While I imagine the technology for this would be possible, we already have a way to do this. Doh! It’s called The Examen. Every night I can lie in bed, fighting sleep, going over my day: inviting God’s light in as I remember when I felt close to God, and when I pulled away; which actions made me feel ashamed and squirmy; and at the end a promise to do better with God’s grace. And just think how cheap it is. No Fitbit products need to be ordered. No credit card bill to pay off. No clipping it to my shorts. Just — grace. Prayer. Confession. Hope.

Annie Turner

Ann Turner is a passionate convert to the Catholic faith, who is also passionate about life in general, small dogs, food and wine, friends, nature, and the blessing that comes from just showing up and being a witness with other people. Ann is also the published author of more than 40 children's books. Follow Ann's faith journey and more at her blog.