What if Fitbit Could Track Your Spiritual Health?


I participate in a weekly Fitbit challenge with my wife and members of her immediate family. We track our steps during the week and the person with the most steps by Friday evening is crowned the winner. I believe the purpose of this work week hustle, while it’s never been fully discussed, is to help us stay accountable for our health and encourage us to stay moving. 

To this day I have never been crowned champion of any week.

Tracking fitness became desirable and accessible at the end of the 20th century. However, the once bulky pedometers of the 80s and 90s have been replaced in the last two decades with increasingly sleek and high-tech designs. Even our watches, once used solely for telling the time, can now take calls, monitor our heart rate and count our steps.

Wearable fitness technology – which includes Fitbits and smart watches is projected to be a $29 billion market in the next five years. People are investing their time, talent and treasure into tracking their fitness, or at least having the capability to do so.

Systems designed to set goals and track progress, such as Weight Watchers, Fitbit or the rudimentary scale, can be a helpful tool for someone to reach their goals. I have seen or heard of financial tracking systems at businesses and banks and there are apps that will keep track of everything you can think to do or have. However, I have never heard of an app, system or wearable device that tracks our spiritual health.

Is our relationship with God measurable? Can we set goal tangible goals for completion?

Christians have certainly tried to create systems of tracking. Protestant churches have pastors that write or strictly adhere to a church covenant. Catholic priests hand out a certain number or type of prayer as penance for sin. Mandatory meetings. Church membership agreements. Tithing. Signing up to volunteer. All of these things, as well as so many other examples of Christian religion, have been used to measure the strength of a believer’s faith in God and track their relationship with Christ in the past.

Yet, these mostly man-made systems haven’t created a method of tracking that allows a person to know if they are on the right path to improving their Spiritual health. There are no fireworks or bell whistles from a spiritual health app that go off when you pray twelve times or don’t cheat on your spouse.

the problem with tracking anything

Years ago, I talked to a woman at church who was one of the first people I met that bought a Fitbit. She loved it. She used it as a tool to help her lose a significant amount of weight. One day she forgot her Fitbit at home. She was visibly upset and frustrated. She said, “every step I take today doesn’t count.”

I knew what the problem was immediately. And it’s the same problem that comes with anything designed to track progress or keep you on task – which is there is a feeling of failure and disappointment when you’re not perfect.

The woman wasn’t actually missing any of her steps. She was only missing the accounting of those steps. Her health would still improve because she was consistently taking extra steps each day and not because she had that tracker on her wrist.  The same goes for a person trying to lose weight who feels bad because they lost less weight this week than they did last week.  They are still losing weight, but become frustrated when the tracked results aren’t always the same or better.

The problem with setting goals can sometimes be that you beat yourself up or get upset or discouraged when you don’t reach them. You may feel like you’re not good enough but you need to know you can always be made right in the eyes of God.

Jesus died for you and it didn’t matter to Him what spiritual condition you’re in. You could be spiritually unhealthy, super healthy or sometimes wavering on both sides. A Fitbit doesn’t care what level of health you are in, it wants you to improve either way.  In a similar way, Jesus knows that His relationship with you can improve regardless of what current spiritual condition you’re in.

I don’t think God wants our spiritual health to cause us to get frustrated or beat ourselves up. However, tracking ourselves in any category against others or even against our own past progress opens up opportunities for just that.

The best way to improve your spiritual health is to improve your relationship with God – which is done through quality time and communication. Spend time with God whenever you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you talked to Him more yesterday than today. 

My relationship with my wife is constantly improving. However, there are days we barely get a chance to talk and others where we talk about everything throughout the day. I don’t get upset at myself when there is a day my wife and I aren’t able to talk. I may wish it was different, but I don’t ever think I’ve done something wrong. I don’t need to track my relationship with my wife to know if it is improving. My relationship with God should be no different. Neither should yours.

My journey to share my progress to find passion, vision and faith continues each weekday