Update-Moved to No Media Sunday! I was able to not be on the computer on Mondays in the summer, but this fall has been very difficult with ministry and school. Sundays are working better. It enables me to have more time with my husband too on Sundays as opposed to a Mon.
I have an addictive personality. Some of the things (like chocolate!) that I’m addicted to aren’t really harmful or effect anyone really in a negative way. I started to be addicted to the internet as a teenager. I would sit for hours in chat rooms and on instant messenger, the prelude to social media. I loved being connected. I loved writing my thoughts down. I loved the escape from my real life. The addiction followed me into college where I would put off school work by spending just a few more minutes on the internet. At that point the internet didn’t really effect most of the relationships, at least I don’t think so.
Something happened along the way. I got married and I had kids. The internet became even more pervasive. It was available on my laptop and on my phone, anywhere, anytime. I could justify my time on it. Shopping, researching, studying, keeping up with what my friends were doing. Nothing really bad, but along the way, it started to take time away from real-life relationships.
It has become even more of an escape. The baby starts crying, or the kids start fighting, and I want to tune it out. I flip my phone on and check my email. I run from the realities of life. It’s not OK. If I let go of my phone, my two-year old runs up to me and says “here Mommy, here is your phone.” Does she think my phone is more important to me than spending time with my precious daughter? Why do I run to the internet to escape?
I also noticed that even my friendships begin to suffer. I feel so “busy” doing all these “important” things on the computer, I don’t make time for quality time with friends or with my husband.
The other thing I have recently noticed is that I begin to feel stressed, weary, and frazzled all of the time. I am ON all of the time. I am always on as a mom as a wife, and I was also always on to the digital world answering questions and emails and on Facebook. I needed a Sabbath rest from my work on the computer. God didn’t create us to be busy and running around all of the time, and that includes the computer. I find that I am rarely rested when I walk away from being on the computer. We have to take breaks from things. That is the order that He set up when he made 6 days and created the 7th day for rest. So at this moment in time I have decided to take a break from the computer one day a week. My Sabbath rest from the computer is on Mondays. Even though I am only a few weeks in, I already feel better. I am able to manage my time on the computer the rest of the week just a little bit better. Do I get antsy and want to get on the internet? For sure. When I feel the want to get on the computer, it makes me realize just how addicted I am. I am addicted to the lie that the computer is better than the real world that God created.
When I take the time off the computer, I realize I don’t have to look online for a book, I just can go to the library and get it. If they don’t have it, I can get a different one! When I take the time away from my computer for a day off, it makes me relearn that not everything has to be instantaneous. It is teaching me patience. It is teaching me to enjoy my time with the real people in my life, and making extra time for them on the one day of the week that I don’t get on the computer. I am missing the beauty and the flowers and the sound of the birds tweeting their songs because I become too busy, too engrossed, too addicted to a machine that tells me I am developing relationships but instead can quite possibly destroy the real relationships I have in life.
I want to issue you a challenge. Do you want to join me in No Media Mondays? For me, that simply means no computer time, no checking emails, Facebook or anything. I still read books, watch TV and answer my phone! I try to replace the time I would be on the internet with real life interaction with my friends and my kids. I would love to hear from you if you decide to join in! This isn’t a rule list, it’s just a general guideline. Make it fit with what would work for your life and schedule.
You say to not put any gods before you, and I confess that I have put the god of the internet in front of you and your ways so many times. Forgive me Father. I am so sorry. I need your help, because sometimes I feel like I can not help myself. Especially when I think that life is hard, I want to find an escape. But help me to find my escape in You, and You alone. Help me to be filled with You. Help me to keep the computer and the internet in its proper place, a tool that can be used greatly, but that’s it. Just a tool and not something that controls me. God I love you!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not bow to an alien god.
I am the Lord your God
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.