I have been writing this post in my head for at least a month, always circulating thoughts and emotions on the topic but scared of the commitment that typing them out entails.
This post is a personal one. One which involves vulnerability and confessing a struggle.
It’s hard to put yourself out there and admit a weakness. For a while I have thought that I would wait to write this post until I had made things better. Until the struggle was not a problem anymore. But I realized this morning that wanting to wait was motivated by all the wrong reasons.
Primarily, it’s the wrong idea of the gospel. The gospel doesn’t say to get your act together and then you might have something to share. The gospel definitely doesn’t say that our value and worth are tied up in our efforts and successes. The gospel says that right in the middle of my faint-hearted striving and of my failing, Jesus is there. He is strong. He is ready. He is able.
So here I am being honest about a struggle, hoping to make much of Christ and find myself in a lowly position of need.
For a while it has been clear that I am spending too much time online, social media especially. A habit of using my iPod while nursing my baby has become a habit of checking it all.the.time.
And in a lot of ways, I can really say that being able to connect with friends online is a good thing. There are many times when a friend has posted an encouraging story or a challenging verse. God has used these things to convict when necessary and to remind me of the incredible community of believers I am a part of. He even used this article I saw on Pinterest to show me that I am not alone and that it was time to share.
But like anything, a good thing can become a bad thing when it replaces the best thing.
Too much time spent with iPod in hand has resulted in misplaced affections and a distracted heart and mind. Each day is made up of hundreds of little in-between moments. Moments while we wait on the muffins to finish baking. Moments while we mindlessly nurse babies or watch the kids play. Moments that have no business being idle but become time wasted by distraction. For too long I have filled these moments with a quick look at Instagram or at my email. But I want better things for my time. I want better things for my heart and the heart of my family.
So instead I will be filling these in-between moments with things that feed my soul and carve streams of thankfulness in my heart.
Meditating on Scripture I already know and memorizing new verses.
Watching, really watching, my children as they play and engage their world.
Noticing the way my son’s hair curls at the back of his neck.
Trying to figure out exactly what color my daughter’s eyes are.
Teaching my mind to never ever forget the adorable way a two-year old masters speech.
Reading from the stack of real, flip-the-paper-page, books on my nightstand.
To help me do this I’m giving myself some limits. Together with my husband, we are instituting a few restrictions when it comes to iPhone/iPod usage. They won’t be welcome in the bedrooms (kids or parents). Times when we are hanging out as a family will mean that the iPhone/iPod will be put away. Sundays will be a day for real rest– a break from internet– meaning more quiet pursuits and family time. And like I already said, I’m going to be much more conscientious about using those in-between moments more intentionally.
What am I hoping to gain?
Most of all, I am hoping for greater affection for Christ and more holiness in my character and habits. Second to that, I am hoping to feed and nourish the relationships that are most important to me.
And on the days (moments) when the goal is harder to remember, my mantra will be that “affection follows obedience.” If we are honest, we will admit that there are times when prayer and Bible reading doesn’t seem appealing. But if we are faithful to seek God in His word, we will find that He is faithful to use His truth to stir our hearts.
Just this morning I was reminded of this as I chose to read the Bible while working on kitchen tasks instead of checking things with my iPod. My heart was refreshed and the Lord provided timely encouragement through His word and a John Piper podcast on obedience. I now know the first verse I will be memorizing this week:
“To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
I won’t be unplugging completely and I plan to continue to write on the blog. But I will be stepping back a little to reset and refresh.
Do you struggle with distraction from the best things? What have you found helpful to stay focused on the main thing?