Well, that's it, I'm off!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Before I start, I want you to know that I'm not blogging about this to brag. I'm blogging to let you know the truth about how I am. I am worried about people thinking I'm some sort of spiritual superwoman when a lot of the time I am the extreme opposite. So please don't read this thinking I'm bragging about how awesomely Godly I am and how obedient I'm being. Because really, I am the opposite of that. I also didn't like the idea of getting messages on Facebook and not replying to them for a month with no explanation ... anyway, to the post.

Right now my baby girl is smiling and talking to a toy zebra. I'm watching old episodes of the IT Crowd and munching on walnuts. It's not even five o'clock and it's dark. The heating is on and the boiler is humming in the background. I have a bug bite on my shoulder. Where on earth has it come from? I don't know but it's itching like mad.

Why do I need to share that with you?

I don't need to. But I have shared it anyway.

I have just finished a Bible study on Gideon. It's been wonderful. The teaching has been so in-depth, and yet so easy to understand. It has taught me so much about Gideon's time, specifically the idols they worshipped and the tribes that they were a part of. It's taught me a lot about myself. And most importantly, it's taught me about God's endless patience.

In the last week, we were asked to list healthy things that have turned into unhealthy habits. Things that are not necessarily within themselves bad, but have become bad because they have taken precedence in our lives. I listed a whole bunch of things, but it only just hit me that one particular vice I have is *whispers* The Internet.

Not just Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or blogging. Even just surfing the internet. It's become a massive part of my life. I spend every spare moment - stood in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil, or dinner to cook, cuddling my baby back to sleep at 2.30am - I will fill that time, and therefore my brain, with stuff. Random things. Things I read on forums, things I read on websites. The problem is five minutes turns to ten minutes turns to an hour ... and so on. And the more I think about it, the more I realise how much my attention span is suffering as a result. I can't just sit and watch a film or a TV show anymore. I have to have something else to occupy me. It's started to encroach upon time with my loved ones and quite frankly, I am not happy with that.

I'm not happy with it encroaching upon my time with God, either.

This morning I sat with my gorgeous girl in a circle of amazing women. All in different stages of their lives. All wonderful, wise, God-fearing girls. As we talked about what we took from the study, what bits we particularly enjoyed, I realised how good my God is. Each of these women are different and each has an amazing story to tell about His goodness. There were a lot of wise words spoken and I felt so moved to have my baby girl there in the midst of it all.

However. Words kept being spoken. Words that cut right through me and left me with a feeling of impending doom. As the session went on, I felt as though I was being hit over the head with the same truth again and again. In fact, when Baby B fell asleep and I had a hand free to write, I scribbled down word for word what some of these ladies were saying. 'First we make our habits, then our habits make us.' 'Who are we pleasing with our actions? When we fill our spare time, are we filling it wisely?' I had a brief and mad flash of clarity - imagining that God there with me in a physical, big-bearded-sandalled-man sort of way, watching me quietly while I stand in the kitchen and flick through Facebook. Who is benefitting from that? Me? My family? Him?

Why do I feel the need to fill up the quiet bits of my life with stuff? Nonsense? Noise? Why can't I be comfortable with nothing? Post after post I have written about Living In the Moment. Being fully present and engaged in every circumstance, whether it's washing bottles or holding my baby girl while she sleeps or having a conversation with my Mum on the phone. Post after post of it. But am I doing it? Am I living it?

Of course not. I'm papering up the cracks of empty space in my life with fluff. I'm distracted even in the joyful moments - my brain won't settle on one thing at a time. I cannot switch off and enjoy the pure moments. Which means, if I'm being harsh (which I need to be) I don't really have the right to bang on about it anymore. I remember a while back, contemplating what I had come to know (I can't remember where I heard of it now - a book maybe?) as the God Gap - i.e., spaces in your life where God can fit. And I realise now that I literally don't have any gaps for Him.

And do you know what's weird? (True confession time peeps - which is ironic given what I'm about to tell you). As I sat there with all this slowly dawning on me (probably with an interesting look of mild terror on my face) my brain responded with all sorts of reasons why I couldn't possibly give up the Internet. These reasons included:

  1. I'll be lonely without social networking. Well, if that happens, then I guess I need to get out more.
  2. I want to read what everybody else is doing over Christmas. I'm obviously too nosy for my own good.
  3. I need to write my blog because people like reading it (woah there. I don't need to do anything - if God wanted me to speak to a certain person at a certain time, He'd make the circumstances happen for that. I don't work for Him - He works through me, sometimes, which is an amazing act of grace on His part and nothing to do with how I choose to do things).
  4. I wanted to share Baby B's first Christmas with everyone.
The last one got me the most worried. Because, why? Does our first Christmas with our baby girl not 'count' because I can't post adorable photos of her playing with wrapping paper? Can I not enjoy my life without cataloguing and displaying it at all times? Are these moments with her less significant because they are only between the three of us?

No. If anything, Baby B's first Christmas will be more special because it won't be shared with everybody. And why on earth do I feel the need to share all this stuff about my life? Does it come from a place of security and self confidence, this need to show everyone how well everything is going? I don't think it does.

Now, before you think I'm being a pious religious moron, let me tell you something. I don't think the internet is inherently bad. I don't think Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter are bad things. In fact, it annoys me when people tut and sigh and roll their eyes about The Evils of Social Networking. Because I actually think that it's an amazing tool to connect people together and to stay involved with people even when they move halfway across the world. I don't think all Christians should see these things as bad. Social networking and the internet in general are just a huge part of our culture now - and I don't think there's anything more righteous about avoiding it as a rule.

Also, you should know I really don't think any differently of people who are on Facebook over Christmas, posting amazing photos of Christmas trees and yummy food (and yummy babies). In fact, I'm quite jealous of you ;) This really is a heart thing, for me to do.

And I'm not even sure anything will happen because of it. I'm hoping of course that by creating space and silence, I will hear more from God - but I'm not doing it because of that, in a 'I'm giving up this so you owe me x amount of time' sort of way. I'm doing it because I feel like He's calling into question what really rules my life - Him, or something else.

So no internet. The last straw I clutched at was the idea that giving it up might be nice to do in December as a sort of advent thing. I was quite pleased with this idea until a quiet but firm voice said 'No - this begins now.'

So from now until 2014. No Facebook. No Twitter. No blogging. No Pinterest. No forums. No pottering around on Cracked.com. Nothing.

For transparency reasons, I'll tell you I'm allowing myself to use internet-based services (i.e. Netflix, 4oD) and I am allowed to check my emails because I've ordered a ton of Christmas presents and I need to know when to stay in for the parcels. I'm also allowing myself to nip online to get recipes for things I have cooked before and haven't got round to printing off yet (but I'm not allowing myself hours online browsing Pinterest for new recipes).

If you're reading this, you know me in Real Life - so ask for my number and give me a text. We'll meet up. Have a coffee. And studiously ignore the messiness of my house. ;)

I will be back in January blogging again. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Lots of love and God bless xx

1 comment:

  1. I love your openness and your beautiful heart to serve God even when it's a sacrifice. This post has challenged me so much because this is something I know I struggle with too...maybe this will be the kick up the butt I need to do something about it too. Love you xxx

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