"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Friday, May 7, 2010

Just more.

"Mommy, why are you always on the computer?" my sweet son said to me one day last week. Ouch!

Immediately, I felt a mixture of defensiveness and guilt... a strange mix, isn't it?

My heart cried out, Ugh!! I am NOT on the computer all the time! Did he not just watch me clean the kitchen, make him lunch, and correct his math work?? But, then again...well, ....okay, I am on the computer a lot. And, his world is very small. And, yet, his comment did hit a tender spot.

To be fair, and in my defense (smile), my computer is a multi-faceted tool. It is my dictionary, my newspaper, my shopping mall, my atlas, my cookbook, my telephone, my mailbox, my library, and even my bible at times. I know I am not alone in this. And, thus, why I am "on the computer a lot". So, I have a clear and justifiable reason to be on the computer much of the time. Right?

So, why the guilt with his question? I suppose if I am honest, I had already felt the touch of Father's hand on this place in my life. These little words from my sweet boy were only a reminder of what God had been recently pressing on. Finally, earlier this week I read a wonderful series of
blog posts which "sealed the deal" for a God-theme that could not be ignored.

My computer is a tool, yes. But, my computer can also be a place of entertainment... maybe escape... possibly a refuge, a safe place or even an idol. Is "idol" too strong of a word? I don't know exactly. But, I do know that I have felt God prodding this area and asking me this question for a while now.

It isn't that blogging, facebook, email and the like are all bad in my life-- or in any way a full blown sin issue. In fact, they have all been a deep blessing. But, well... to quote Sabrina in the 1995 remake of the classic film, "Sometimes more is not better. It is just more." ...Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much.

So, why do I go to facebook "too much" or check my email "just once more before I head to bed". ...or why do I check again (and again) on that one blog I love. What am I doing here?

I am entertaining myself, I suppose, like someone who sits and just automatically flips on the television. I don't do the television. I do this with the computer instead! Similar to the non-thinking act of eating too many chips, I am escaping into a "non-thinking" environment. I am reading about the lives of others... Escaping a bit.

...Or, am I also looking for connection? I think I am seeking connection in these things. Maybe I can feel close to this person or that person... Connection. Refuge and a safe place. ...

But all these things are happening on a computer screen in my house, surrounded by living-breathing (and quite entertaining), real, connected human beings. And, instead of interacting with them, I choose time-and-time-again to sit and stare at this light filled box... relaxing, resting, and escaping into my email, my facebook and my blogs.

So, I won't be sitting at my computer too much in the coming days. I have talked long and hard with the Father about this and have come up with a plan... how much time would be appropriate, Lord? How often, Father, do I need to really check email and facebook? How often do I need to read blogs?... With my Lord's help, I think, I have worked out a measure, a plan, and a goal. Now, I have boundaries to walk in and within which I can enjoy the freedom of reading a good blog, or checking my facebook page.

I do want to say, though, that the clear boundaries have made my week strangely difficult. It is hard to break a habit... and sitting quickly to check email, "one more time", had become a regular habit. But, in this simple, mild struggle... and obedience, I have truly found freedom, joy and peace. It feels similar to the beauty I find in fasting from from food. It is good to push myself sometimes---

I am sure my son may still ask me that same question... because frankly, as I sit here, (after purposefully NOT sitting at my computer much at all this week...), he is anxious for my attention and is possibly wondering the very same question. But, now before the Lord, I know I have not spent too much time on the computer this week. And, therefore, I can smile at him and say, "Silly boy, Mommy can have these 20 minutes on the computer and then we can play a game of cards, okay?"

No defensiveness. No guilt. God's kind and clear direction and my surrender has allowed freedom today.

Father, keep working on my heart. Please, sweet Father, keep showing me, molding me, changing me, challenging me, and making me more about You. I love your direction. I love your discipline. I want to learn to let you in on all, and every aspect of my life!

"We generally make our worst mistakes in matters which appear to us to be so plain that we think we do not need direction from God concerning them." - Charles Spurgeon

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