Wednesday, October 9, 2013

An Electronic Fast

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Isn't it annoying when someone uses technology to tell you that you are using too much technology?  Like a Facebook post about how we all spend too much time on Facebook?  Yeah, it's obnoxious.  So I'm not gonna do that.  Not exactly.   What I am going to do is to tell you why I decided that I needed an electronic fast, and what taking one day off from electronics did for me.  Understand that I don't think everyone who has a Facebook account spends too much time on it, nor do I think everyone needs to take a day off technology. This is about confession, not judgment. 

Recently, I came to the realization that I was wasting way too much time on the computer and the tablet.  I don't mean checking Facebook a few times a day or playing a game here and there.  I had the sound on my computer turned up so that I could hear when I got a notification or an email.  In the middle of sweeping the floor, I would stop to find out what email I had gotten.  Of course, since I was already sitting down at the computer, I went ahead and scrolled down my news feed.  And it was really easy to pick up the tablet to play just one more level of whatever app I was hooked on at that time.  Soon, thirty minutes had passed while I was just goofing off.   My housework was suffering, my family was suffering, and I was suffering!  I felt guilty for all my time-wasting, but I had a hard time stopping.  

I decided the best way for me to deal with my lack of self-control was the cold turkey method.  For one day, I turned off the computer and buried my Kindle and Kindle Fire in my sock drawer. (What? It worked!)  I expected I would get more housework done that day, but I learned a lot more about myself than how much work I can do without a computer on:

I learned that I waste as much time anticipating using electronic devices as I do actually using them.  I thought about what status to put on Facebook, a new strategy for my app, or which news site to read well before I actually sat down with the computer or tablet Instead of "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5) my thoughts were frivolous.  

I really can use 10 minute blocks of time effectively when I don't have the distraction of a device.  I'm the kind of person that would rather take one hour to get a job done from start to finish than use several ten minute increments thought out the day.  But when the computer is shut, I find I may as well unload and load the dishwasher before taking the kids to school, even if I have to clean the rest of the kitchen after I get back.

Electronics probably keep me from getting the rest I need.  When I would sit down to take a short break without a screen in front me, I fell asleep nearly every time.  I wonder if I used my little one's nap time as a time for Mommy to nap too, would I feel more rested every morning?

The next day, I didn't even have the desire to play an app.  Taking a day off broke the hold the game had over me.  So even when I brought the devices back out, I wasted less time, just from taking ONE day off.

I don't know the Bible nearly as well as I though I did.  As I was studying my Bible, and I wanted to find a passage about Nadab and Abihu, or the verse about casting all our cares upon God, I really missed my search engine.  I think I need to memorize one of those lists: Where to look when you want to know about... 

An electronic fast did not make me the best time manager in the world over night.  I was still not terribly efficient in getting my work done.  I think I need a course on time management.

It doesn't take that much time to "catch up" on email, Facebook, and other social media after just one day out.  Honestly, I doubt if anyone but me noticed what I was doing. 

At the end of the day, I didn't feel deprived.  I felt energized.  I'll be making this a weekly habit.

On today's Whatsoever Wednesday, instead of sharing with you what I have watched, read or listened to that helped me think on pure and lovely thoughts, I have shared how avoiding electronic habits helped me learn more about myself and my habits.  I'm hoping as this electronic fast becomes a habit, I can use my screen free time to meditate more on the Bible or spend more time in prayer to help me follow Philippians 4:8-9 even closer.  


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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