For week 2 of my Lent challenge, based on the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker, was to cut out media for 7 days. This was a big challenge for me! I had no idea how addicted to my phone, games apps, Facebook, and to the internet that I was! The first few days were tough to adjust for me. I didn't watch any TV. I did watch a movie on Friday night for my daughter's birthday celebration, but that was a special occasion. I don't often play on the Wii, our video game console, so that was no big deal. But I really, really like Facebook. Going without these things was really good and challenging for me. My life was simpler, I had WAY more time to read, and I finished this old crossword puzzle book! (It had 5-6 puzzles left in it). I read a book, The Mermaid Chair, in TWO days! That really showed me how much time I waste on my phone, playing and checking Facebook! I also began another book that I have wanted to read for a while, and I am really enjoying it!
Since this week has been done, I have made some changes. I deleted two of my game apps on my phone. They were pretty much just time suckers and time wasters anyway. I have pared down my Facebook and cut out unnecessary posts. I have unsubscribed from several email lists. My time is precious, and I believe that God does not want me to waste it on idle, unimportant things. (Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.) I took time to reflect more, and play with my kids, and listen to them more. There was no radio on in the van while we drove around town too. I enjoyed listening and talking to my kids more in the van. I love music, so that was hard for me to do without! I limited my texting and internet use. I limited my email use too, but I had to use it for my "work" of my American Girl class contacting parents.
One of the things that Jen Hatmaker says in her book is that we don't realize now what time suckers we have. We think that we "don't have time" to do extra things, but we will take 30 minutes to check Facebook or play on a game app. That hit home for me! At the end of the chapter on media, Jen's husband, Brandon Hatmaker reflected and wrote... "Usually the things we think we need become the very things we need a break from. That was the case for me with media... Media has changed the way we interact with each other and what we spend our time doing... We are held at gunpoint by our technological expectations. What began as something as ease has become something that clutters and consumes. Media 'noise' is everywhere and some perspective would do us all some good." (p 248) He continues, "All told, media month gave me some pretty good perspective. Someone once said, 'Think about the things you'd most hate to lose (outside of your family) and you'll identify your idols.' These are not only the things we treasure too much but what we've likely lost perspective on." (p 249)
We enjoyed more time as a family playing games and not just watching a movie. We took time to talk instead of watching TV in the evenings. It was a lovely, welcomed change for me, I really came to enjoy and appreciate the simplicity. I will be spending more time reading and less time playing games / checking Facebook on my phone! I will be trying to play more games with my kids too. (My kids did not go media-free this week, so I still heard a lot of their videos, etc., It might have been nicer to have them do without media too!)
It reminded me of the song by Chris Rice, which says, "Teach us to count the days, teach us to make the days count..." Yes, Lord, help us to make our days and our time count for YOU!
A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Read about week 3: Possessions here.
Read about week 2: Clothing here.
Read about week 1: Food (and intro) here.