Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Unplugging: See You in 30 Days!


At the end of last year, I made a decision I was excited about.
  I wanted to be a blogger.
  I have 'blogged' for years, here and there.  Its not been something I've been completely committed too, however.  I've not shared very often.  I've honestly kept some sort of online journal for about a decade now, but that's not exactly what I meant.  I wanted to be a blogger.  One who shares their heart, their evidences from God that he shares with us, my home school endeavors and curriculum that I develop..  I wanted to share that with the world.  To reach out and connect with other Mommies in the world who are looking for the comfort of connection.  I wanted to put it all out there, and do it with all of my heart.  I was, (and still am!) excited and confident that this endeavor is God led, that he's leading me to share what's on my heart.  I've been a full-time Mommy for 8 years now.  I've been a wife for almost 9.  I've been a home school Mommy for 4.  I've put in a lot of time, and God has taught me SO much that I have to share with the world..  and I finally feel ready and called to do so.  It's taken me awhile to get to that point.  I've struggled with insecurity about sharing, I've struggled with the issues of time management.  I've struggled a lot through the years, and I believe with all my heart my struggles have come full circle, and I've found somewhere that I can thrive.
   I finally have a (small but significant) readership.  I'm thankful for every person who takes the time to read, and especially for those who comment, and at the same time I'm so excited and pray that God can use me as a tool to touch others.  That through blogging he may help me to gain the confidence to reach out and touch lives, to guide people through things that they are struggling with.  I pray that he will just use me and my blog as an endeavor to spread his word, to touch others hearts, and to inspire others who are struggling as I have in the past, to get them to a place where they can bloom and thrive.  That is my prayer for this blog.
   So as with anything that I'm doing prayerfully, I want to do this right.  And if I'm going to do it right, I want to follow Gods calling on my heart, in regards to the blog.

   A few years ago, I read this blog entry by a wonderful woman named Cheryl who writes over at Treasures from a Shoebox...  I Remember Life (Before the Internet)  I LOVED this blog.  I've loved it so much and read it so many times through the years.  However, it makes me sad...
  It makes me sad, because I don't remember those times.  I don't have those memories.  As long as I've been a Mommy, there's been Internet and blogs...  there's been television and texting and cellphones.  Although I remember a more peaceful time, its during my childhood.  It seemed that as I moved into early adolescence the world began to spring, and all of the sudden, all of that quiet time was gone.
   I spend mornings with my devotion in my hand on occasion, but its rushed and not usually quiet.  I don't discipline myself enough to go to bed early and wind down so I can get a peaceful nights sleep so that I can rise early in the morning refreshed and looking forward to spending time with God.  I long for that, but it never happens.  Its not because my kids get up before dark, because they don't..  I could get up early enough and make it a priority, but time and time again, I don't.
  I also fill my nights with vegging out in front of the television.  Which, there's absolutely nothing wrong with from time to time, but its became a habit.  It is time spent with my husband, but is it really time spent well?  What about reading together?  Talking?  Those precious hours that we are alone, we should have a better way to spend it to grow closer together.  The occasional television or movie night is fun and refreshing, but when it becomes a habit rather than a treat, there's an issue there.
   I LOVE this blogging world.  I think its very enriching to my life.  I believe with all of my heart that it is going to strengthen my spiritual walk with Him.  But this is new to me, and something new draws my heart and engulfs it completely.  If this truly is a part of my ministry and my spiritual walk (which I honestly believe that it is) I need to get my heart in the right place before I go any further.  I want to experience the quietness and peacefulness before I jump head first into the blog world.  I believe perhaps if I allow myself to grow first that I will be in a better place to share my heart, as long as I allow my heart to get where God wants it.
   About a year ago, I was convicted to spend 30 days disconnected from the internet.  I wanted to do so much in 30 days.  I wanted to put the internet on the shelf and reconnect with my family.  Although the 30 days only lasted about two weeks back then, the days were so full for me that I can remember them so clearly.  I remember actually playing in the grass with my kids.  I remember actually spending time with the people close to me, and having phone conversations rather than responding to a 'message' online.  I remember actually walking in my little boys room and asking, "What do you want to play?"  and seeing his eyes light up!  Things I have not done in a long, long time.  I also wanted to write a 30 day journal/devotion..  the ancient way..  on a notebook with a pen, rather than typing it out online..  and then at the end of the journey, typing it out to share with other bloggers out there.  It was a conviction, and something that I knew God was calling me to do, but I wasn't strong enough.  I felt too weak to fully rely on God to fill me up, and I turned back to the world of facebook and blogger, back to the world that could 'like' my pictures and comment on my words..  back to the world that showed acceptance and validated me...  to help me fight my insecurity.
  Although its amazing to connect with people online, I think that first God wants to heal the wounds of insecurity that have been left on me through years of seeking that validation.  I believe that he wants me to not need it before he can show me how to use it properly.
   Five years ago, I felt God calling my heart to give up television.  It had robbed my life of so many precious moments.  I spent the first six months of my daughters life fighting post partum depression, and rather than healing I just hid the feelings behind a television screen, several soap operas and boxes of processed cakes.  One day, my Mom gave me a book she had gotten for a couple of dollars at the book store.  It doesn't seem like a book that anyone would want to read, but I clung to that book.  It was called TV: The Great Escape.  The day I put the satellite box in my closet and decided to break away from this, that book and its small devotions became a cornerstone in my life for a few weeks.  As I navigated life facing reality instead of hiding reality behind a screen, it was difficult, but in the end, I came out victorious.  I wasn't as close to God then, and the book wove small devotions into its pages and challenges, and began to change my heart and draw me closer to God.  In essence, that book and the fact that I 'escaped' changed my life.  Now, we have television, cable TV, but we rarely turn it on.  The occasionally show here and there, or sometimes some on demand Nick Jr...  but honestly, its something we have learned to live without completely, and it would not be the end of the world if we didn't have it.  The only reason we do is because our community offers it as part of our rental agreement, otherwise we would still be without it.  I think God pulled me away from television when he knew that my heart needed to change, and introduced it back into my life at a moment when I could learn to control it.  I believe with all of my heart that is the case with social networking.  He said one year, and I agreed to give him that.  Perhaps this time next year this blog will even have its own facebook page, and perhaps it never will.  I'm being obedient.
   I'm not convicted to spend a year without blogging, because as I mentioned blogging has expanded my heart and my confidence, and its been a great thing.  However, I do think that I'm beginning to see patterns of the same thing I dealt with with facebook..  an addiction.  I don't want blogging to take the place of facebook- to allow my issues with social networking to manifest itself in a medium that is so helpful and strengthening to me...  and I can't get the calling of stepping away off of my heart..  so for a month, I am going to step away.  Put the internet back in its place in my life and my heart...  and pray, hard, for God to take the direction of my blogging endeavors rather than myself.
   The other night, I sat in my bed and held my baby.  I hugged him tight and realized that I had spent very little time with my baby, but I had spent a great deal of time online.  I was frustrated and sad.  I don't want to spend my days this way.  I want my heart to be engulfed in God..  I want my treasure to be at Home, not in the internet.  Although its a wonderful way to share, I don't want my blog to become an idol as social media has in the past.  I want to be free from that, free to enjoy the small world God has called me to serve in, because one day the small world will be really big.
   I do plan to 'write' a short devotion on my unplugged days on paper, as in the past days.  I will share those devotions with you as well!  I do intend to check my email, and I will have to use the computer for school, but I am limiting my usage to that alone.  I won't be blogging, or checking blogs throughout October  Please, keep writing.  All of my friends who have jumped on board the wagon, please continue to write and fill the blogger world with your wisdom!  I will be reading as soon as I return, and I hope you have a lot of reading material for me.
  So, until March, I pray for each of you, and I thank you endlessly for following!  Hopefully in March I will be refreshed, and I will have a lot to say that will encourage you all!  Thank you, for reading, visiting, commenting, and your fellowship.  I appreciate it more than words can say!  I will be checking blogs until Sunday.  I'm a bit OCD, so calendar days mean a lot to me...  so I will begin on Feb. 1st.  Thank you, for being there always.  I hope to talk to you soon!

Friends, I will tell you that life lived when not a single person is looking is quite different than this online world. Things move a lot slower, quieter, and more simply. Days are longer, we speak softer, and somehow all those lost minutes of the day come together to form an extra hour or two to focus on the things that really matter. 
-Aura Joon

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Matthew 6: 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.