I Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (NIV)
I have a tendency to need to hear something repeatedly, in many different ways, before I “get it.” I think that is what has been happening lately. I think God has been trying to tell me something and finally I’m hearing Him. Let me explain…
It started a few months ago when my family jokingly started referring to me as an internet junkie. Every time we would come home from somewhere, they would silently count down in their head the amount of time it would take for me to jump on the computer and “check for work.” That was always my excuse, but I would inevitably end up scrolling through email, check my Facebook, etc. at the same time. “A few seconds” would turn into a half hour, and then I would be scrambling around trying to get things done or put our little one down for an over-needed nap…always playing catch up. I think you get the idea.
Then back in September, my daughter pleaded with me to give her 20 minutes of “us time” in the mornings before she left for school. Her dad and brother were already gone and it was just her, me, and her little brother. So…I started making a point to carve out that time for her. But…laziness settled in, routines got changed, and I would end up on the internet getting work downloaded, ready to start as soon as the bus left. Again, as above, I would end up checking emails or emailing friends, looking at Facebook, and all the time I had originally carved out for her would be gone.
I have also read quite a few blogs from other people talking about how they are making a point to use technology less and instead focus on their family; to not just be in the same room as, but mentally present, with their loved ones.
The last and probably most important message that came through loud and clear for me was a devotional I read on the internet this morning – yes, that’s right, on the internet. It was titled “Keep Your Eyes On The Prize.” Let me quote a little passage from that devotional that hit home with me: “What will really matter at the end of your life on earth? Will what you are giving attention to now still be important then? Or, will you be filled with regret for what you did — or didn’t do? Distractions abound, TV, phone calls, web sites, books, movies. It might be a good idea to stop and evaluate how you are investing your time.” (aDevotion.org).
Wow – Might I add that while I was reading that, my daughter was sitting on the floor nearby, sadly resigned to the fact that she was yet again not getting my attention during what was supposed to be “our special time.” Ouch!
Let’s just say that God let me glimpse a snapshot of what my family might look like a few weeks, months, or years from now. If I continue down the same path of putting technology (never intentionally, but doing so nevertheless) ahead of my family and their feelings, then I will be more “connected” to external things and less connected to the people who really matter in my life.
However, if I make a few small changes, I can have the best of both worlds. By putting technology in its place, the same as any other chore or task in my daily routine, I can stay tuned in to the needs of my family while still staying “connected on a healthier level” with the outside world. In addition, since checking my email and Facebook constantly was more habit than necessary (my job is not one that requires 24-hour surveillance), I think it will be fairly easy to make that change and keep technology within the healthy boundaries necessary. I also think that God will honor that decision and make the time I do spend on the internet more focused and less random. I find that when I choose to honor God by obeying his commands (loving and taking care of my family before outside enjoyment), He usually rewards me in ways that I never would have thought possible.
I can see a few rewards that could come out of this conscience decision. First, I hope that my family notices the change in me versus having to be told. That would be huge. Not necessary, but definitely rewarding. Another reward could be I will possibly be less stressed and more relaxed by checking only at certain times of the day and only in certain circumstances, but maybe, just maybe I can model to my kids the balance that is required of living a healthy lifestyle. The best reward, though, that I can think of is that my husband will know he has first priority in my life, humanely speaking. Lastly, when my kids think about memories with their mom, it will be of us connecting and not just me sitting at the computer. That is probably the best reward of all.
Feel free to check back with me occasionally to see how I’m doing in this area. Accountability is a great way to stay on track!