Quitting My Media Habit Cold Turkey

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Media consumes my day, scribbling in the margins of my life.

I know I’m not alone.

An October study found Americans swallow up a whole 11 hours per day of various forms of media ranging from texting to radio. This same study predicts American’s appetite will average 15 hours a day by next year.

I feel the effects on my attention span. My young children tax my brain enough already, so I decided to take a drastic step to reclaim my mind. I set aside the remote and started a one month media fast.

Could you do it? I struggled through, and I already feel myself thinking clearer and praying more.

I feel a little like Cinderella once her fairy godmother poofed onto the scene, but instead of a gown and carriage, I’ve been given the gift of time. Three hours more per day descends on me like a package out of the sky in the form of no television, movies, Facebook or fiction.

So with this newfound gift of time, I accomplish more. I have even started this blog I’ve been meaning to get to for years. Without the distraction of TV, I brainstormed a book I want to write.

As a reward in itself, I study the Bible and exercise once the kids visit lullaby land. Quitting my media routine redeems 8:30-11:30 p.m. Every. Single. Day.

Replacing a bad habit with a good one is the only way to avoid returning to the foul habit, so I read every day, juggling between two or three different books.

Reading sharpens my thinking and speech. Conversations come easier, and I pause less often to think. My language and vocabulary have improved, and all the reading sharpens my writing.

I don’t check my Facebook feed five times a day anymore. This hones my focus to accomplish the tasks before me. You might still find me wondering around my kitchen trying to remember what I was doing, but my memory improves daily.

As far as TV goes, I don’t miss it at all. Most of the time I only sit in front of the tube to spend time with the Kenyan. He winds down. We hold hands and laugh with each other at the jokes. Sitting with the Kenyan I miss, but the mindless TV I will skip in the future.

Movies I definitely miss. A good movie is art. I will add movies back into my schedule once I make more progress on the blog and book.

Fiction I will add back into my media diet but avoid the meaningless novels cluttering my library. Instead I’ll focus on classics, bestsellers and historical fiction.

I pick up fiction second only after my head goes numb to nonfiction. This is when AMC’s Walking Dead would tempt me, but I will turn to fiction much more after seeing the benefits I’ve reaped so far.

Have you ever gone to sleep Sunday night and wondered, what happened to the weekend?

Before quitting my media habit, I often asked myself this. So the next weekend I would set out to rest more intentionally spending more time on the couch with my remote, but rest never comes.

Instead, TV arrests me and I end up serving it. True rest comes from erasing the extra media scrawled into the margin of my life.

No longer a slave to media, my mind can rest, explore and think freely. I bless the day I found the freedom to turn it off. Now I can rest.

 

 

 

A Letter to Myself

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You think the life you’re weaving will unravel in your absence. It won’t. Stop taking yourself so seriously. The kids can spend a morning without you. The house may be dirty when you get back, but it won’t implode.

God want s each of us to serve one another. It’s never His design for one to serve all—except in the case of His son. Serving is not work as you think. Serving is emptying self so that we can be filled by Him who pours life into us, over and over again. Serving brings refreshing.

Serve, yes, but don’t be afraid to be served. In this Christ is serving you. He is kneeling down to wash your feet. Yes even your feet. He deems you worthy of this love. That’s all that matters. Why are you reticent to receive this love, to ask for it? Why do you tell yourself you don’t need this love? You need to feast on this love.

I hear Jesus whispering to you, “Take eat, this is my body which has been broken for you.” Devour this love. Let it shock, stun and amaze you. Everyday take time to remember Him, and don’t forget about His love.

Your life matters and has been hand-picked and fashioned by God for His own purposes. Stay the course. Keep a posture of internal hope, always believing the dreams He’s set before you. Keep the vision alive. Fuel the attitude and discipline of faith.

Take time to achieve the work which He’s set before you. Read and write every minute you get, but don’t strive. Be careful here. Striving doesn’t help achieve anything. Walk in the unforced rhythm of grace with a thankful heart. Jesus wants to teach you this grace walk. It’s a walk of rest, of complete dependence on the One who does all the work and has prepared every work for us to do in advance. He knows every outcome and He’s the door to this rest. He is Grace. He is Truth.

Look for these grace moments. Stack stones as the Israelites did. Keep thinking of them. Journal them. Keep a list going of each moment of grace and beauty. This keeps your attitude vertical and opens Heaven in the ho-hum moments.

Watch how He achieves the impossible through you. Your faith acts as a conduit to miracles. Culture this faith through rest, trust and meditation on the goodness of God. Let the theologians worry about the rest.

Target your faith on all that is holy and pleasant and good. Like a child, base your hope on God’s good ways. He is all-together lovely. His heart is always good. He is always working good for you. Rest in this.

The Dirt Road of Marriage

me and mike

We’ve hit the marriage stride.

Comfortable and happy, I never thought the day would come where we have more peace than strife in our home.

After nearly seven years, God’s grace has helped us find this rhythm in marriage. But we just hit a bump.

In-laws.

Is there a bigger bump than a fight with the in-laws? I don’t know. I don’t have much practice with my in-laws. Mine live half way around the world in Kenya.

I’m ashamed to admit in the beginning of our marriage I was glad nearly 9,000 miles separated us. After getting to know them, I wish they lived closer—perhaps somewhere on this continent.

I underestimate the impact family has when positive and encouraging support defines interaction. But what I’ve gleaned from mother-in-law jokes tells me in-laws often overstep and can tend to meddle.

My hakuna-matata in-laws have the opposite problem. Our fight arose out of a lack of communication, partly fueled by my tendency to sprint away from conflict.

But this situation has taught me to measure marriage by the stride and not the bumps. This perspective changes everything.

Reasons abound to keep running.

I remember the day when I decided I wouldn’t let a conflict color my entire attitude toward my spouse. What could have become a wedge, separating us, became a compartment I could open and close at will.

Oh happy day when I discovered this nugget of wisdom! I wanted to corner every newlywed and engaged couple I saw. But couples can only master this skill by humility and lots of practice.

My husband and I didn’t let this one bump keep us down. Like any good runner, we peeled ourselves off the pavement.

Jarring and painful, falling never gets easier. And tripping like an ungraceful klutz in front of others threatens ongoing embarrassment that isn’t easy to overcome.

But the first step is to get up and begin pounding the road.

Now wiser, we can more clearly see the bumps looming ahead. Instead of tripping, we can avoid these potholes in our marriage.

After falling, it’s normal to limp for a while massaging our sore bums, but eventually we have to start running again. In marriage we have to start truly living again.

Others have compared marriage to navigating a minefield. You can only learn where the mines are from stepping on every one.

After a fight with the spouse, offense and bitterness can spring up easily. Suppress this urge.

Just like an experience runner, you can find your stride again after a tumble. If you keep running, you can also look forward to a second wind or a runner’s high.

Like running, marriage takes endurance. Check out the Apostle Paul’s words about running the race of faith. Although the passage isn’t about marriage, it is about faith. Try to have marriage without faith. It’s not easy.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)

Look to Jesus, always Him. Pace yourself for the long trip knowing faith and grace to keep running come from His hand.

I wish you happy traveling along this dirt road of marriage. Please don’t forget to enjoy the view, and don’t let the bumps keep you down.

What bumps threaten to slacken your stride or halt it all together?