I’ve been quieter about my Lenten journey this year. It’s not been on purpose. I didn’t plan it that way is what I mean. The last time I sat down to write, the internet was out. At first, I was irritated about the inconvenience of it. By the time we found out it would be a couple of days until a new piece of equipment arrived, I was over it and enjoyed no internet.
One of the purposes of my Lenten journey this year was to spend less time on social media, my phone and laptop. I realized halfway into the season that I had not done well with the “less time” part. Then we had no internet and I was forced into it. And it was good.
I was less distracted so I read more. And studied more. I had longer conversations with my family. I listened better. I thought through ideas fully. I felt more at ease and it seemed easier to move at soul-speed.
Then the internet was up again and it all went back to how it was before. The restlessness. The wasted time. The countless distractions.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Internet or not, we are bombarded with opportunities to look, like, scroll, watch, read, post the perfectly filtered photo, create the wittiest caption, comment, and check stats. For what? Why do I give in to the distractions when I know it’s not what I need?
I believe the question is one each of us needs to ask ourselves, wrestle with, and answer honestly. And it won’t do any good to put it out of our minds and ignore it. Why do we allow such unnecessary distractions? Are they doing any good for us? There may be some good in it and because of it. I read many inspirational posts throughout the week that remind me of truth and encourage me. But we all know our screens aren’t filled with all things encouraging. It’s too easy to compare or envy or become less and less content with our lives. And we really need to be concerned when we care more about our social media presence than with who we are in real life with the people God gave us. We need to ask how we can use social media for the good of others; how we use it wisely; how we can prevent it from stealing valuable time and real connection with real people.
These are questions I’m asking.
So I’m deleting a couple of apps from my phone today, because having instant access to all the distractions is part of the problem for me. This is a start and it will help, but I plan to keep asking the questions. I will keep wrestling because I don’t want to give in to a distracted life.
If you’re one who has found out how to do this well I wish you’d share with the rest of us. We can all learn from one another.
I’ll leave you with beautiful thoughts from Jan Richardson. She blogs at The Painted Prayerbook. This is from one of her 2012 Lenten posts.
“….we carry so much that can serve to insulate us from recognizing and being present to the God who is always present to us, and who still perceives our beloved shape beneath the layers of grime that cling to our souls. The distractions we build our lives around; the harm we cause others or ourselves; our inability to see ourselves as God sees us: how might we allow God to wash all this away, not so that God can see us more clearly, but so that we can see the God who makes a home within us?”
Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash
10 thoughts on “Wash It Away”
So good, as always. I’ve been less and less on the blogs lately, partly due to learning (are you ready for this?) SWEDISH! My Swedish son-in-law says it’s not entirely practical, since so few people on the planet actually speak it, (and probably most of them speak English anyway), but when your granddaughter is growing up in Sweden, since when does grandma need to be “practical”? So, one of my answers to your very relevant question: Learning something NEW away from social media!
That’s wonderful Dawn! I’m so happy to hear from you and happy that you’re doing something so new and impractical! When it’s motivated by love though….it’s not so impractical after all.
Exactly! motivated by love, you just nailed it.
I watched a great Ted talk not long ago about how social media doesn’t make us happier but people spend so much time scrolling through because there aren’t any stopping cues. You can scroll click, link for hours and never get to the end. With television you at least get to the end of a show and have a chance to choose to watch another (or not). Maybe the answer involves us teaching ourselves when to stop without these cues.
Great thoughts! You’re right….there are no stopping cues. I’m going to share this with my teenager.
Love what you’ve shared, as I’m attempting to do the same. (As you have, I deleted my apps months ago and feel a sense of freedom from that.) As a fifty something year old gal, intentional has been a key word for me these days… wanna make not just the days count, but the moments.As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts and encouragement!
Intentional is right! We must be relentlessly choosy when deciding where to spend our time.
Yes! I’m trying to manage my time better as well…and you are so right: social media can really eat up the hours! Good for you to take this step! Thank you for being a wonderful example to us all! ❤
Lynn, thank you for your encouragement. I tend to do this well, then not so well. Again and again I have to refocus. I want my time spent to reflect what’s really important to me, but I get lackadaisical until I become aware of the wasted time. Then I re-evaluate and refocus again.
I think this is the story of all our lives, Marie! Thank you for your transparency and for inspiring all of us! ❤