Unplugged: My Electronics are Sucking my Life Away

9:02 AMHeather

Hi!  My name is Heather.  And I have an addiction problem.   

(This is where you all say, "Hi Heather" to greet me in our little circle of similarly troubled people).

iPhone.  Facebook.  Pinterest.  Television.  iPad.  Laptop.

Y'all.  It's crazy in here.  I'm too ashamed to even begin to tell you just how many iDevices and electronics we have in our house.  It's shameful indeed.  And, I'm not exactly sure how this happened?  It's like they are rabbits and just seem to multiply with no effort on my part.  

So, class, a little review before we dive in today.  This is the book that is ruining me for the better.  It's a love/hate thing.  I love to hate the way I've bought into the excess?  I hate to love the need to change?  Not really sure....


I'm currently on week 7 of the weekly fasts for seven areas of excess in my life.  I'm a little off track and behind, and honestly the perfectionist in me feels the need to go back and redo a couple of these weeks.  Because I sorta missed it on the waste week.  I mean, I continued to recycle as I always do, and I felt a little extra guilt each time I saw a recyclable item in our trash can.  But, I didn't cut out bottled water as I thought I should and I really didn't change much.  

Anyhoo.  Media week was another weird week for me.  I didn't really establish firm boundaries or a plan as the week started, which never bodes well.  And it didn't.  I decided I was not going to cut out all television.  Because I had a 48 hour get-away from the kids.  Nothing says relaxing like brainless TV!  But, I did want to cut back drastically.  And I told myself I was not going to be on Facebook except to post my blog.  And my blog or online bill pay were my only laptop time.

Y'all.  It's ridiculous the jitters I felt from the compulsive need to check Facebook incessantly.  Because something amazing and incredible and life changing MIGHT have happened in the 2.3 seconds since I last looked on the news feed.  Sad, sad, sad.  The need I have to feel a connection.  So I'm looking to Facebook for it?  

Pathetic.  When did this happen?  How did this happen?  I look to some cyperspace connection repeatedly to fill a need for connection.  SO, I sit at the breakfast table scrolling through the news feed while my children sit across the table from me.

Call CPS, folks.  I know.  I recognize my parenting failures.  It's oh-so-obvious when I finally look up and see my kids on their iTouches playing Mine Craft rather than carrying on a conversation.  Gee--where did they learn that from?

I sorta puddled about then to a mass of guilt and shame and crawled through the rest of my media week.  Although I will say two profound things happened in my mess-of-a-media-fast week.

1.  I was amazed at how I didn't miss television once I quit watching it.  It lost it's luster.

2.  The itching and twitching to check Facebook and to look on Pinterest or check email on my iPhone gradually decreased.  I think the detox was painful at first, but gradually became freeing and good.

I wrapped up my media fast week on a Wednesday, at the end of my 48 hour get-away.  Home with the children during Spring Break, I felt a need to wipe my brow that it was over.

Except for one thing.

Our Verizon FIOS was dead.  I don't mean emotionally dead to me.  I mean D-E-A-D.  No cable.  No internet.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip. Zero.  And I thought I heard God's little chuckle about this turn of events while I sat frozen in my recliner.  With nothing to do.  But (gulp)--read.  Or talk to my children.  Or play a game.  

Ha ha ha.  Very funny, God.  I see what you did there.

But He wasn't finished.  Because the following two weeks AFTER that, I was traveling and driving and flying and moving and shaking.  And I watched approximately 27 minutes of television total.  Total in those two weeks.  In Arkansas with my sister and her family, our children rode bikes.  And my husband and I ran together.  Literally.  Not just running errands.  I sat leisurely on my sister's front porch for an entire afternoon watching the children playing.  Sipping on some sweet tea.  What is more Southern than that?  

And I blogged and checked in on Facebook on occasion.  Passed an hour or two total on Pinterest as I sat at an airport or sat bedside to Mamaw during her final day. I also spent twelve glorious hours in a car with one of my dearest friends, Amy.  And we chewed the fat on all sorts of things and finished conversations without interruption.  And encouraged each other.  And listened.  And it was a treat.  A treasure for me.

Oh, God knows me so very well.  I didn't loose my grip from media all that well on my own.  But, my Heavenly Father knew I needed to get it.  Really get it.  So, this chaotic crazy life of mine took some turns.  And media was thrown to the wayside.

Here's what I've found.  I allow media, in all shapes and forms, to use me.  I allow them to overtake space in my day and in my attention and focus.  And instead of using them for my purposes and gain, they use me.  They consume me.  I let them.  I sit back helpless.  How on earth did that happen?  Where did my day go?!  There's not enough time in the day!  I wail and moan and complain, as I sit with an iPhone or a lap top or in front of the television while hours slip away.  

I think the enemy couldn't be happier.  To see me all plugged in and hyped up on my media addiction.  [insert his evil laugh here].  GOT HER!  He says.  He lulls me into distraction so I miss all sorts of good stuff.  

Like piling my kids all on my bed together to talk and cry the day Mamaw went to heaven.  Or, sitting at a table with NO electronics and enjoying a meal.  Or, laying on my back porch reading a book.  Which I did on Sunday.  And it was fabulous.  That day, I also found time to school my teenage son in HORSE.  Yep.  Still got it.  And, I'm not above trash talking my guy about how his mother beat him at basketball.  Lest you think otherwise.

No media ban here.  But, rather moderation.  That's where I want to land.  To choose to sit and watch a particular show together (Duck Dynasty) or a movie.  Not sitting in front of the television to pass a day away.  Tucking electronic devices away for all meals or other times in the day.  Even turning my iPhone off.  GASP!  I did it, y'all.  I did it!  Nearly all weekend.  Leaving my phone in my purse when I'm with someone else.  And not checking it at red lights.  Cause I want to break the hold it has on me.

I want my electronics to stop sucking my life away.  Precious minutes.  And connecting time.  That I can't get back.

Help me Lord!  Help me in this endeavor.  And, yes, even if that means that my Verizon FIOS has to become dead to me.  Wait--did I just say that?!  Maybe there's hope yet....                

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