After six months unplugged... here we go...
It's 8:36 am on a cool August morning and the kids are making a fleet of paper airplanes to ambush Daddy. I glance out the back window - a small row of golden sunflowers sways in the breeze and the quiet cluck-cluck of five hens warms my heart right up. The leaves are already falling, we're picking tomoatoes, and the pumpkins swell. I'm reminded to smile, to breathe, to give thanks. I jot the gifts down in my journal, usually open somewhere in the kitchen.
I'm reminded of the truth that has shaped the past several months, if not years, of my life. Time is precious. Yes, Cass, remember the truth revealed over and over, I think about it now - we are all gifted with time as long as we breathe in and out. I gaze out on a country backyard and breath deep sighs and sip warm coffee only because God Almighty lends me the time to do so. I am not my own. I hold no control about how much time I have left. Only what I do with it.
It isn't a new or earth-shattering concept, but how many of us hold fast to it?
It was this thought and this challenge that caused me to pull the plug on blogging and all social media six months ago. I was wildly burdened in my soul about how I spent my time. I knew Christ Jesus was speaking to me in the whispers to unplug it all and surrender what I held so tight. So much prayer and many tears brought me to write my 'farewell' post where I said I didn't know when I'd return.
Over the past six months, I've spent whole evenings writing love letters to God and bowing low and listening hard. I've spent hours in the late night, curled on a couch with my husband, reading the Word and sharing hearts. I've seen the joy and freedom that comes from never needing to turn on the screen. From sharing my soul with the Lord rather than every body else.
And over the past six months we've seen God work. I mean really, really work. I've seen and experienced precious wonders, gifts from Him.
We've seen all kinds of miracles:
Home Church miracles.
(Yes we have chickens, and we had ducks... that's for another post...)
I hope, Lord willing, to share many, many of these stories with you here on these pages. I want to shout out loud how awesome God is and how He draws so near to those who draw near to Him. No matter how imperfect and messed up that person is. How much He cares for every aspect of our lives, even the tiny, seemingly insignificant. How he covers us with His never ending grace and leads us. How he answers the simple prayers of children and works in mysterious ways.
I click on the computer screen and stare blankly.
It's like there are two universes for me. The Literal Universe, and The Spiritual Universe. It's easy to feel spiritual when I'm belting out love songs to Jesus, reading His word and feeling Him close, hearing Him speak, and pressing in during those quiet, divine moments.
But what about now? When the boys are arguing over who owns which Lego piece and I'm scrolling through Facebook?
One thing I've learned over the past six months is this - everything is spiritual. If we believe the bible is true, we have to embrace this reality. There is no distinction between my spiritual self and my mortal, literal, physical self. They are one in the same. That means everything I do has spiritual implications. Yes, even scrolling through Facebook. Or posting an image to Pinterest. Or if I even choose to be on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter or ... well whatever other social medias are out there.
Sometimes, the spiritual implication is this - when I'm consumed with the screen, I'm missing something better God had for me in that moment. Sometimes, it's what I post will touch a heart who needs encouragement at the right time. It's up to us to seek and find that guidance.
If we view all as spiritual then it drastically changes the way we view our time. It's kind of like the truth about our treasure and our wallets. Track my time, see my heart. (Matthew 6:21-24)
How am I investing my heart? Am I distracted? Or am I living purposefully?
How am I spending my 'time currency'? Is it well spent in light of eternity? Do I listen to the Holy Spirit's guiding about how I invest my moments? Am I spending more time on Facebook than I am with my face in His precious Holy Book? Am I wasting more time watching TV than I am investing in relationships with people who need love? Does my cell phone distract me so much that I forget the people (the little people too...) who are right by my side, in the flesh?
Because if we view our time as sacred, then how we spend it is sacred business. And if all things are spiritual and all experiences are to be spiritual ones with eternal value, then how does this shape my attitude on a daily basis? If where my treasure is, there also is my soul - then just where is my treasure? What does the time-trail tell?
Yes, I've had six months and more to pray and ponder these truths and to learn that this computer, the only screen in our life, can either own me or be owned.
It says it right there in Matthew, no one can serve two masters, for either he will hate one and love the other. I was reluctant to call a computer or a blog or Facebook a "Master". I mean, really? I know most people see it as extreme but when you desperately want to follow Jesus, you are desperate for the truth. Even if the truth seems completely weird. Because I've come to realize that the Lord's truth WILL look weird to the world.
I prayed and started to see the spiritual reality. If we allow our screen time and our use of technology to master us, than doesn't it become our Master by default? I needed to really, truly know the answer: Who was my Master?
Was my go-to the Holy Word of God or the computer screen? Was I viewing my time and my habits as holy experiences? (I finally fully understand the title of Ann's blog...)
I really entered in to the truth and realized what God was whispering. Yes, everything is spiritual, everything is connected to Him because we are His earthen vessels. He is in us and works through us and we are to offer our bodies, minds, souls, hands, and feet for Him. For His worship and service and by grace, He fills us with light and we share that light with others. And when we miss this, others will miss His light. Ah, the wonder of the Christ-life. I'm brought to my knees.
So, wait... how I respond when my daughter beckons me has eternal value? Yep. And how I speak to and reach out to that Mom who is desperate for help matters? Of course.
And how I choose to speak to a stranger really has an affect on him?
And whether I ignore that man on the corner?
And how I start each day?
And how I teach and guide our children?
And how I speak to my husband?
And how I view that sunflower out the window?
And how I speak of the gloomy, rainy morning? (Did you know in Job, God calls himself the Father of Rain?)
These things have eternal value?
Yes and yes and yes. When it comes to the Lord and His word and Truth and our time, everything matters.
What I watch matters.
What I read matters.
What I write matters.
How I speak matters.
What I 'share' matters.
What I 'like' matters.
How I view blogging and Facebook and all the rest of those potential distractions matters.
Screen time matters.
How my children view screen time matters.
Endless texting on a cell phone matters.
How many beeps and bings I allow to pull me from my family really, really matters.
Because all these things pile up and up and form the mountains of how we spend our time and where we invest our hearts.
Taking time away from blogging and being online was a gift. So much truth was revealed to me, by the complete grace of Jesus. I was reminded what writing was supposed to be about for me. What God has called me to do through this little space. To write truth and to share the journey of walking with a personal, loving God. To share how He challenges and embraces me, no matter how unconventional or weird.
And also, a surprising discovery - how social media can be used for so much good. Yes, it can be a huge distraction, but it can also be a gift. A way of connecting with family, friends, and so many of those precious souls you never would normally never meet.
Just last week, I got together with a beautiful Mom and her children - solely because we knew each other through blogging and Facebook. We are kindred spirits, no doubt. My kids are begging to get together again.
I'm brought to tears reading messages and love notes from all the cherished readers of this blog who whisper encouragement to me. Thank you. I'm honestly so humbled and blessed that my words touch your hearts. That when I share God's whispers about home education and our journey and faith, others are deeply moved! What? I'm just on my knees, friends. Only through God's grace. All glory to Him. And, might I suggest this truth? The inspiration you feel is not from me or by me by through the Holy Spirit and His whispers. And I pray He would continue to use me in this way, my hands are His.
And the very day I logged back onto Facebook (reluctantly, I'll add), I was (I believe) supernaturally connected to a post about hosting French students and we ended up hosting a beautiful young girl for most of July - which was an answer to prayer in the craziest of ways. My parents also had the chance to host a student and we knew that it wasn't by chance they were with our families. What a gift.
See, I've learned that what can be a distraction can also be a blessing. It's all in how we allow our time to be used. We own media or it will own us. We choose how much time we spend online and we chose how we spend it. We pray and we listen to God's leading and we cling to the eternal and the love-centered and the honest, pure, and true. We fight the temptation of distraction and turn off the screens and shut down everything that needs to be shut down when He calls us. When we see ourselves slipping into the place where media becomes a Master - we shut it down and refocus.
We refuse to miss God. To miss the point. To miss our very purpose. To lose our chance to really live and love because our life what spent pointing and clicking aimlessly. We choose what we do with this gift of time and we must, in light of all eternity, choose wisely.
Praying we will all seek and find this wisdom every single day and walk then in the freedom of Christ's unending love and grace.
Big hugs. *breath*
You are loved.
So yes, I'm back to writing this little blog and sharing my heart here and there on Facebook, but I'm walking on tip-toe. Carefully, prayerfully moving forward and trying hard to be intentional about how and when I log on, write, and do all other screen-related things. Because God's whispers, His Word, His purpose, and these precious ones around me mean too much to me to miss. (smile)