31 March 2014

Unwound from the Web: 5 blessings from my time offline

Disconnect from the online world. Yes, I just wrote that in a blog post that will be promoted using social media.

This past week, my family and I went to Cebu for our spring break--(I'm sure you'll see some posts about that soon.)--and I was suddenly and unexpectedly freed from the world wide web.  I had expected slower connections or less time online, but I did not foresee that complete curtailing of my daily web-based rituals. Here's why I appreciated my forced fast and recommend similar disconnecting to you.

My web-free week taught me to...

1.  Be fully present with people: listening with ears and eyes, playing with carefree squeals, resting  without the urge to check my email.

2. Release the need to publicize myself. Status updates and Instagram highlight the joys and beauty of everyday life, but it also pressures me to come up with great slogans and impressive pictures. It was lovely to enjoy the gifts around me without feeling the outside pressure to tweak any of it for others who glimpse into my world.

3. Internalize truth instead of rushing off to teach it. As a blogger and a high school teacher, I'm in danger of spilling out lessons so quickly that they miss my own heart. You too? When I learn something amazing, I want to share it with others! But first, I need to let that truth sit in my heart, resonate with my spirit, and change my habits toward godliness. This week taught me to look long and intentionally at myself rather than rushing to write a winner post for others.

4. Choose to disconnect. On one evening during our vacation, the kids were changed and ready for bed, and my husband offered to watch them while I went to the lobby to use the Internet for an hour. I chose not to. My days of being with my family--fully with them--was addictive. I knew I'd be returning to high-speed-Internet Seoul soon enough. I chose to lie on the bed and talk to my 5-year-old daughter about the birthday party she wants to have in five months. So even though I was initially forced to fast from the web, the break broke me of an addiction--and I then chose to keep that distance of my own will.

5. Lift my eyes. There is so much revealed around us. Nature's song, children's joy, a husband's loving glance--these all surround me and bless me, but sometimes my eyes do not see these gifts. While the Internet is essentially a part of this world and displays both its truth and beauty, it can suck away our focus, distract us from our purpose. Just like any unhealthy habit, frivolous and unedifying web surfing will blur our vision for a God-filled life, an obedience-driven will, and a heaven-bound hope.

I'm obviously back online now, but the week retreat was good for my body, mind, and soul. We live in the world, but we cannot be of it. We use the Internet, but we cannot be ruled by it. If you feel yourself drawn to and pulled here and there by your time online, may I suggest a similar fast as a means to refocus? With an open heart and uninhibited prayer, your dedicated time offline can be a powerful tool through which God speaks His truth to you--and He doesn't need any medium except His Son to do that.

Abide in Him,

Have you taken a break from online activity before? What did God teach you?

Related articles you might also enjoy:
Consider It: An Online Bible Study

When Social Media Disconnects You
Reacting Aside: I Want To Live On Purpose!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes, yes! I loved the encouragement to use the internet but not be ruled it.

    Stopping by from Walking Redeemed and plan to visit again soon.


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