10 September 2014

5 Questions to Ask before I Wake My Online World

There's something powerful about a laptop computer screen. When you lift it up, you wake a giant. When you slap it down, you slay a dragon. There should be more that goes through our minds when we engage this beast, not a flippant "Hey, I'll just check this one thing . . ."

So here's an easy 5-point checklist that I'm inventing for myself and inviting you to adopt: five questions, five fingers to count on, five senses to check off to remind us of what's important.

1. Can I see the danger? 
I've called my computer a giant, a dragon, and a beast. All of these have been transformed into heroes by Disney films. (You know you've watched them.) So it's not that the computer itself is evil, but we must recognize its power regardless. It can suck time away. It can be a means to sin--envy, lust, discontentment, laziness, irresponsibility, etc. Therefore, before I sit down and engage the online world, I need to realize my own susceptibility and counteract it. What are my specific dangers for that day and what sites should I avoid?

This made me laugh...because I can relate!

2. Can I hear my family?
Listen. Do I hear my children? Are they unengaged? Do they need guidance or quality time? If I hear a need there I can fill, it is greater than my need online.
Listen. Do I hear my husband? Could he use my help? Would he welcome my company? Being his helper and his home are commands of Scripture. I should go to him.

Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her . . .
~Proverbs 31:28

3. Can I taste dinner?
Have I planned it out? Have I thawed the meat, prepared what I could beforehand? Or, if it's afterward, have I cleaned up the kitchen? That one room in the house can be the epicenter of a household disaster or it can be an oasis. It's amazing how this one meal of the day can cause such stress, isn't it?

4. Can I smell a mess?
The computer is a great escape, but as many ideas as it presents, it will never solve our problems for us. If our houses are messy, the only way they will become tidy is with hard work. Friends, unplug the online life, and plug in the vacuum. We're supposed to create a haven for our families, one that smells sweetly of peace and rest and joy. (A method that has helped me get a grip on the household chores is making a weekly and daily schedule. Maybe try it too?)

The mess can also come from me. As a young mom, maybe this can be taken literally: Have I taken a shower recently? Or maybe I haven't exercised or haven't been still or haven't read a book yet that day. Those voids can leave me messy in body, mind, and spirit. 

5. Do I feel filled with the Word?
Am I coming to the computer before first coming to God? If so, I will be hungry--for something!--and will fill up on snacks instead of good nourishment.

So there they are: five senses to check off on your fingers!
1. Can I see the danger?
2. Can I hear my family?
3. Can I taste dinner?
4. Can I smell a mess?
5. Do I feel filled with the Word?

Well, I hear my children, so it's time to slay this dragon. Until my five senses allow my return...

Abide in Him,

Please share: How do you limit your online time? What are some ways to make our computer-times strategic?

Related articles you may also appreciate:
Unwound from the Web: Five blessings from my time offline
When Social Media Disconnects You
Silence Your Screaming Housework with a List


  1. This is such good advice, Malia. Since I started blogging, I find myself more tempted to check my bloggy stuff than social media, but I have still found that if I am not intentionally online, I will waste much more time than I know.

    1. Oh yes: blog stats! I wish they didn't exist! :)
      Even with these questions to keep me from turning on the computer, I can still sit browsing for longer than needed. I'm considering setting a timer...as time-out-like as that sounds...since it would jerk me back into the real world.
      Thanks for your comment. :)

  2. This is really good! I know it, yet sometimes it's still so hard to do it. 2, 3, and 5 really hit home. Especially the snacks instead of God's nourishment. In the morning when Scott is still home, I like to check email, etc. I guess I feel I'm not neglecting the kids since he is spending time with them. But really, what am I going to read that couldn't wait and it should not come before my time with God.
    After I "hit" publish I am going to go do something useful while the children are asleep.


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