For the month of February, I have severely reduced my media intake by cutting out TV, Facebook, and Twitter and reducing internet, music, and iPhone ap use (For those of your familiar with 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, I’m doing media month along with Justin, my sister, and some friends). It has been an amazing time of the Lord speaking and revealing Himself, and although I feel a little disconnected from people, I have also made some incredible connections.
For example, tonight I spoke on the phone with a woman from Indiana who is helping start a school in Ethiopia, and who the Lord allowed me to “meet” through my blog. Incredible. I have a feeling as this relationship continues to develop, I’ll be blogging about it (A chance to help love, support and encourage little school kids in Ethiopia? I know about 87% of you will be ALL over it with me). That’s pretty amazing, right?
I’ve found that although I can’t FB stalk people I love – I can pray for them and that helps me feel connected. A friend going through an insanely difficult trial, friends experiencing great difficulty with one of their children, friends adopting from China this week, and another friend adopting a sweet baby girl domestically that was fraught with uncertainty until the Lord moved and opened doors – all chances for me to join with these people in prayer. I’ve tried to pray for friends when they come to my mind and heart and I miss them, instead of logging on a leaving them a wall post, like I would have done pre-media month. I will confess that I have “cheated” a few times and logged on because I didn’t realize how many people I only communicate with through Facebook, even to the point that I don’t have their phone number and email in my contacts. I must get better at transitioning Facebook friends to real friends. Some of you may start getting random phone calls from me in an effort to do that. 🙂
During this month I’ve read so much and studied and gotten clarity on some things, and dreamed of big God things and started to pray for the Lord to do more through me than I could do on my own without Him. I’ve said before that the Lord works in my life by stringing together little threads and this past month has felt more like three months as dozens and dozens of threads have come together to show me that He is working out something amazing just under the surface of my seemingly mundane life.
I’m telling you – the men in the Bible who advocated fasts weren’t just trying to make us miserable – something special happens when we do with less to leave room for God to speak. He is definitely speaking.
And not only to me – He’s speaking to my kids (who have watched a tiny fraction of TV this month compared to “normal”). So they’re playing more and asking more questions and having more fun, really. And I, not being as distracted, am listening to their questions and responding. I have loved it. Grace is really processing the idea of Jesus (she’s like me – such a little processor) and she’s trying to figure Him out. These are a few of the hilarious things she’s said this month:
“Mommy – if Jesus is in my heart but He tries to come out, will he break my throat?”
“Mommy – how can Jesus be in your heart and my heart at the same time?”
“Mommy – how can we hear Jesus talk because He is WAY down in our hearts and our ears are up here?”
Today, she wanted me to show her pictures of our blood and our hearts from my anatomy textbook because we’ve been talking about blood after Bekah cut her leg. I’m the kind of mom who thinks that is fun – so I broke out my book and gave them both a little anatomy lesson. So Grace is looking at a picture of the heart, and she says, “OK, then where is Jesus in this picture?” and looked up at me with those big blue eyes.
“Uhhh. Well honey that’s hard to explain… Anybody hungry?”
Yep – it’s pretty much Stump the Mommy all day everyday at our house. But it’s sweet too. It reminds me that we accept Jesus at the level we understand. She doesn’t have to understand all of this (How can she? God is so big none of us fully can). But in her own little way, she trusts. She believes. She loves Jesus. It makes me so happy and hopeful for her.
It also makes me want to hold her and tell her that I don’t understand all of this God stuff either, sweet girl, but we’ll learn together. I don’t understand what God will do with us in the future, but I know He’s good. I don’t understand how my heart for kids and my heart for Africa and our heart for the Lord all will come together – but I feel assured that they will.
All of this stuff makes me excited for the future. It makes my hope rise. I’m excited to see all of the threads come together into a picture when He allows it. I just hope that after this month, as we add media back into our lives, that we will remember to leave time for silence, for learning, for listening to the Lord and our kids, for prayer, for thinking, and for studying. I don’t want the noise of our world to drown out what really matters.
Because although I do love TV (Downton Abbey, anyone?) and Twitter and Facebook, it’s all so loud and so predominately silly. There are redemptive aspects, of course, but it’s easy for me to allow it to suck away hours and hours and hours in insignificance. And I think that’s the lesson of this month. There are important eternal things I can do with my time if I’ll allow them in. Looking into my kids’ eyes and discussing anything – that’s big. Praying through something hard and interceding with passion – that’s real. Reading eternal truths and attempting to apply them – that can change me.
So I think that’s the lesson of the silent pause I’ve been on in February (and it’s only been about half-silent really – imagine if I was more disciplined to cut out all media!) If any of you want to join us in the rest of our 7 experiments, send me a note. Month one has been fun and it’s been great doing them together to encourage as we go.