Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Thief

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
John 10:10

There is a thief in my house...

A thief that robs me of my time...

It promises me peace, and happiness, and fulfillment...for a price.

It wants "just a minute...maybe 2...or 10,"
and then, the afternoon is gone.

Yes, there is a thief in my house.

It steals my energy and my joy, and leaves me with disconnected relationships and chaos.

It says to my precious children, "Not right now, sweetie, Mom's busy,"

It says of the housework, "That can wait,"

And it says to my dear, hard-working husband, "I'm afraid dinner will be late,"
and "Don't worry, I'll hand deliver that bill tomorrow,"
and, "I'm sorry...I forgot."

There's a thief in my house, and I've let it in.

That thief is the internet.

There, I said it.

But, here's the thing...

It doesn't have to be a thief.

If I can tame it...control it...master it rather than allowing it to have mastery over me,
it can be a very useful tool.

"'All things are lawful for me,' 
but not all things are helpful.
'All things are lawful for me,'
but I will not be enslaved by anything."
1 Corinthians 6:12

So, what's a mama to do?

If I'm going to be obedient to God in my responsibilities to Him, my family, and my home, while also continuing in this ministry I have of writing online, something has to change.

And so, I have new rules:

1. I will not turn on my computer in the morning before I have read my Bible.

2. I will do a general email check only twice per day--once in the morning, once at night. 15 minutes each. If a more lengthy response is needed to any messages, I will make a hand written note of it, and tend to it during afternoon rest time.

3. I will not go on Facebook unless the children are in their beds.

4. If I need to use the computer during the day (for example, to print out copywork or look at my checking account balance), I will do so without looking at other websites and will limit myself to 5 minutes. I will set my timer.

5. I will compose all blog posts on paper first, so I can be more involved with my children as I write. I will type out my blog posts during afternoon rest time, after bedtime, or first thing in the morning, before the children wake up.

6. Once rest time is over, I will shut down my computer until after the children are in bed for the night. (*Note: My husband leaves for work insanely early in the morning, and therefore, is usually in bed before the children. If he happens to be awake, this time belongs to him.)

7. Whenever possible, I will call a "real life" Titus 2 friend when I have a question before posting on a message board. I will think three times before entering online conversations. "Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger." James 1:19

8. When I am overwhelmed, I will take a deep breath, take my supplements, and take my anxieties to the LORD. I will replace "escaping to the internet" with "prayer without ceasing".

OUCH. That was hard.

So, what does this mean to you?

Well, for one thing, it means you won't hear as much from me on Facebook. That's probably a good thing.

Hopefully it means I will actually be a better blogger. Writing things out longhand, combined with limiting my time "in front of the box", might mean that I'll write more and better content. So often, I sit down at the computer to write and end up spending an hour doing anything but writing.

So that's where I'm at. 

These rules may need some tweaking over the next few weeks, as I bring this area of my life into obedience to Christ, but it's a beginning.

By His Grace,


P.S.--Do you have any internet "rules" for yourself? If so, what are they? I'd love to hear about them.


Angie said...

I need some rules! I have to admit, when your business is internet based, like both of ours seem to be, it can be very hard...but not impossible! We just need to be responsible with our time. You are so right, and I'm going to take your rules to heart, and see how I can apply some of them to myself. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This has been on my heart too.
My rules are-
Quick email check first thing in the morning and after the kids bedtime. No computer AT ALL when the kids are awake. (I tried to limit myself but decided I do not have the self control at this stage.)
AND I've just quit Facebook. That was really hard. It was something I knew I had to do for ages but kept putting it off. It has been a real blessing!

Nina said...

I don't have internet rules but keep saying I need them. I think I'll be copying yours and putting them up in a few places :)

Amanda Kaylon said...

I have an internet ministry, as well, and I am working to adjust my writing schedule to gain efficiency and lose distractions, so this post was very timely. Your phrase "and I've let it in" described the problem exactly. I know that I'm responsible for my own time, but *taking* responsibility is extremely difficult.

My rules (thus far - definitely a work in progress) are a bit different from the ones you gave, because my temptations are a bit different. My main distractions are research and online reading of "helpful" articles. I have found that it is important for me to distinguish between the good and the *worth-my-time-during-this-season*. Is extra research going to make my writing better? Maybe. But if I could have written two less-researched articles in the same time, might my ministry be better served by cutting back on my research *for this season*? And while theology blogs and Titus 2 blogs may be extremely helpful, generally, if I'm spending more time reading about prayer, Bible-study, good works and housekeeping than I am in doing them, I probably need to set aside some of the reading for a while. I'm still working on getting my priorities straight, but that is the little I've figured out so far. Now... about actually implementing it.

Michelle said...

Wow- those are great rules! I might borrow some ;)

Andrea said...


I've been reading your blog for quite some time, but have never commented before. I enjoy your insight as a fellow Christian wife, mom, and homeschooler. So first of all, I want to say thank you for your ministry at this blog and others too.

I had a problem with the internet consuming too much of my time during my last pregnancy and following it too. It was my escape from life in many ways. One thing I finally had to do was delete my Facebook account June 2010, yes very hard but something I had wanted to do for a long time. That helped me a lot and it gave me more time to have real live interactions and phone calls with my best friends in the whole world and be REAllY present with my children and husband at home. My rules right now, though sometimes broken (and not a good thing to be broken) include no internet in the mornings because then schoolwork and chores gets pushed off and everyone suffers. I only check emails quickly during our short breaks in the day and try to respond to lengthy emails later after the kids having free time after schoolwork or are in bed. I also try not to use the internet, or any screens (like TV) immediately before bedtime (it interrupts my getting to sleep) so I try to wrap it up before 9pm. I also don't comment on many blogs or get wrapped up in discussion groups. The hardest and most tempting part for me is to get engrossed in responding to someone through email for our homeschooling group and waste too much time on it during the day because it's "necessary" and I enjoy doing it. My husband and I have already discussed considerably paring down our role in that group in the coming year, because it is too hard on our family.

Again, thanks for your honesty and challenges.

Anonymous said...

This hits the heart of my issues. The internet and computer are my idol right now. I know I am in sin and I struggle so much with this.

I had left FB for 3 months but felt so disconnected with everyone. Even people at church, I knew more about them from FB than talking to them in person. I would ask how they were and get a polite answer that they were fine. But with status updates, I had more to talk about like how that lasagna was that they tried or what kind of deals they got shopping. So I came back and my husband just asked yesterday if my time was increasing. I was just a little bit defensive.

Amanda said it so well "And while theology blogs and Titus 2 blogs may be extremely helpful, generally, if I'm spending more time reading about prayer, Bible-study, good works and housekeeping than I am in doing them, I probably need to set aside some of the reading for a while". I also do a lot of research on stuff that will make me a better wife, mother and teacher but it is at the sacrifice of my family. This has been an ongoing struggle for a few years now.

My husband has even password protected our computer for a time and I have put blocks on the internet but just find another browser to find my way around it. I need SERIOUS I am being robbed and I have freely opened the door to this thief.

Theresa said...

I struggle with it too Tiana. I think it is great to have rules in place as to when the computer will be on. I get on to look something up and next thing you know the time is flying by.
Your PW friend,

Anonymous said...

This is AWESOME. I haven't set any hard & fast rules...but have some general guidelines, much the same as yours. First off, absolutely no screen-time till I've had God-Time. And I have certain days of the week that I don't get online at all - so only deal with emails 3-4 times per week. I write/post once a week - if that much. And the day I work on writing is also the day I do any site work or updating, linking to others, etc.

Anyway - your 'rules' are REALLY good food-for-thought - and will help me continue taming the internet beast!!

SarahElisabeth said...

Thank you for this-food for thought. Hope it is OK to link to this.

Tiana said...

Absolutely, Sarah! Thanks for visiting, and link away!



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I'm a Stay-at-Home, Christian, "crunchy" mama. I have been blessed with the calling to be a godly wife and mother. I am passionate about bringing up my children in the discipline and instruction of the LORD, through home education and discipleship. Helpmeet to my best friend and soulmate, Christopher since 1/29/2000, and mama to four little blessings, including a tiny, precious, newborn baby girl.

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Bible--Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos, Apologia Biblical World View Book 1, "Who is God and Can I Really Know Him?"
Catechism-- "Training Hearts, Teaching Minds" by Starr Meade
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Handwriting--Bible Copywork, made using Educational Fontware
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