The month of May is Media fast month for our 7 experiment. For the whole month our family is going to turn off screens.
No Netflix. No Facebook. No blog reading. No Wii games. No computer games. No movies. (I don’t have to list “no tv” because we haven’t had regular tv channels in 4 years.)
This is going to be hard. Very, very hard.
Yet, I am excited to see what will happen. The goal of the 7 experiment continues to be “to create space for God’s kingdom to break through.” (pg 4) and I know without a shadow of a doubt that screens take up too much space in the life of our family. I know that I often retreat behind a screen to escape my responsibilities, to waste time, to distract myself. It’s time to stop that cycle and hit the re-set button.
I have removed my Facebook and blog reading apps from my Kindle Fire (which is the only mobile device we have). I have set my computer homepage to open straight to my email and calendar. I have a pile of books waiting to be read. I have a list of projects waiting to be tackled. We have talked to the boys about the project and they are reluctantly on board.
We will check our email. We will use text messaging on our phones. We will use online streaming to listen to music. I will continue to post on the blog. Aaron will use internet resources for his work.
I suspect that this will end up being the most difficult month of the experiment for me. But here we go…
The 7 Experiment has been continuing. I have lots of thoughts about lasts months clothes challenge, but I can’t seem to corral them all into a coherent post. I am working on it though, so it may appear randomly in some other month. This month, April, is the month of “possessions.” The purpose being to get rid of 7 items a day or 210 items for the month.
True confession: This is a piece of cake for me. I love simplicity in my surroundings. I dislike clutter. I am constantly editing our possessions and have a permanent “Goodwill bucket” in our mudroom that I frequently throw stuff in.
True confession: I rarely give when it really costs something to give.
It is easy for me to get rid of stuff and give out of our abundance. We have lots of stuff. I can easily give away 210 items this month and not blink an eye.
As I was thinking about all this I remembered a conversation that happened this summer that stunned me. We were in the initial stages of considering the placement of a sibling group of two. We had started visiting and even dreaming about adding them to our family, even though all the legal wrinkles hadn’t been worked out by DFCS yet. An elder in our church came up to me and offered me a set of bunk beds. I asked him, “If you are not using them we would definitely take them off your hands for you.” To which he replied, “Well, our kids are using them now, but if you need them more we will figure something out.”
That is generosity that humbles me. The kind of generosity that gives of something we are using because someone else needs it more.
I give my time, money and stuff out of my abundance. But I rarely give the time, money, or stuff that I am currently using to someone who needs it more than me. I would like to exhibit that kind of generosity but I rarely do.
That is where I have landed on this so far. A few months ago I would have written about how I “should” give more. But I am not saying “should” anymore. The Holy Spirit is working in my heart in this area and I don’t know right now what that will look like. So for right now I will continue to give out of my abundance and keep and eye open for opportunities to practice giving even when it is a bit painful.
So, I know it is already Monday….
Here is not always easy for me. I grew up a wanderer in and community of wanderers. Every two years, like clockwork, I get the itch to move on. My skin itches to start somewhere fresh.
Yet somehow I am here in this little town. Putting down roots. Making deep friendships. Establishing traditions and patterns and routines.
On Sunday I get an email informing me of the death of a girl I knew in Africa when I was a child. Of course she was grown into a young lady and according to the memories and pictures posted on her website she was accomplished and adventurous. This girl that I played with in the dusty African soil and slept next to in our twin beds at boarding school had gone on to travel the world and impact lives and do big stuff!
All day I am aware of my childhood. The strangeness of it. The different-ness of it. This other life I had that looks so different from the Sunday best, the mini-van, the homeschooling, the comfortable house, the two blonde boys and sturdy husband that mark where I am now. Of course I start to question, is here enough? (Whatever enough is.)
That’s when I realize that no matter where I am, here is always uncomfortable. I never quite fit right. Even though it doesn’t appear that way I am as much a fish out of water here in small town, Southern America as I was in Africa, or suburban Philadelphia, or high school in Holland, or evangelical college on the mountain. And that’s okay. It’s even a gift.
Here, is always enough, because God is here.
I am emerging. I can feel it in my spirit and in my body. My sleep is deep and restful. I wake with energy and anticipation for the day.
I did not realize just how heavy and dark the past few months have been until I started feeling light.
As I release fear and as my body is healing my apathy is lifting.
I am eager to see the world around me. To notice life again. To notice people again.
During the past few months I have clung to the promises of Psalm 139, that it is impossible to be out of God’s presence.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you, the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (v11 & 12)
The light seems brighter now because I sat for awhile in a place that seemed dark. What comfort to know I have felt God’s presence in both the gray and the bright.
Sometimes the moment can’t be pinpointed. There is an event, sure, but then there is an evolution and you realize a few months later that you are different. Life has tilted. You have been broken apart and somehow you have managed to pick the pieces back up. You are still you but the picture is just a bit different. You are softer. You listen better. You judge less. You let go of more. You maybe even dare to believe that your are passionately loved. Receiving love will always bring change.
I am emerging. I am leaving behind fear and performance as my basis for self-worth. I am living life after seeing that I am truly, deeply, passionately loved. It is changing everything…