iPad, iPod, iPhone or The Great I AM?
As I embark on this 8 week series titled “Media Mondays“, I have committed to logging my hours on the computer. For the next 8 weeks, I want to live consciously. I want to be aware of how many hours I spend each day on the computer and what in the world am I doing on here? lol! I have a goal of no more than 3 hours a day on-line, which includes drafting my blog posts, social media such as Twitter, Facebook and blog hopping, watching Youtubes or answering emails.
As I step back and look at the media saturated world we live in, I see a commonality. We are a distracted generation. Beeps and chimes make us respond like Pavlov’s dogs! No matter where we are – in the grocery store, church, the middle of dinner or even driving – these chimes make us pick up our cell phone or run to our computer. We hope that something there will make us laugh, give us meaning, makes us feel loved or be that really important piece of information that changes our lives.
Media is a-moral. In and of itself – it is neither good nor evil. It is our use of it that determines it’s morality. Because there is no mention of this technology in the Bible we must leave room for each believer to discern and follow their convictions on their use of media.
But let me mention a few concerns I have.
1. The iPad, iPod, and iPhone can distract us away from the Great I AM. For nearly 20 years, I have woken early in the morning for prayer and Bible meditation – but over the last few years I feel this tug toward my computer in the mornings. I have trouble being still and lingering over the tall glass of refreshing water that the Living Word is! Rather than sipping it slowly, meditating, praying it over my family and friends, I gulp it down because I can hear the chimes – and I know over night things have happened on-line. Once I am on-line the private meditation and conversation that I have with the Great I Am, comes to an end.
2. While God speaks to me on-line through Godly men and women – our generation suffers from information overload. As we seek wisdom on-line (and what a joy it is to connect with amazing men and women of faith!) may we never exchange wisdom for information. Unless we take the time to really contemplate what we are learning, write it down, pray over it, and live it out – much of the information we read will be lost quickly out of our minds as we continue to read more information. We need time for pause, processing and serious consideration. This may mean reading less on-line or choosing just a few voices we listen to so we can take the time to live out what we have learned.
3. We are a speedy and efficient generation. Multi-tasking has become a virtue. But when it comes to our quiet time this is NOT a time to be efficient! We do not want to speed through a 2 minute devotional. We need to give God quality and quantity time.
Tim Challies writes in The Next Story:
We need to be Christians who take time to give sustained focus to one thing – the worship of the living God. He does not call us to sudy his Word or to worship him more efficiently. God calls us to read his Word meditatively, to give it the time and attention it needs – the attention we need – if the Word is to pierce “to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentinos of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
4. Beware – though media seems free it costs you something precious – TIME! Media is designed to pull you in – to make you feel some sort of emotion – “buy me, try me, watch me“. It persuades us. It molds us. It changes our thinking. Let me be honest – It has caused a time famine in my life. And this baffles me because everything around me is SO efficient. My dishwasher washes my dishes while my laundry machines wash and dry my clothes. My car gets me places quickly and my grocery store places chicken in plastic wrap and fruits and vegetables galor can be purchased (rather than me having to raise the chickens or fruit/vegetables). So why do I have this famine of time? I can only attribute it to the time I’ve spent on media – hence the reason that I will be logging my hours for the next 8 weeks.
Have we forgotten the power of the “i” – not the iPad, iPhone or iPod but of the GREAT I AM?
I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35ESV
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12
I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11
I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14;6
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Could our generation be missing out on time with the Great I AM because of the distractions from the iPads, iPods and iPhones?
What is the draw to media for you? Is it for information, wisdom, tips and tutorials, entertainment, connection or other reasons? And what good or bad effects has it had on your walk with God?
Join the discussion: I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section or if you are a blogger – write a post about Media and Your Walk With God, include the Media Mondays button and then link up below. I look forward to hearing from you all and I will be visiting as many link-ups as I can (within my 3 hours a day limit 🙂 )
Courtney – you hit the nail on the head. I definitely see a self-imposed time famine going on at my house. I’m going to pledge to be intentional about my use & start a log. I watch my kids’ time on electronic devices, but justify my use because it’s work or “connecting” with others. Love what you said about not exchanging wisdom for information. So true! Thank you for being bold and sharing your thoughts here. I’m with you!
I’m really looking forward to reading everyone’s thoughts. Good idea, thanks for hosting.
This is so true. One thing I’ve imposed on myself now is that when I go online I tend to check Facebook, twitter and blogs that I feel I can learn from in my walk (such as yours). I also have to say that I have bible apps on both my iPhone and iPad which for me means when I have a few minutes I can stop and read God’s word wherever I am. But I know I am definitely going to remember this post whenever I hear that chime from now on and maybe learn to let it wait a while 🙂
Great post. I’m probably going to come ba ck again and leave another comment. I’ve noticed how I spend a lot of time just sitting, whether it’s in front of the computer or the tv. I’m actually “in between” jobs so it’s even more of a temptation right now. I’m definitely looking for work, but it still leaves an awful lot of free time. You are right about it being a-moral. That is true…I’ve been really blessed to find some great Christian resources and blogs written by awesome Christian women…those have been blessings and have had a good spiritual influence on me. However, I miss the real people time…face to face. does that make sense?
Oh, I can so identify with wanting to check my emails when I wake up in the morning. I want that to change…so that the FIRST thing I have to do, need to do, is read my Bible and spend time with my precious Savior 😉 🙂 I’ll try a log during the 8 weeks, too and see what happens… 🙂
Ok…well, I better get to writing my post for tomorrow. Thans for taking the time to write this 🙂 🙂 Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather 🙂
I just finished writing my post for this a few hours ago (it won’t post to my blog till morning though). I am so excited about this series. Tomorrow is when I start logging my hours and I am anxious to see how much time I really spend connected. While I do not sit for hours at a time at the computer, I am off and on numerous times throughout the day.
We have become such a “connected” people. When our little screen lights up or we hear a ding, we rush to our notifications. But are we rushing to God and His Word?
Facebook can be my biggest time waster but recently since I have started GMG (Good Morning Girls) and book studies with Christian authors, I feel like a lot of my time is being redeemed.
I don’t know if this will help anyone (or hurt) but I do my daily reading on the computer every morning. I go to http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/devotions/chronological/ and listen to the reading in chronological order. I then read the scripture from GMG, use the SOAP method (using a Word document) and then post to my GMG group on Facebook.
In these ways the media has really helped me. Before I had my daughter I would read the Daily Bible in Chronological Order http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Bible-International-Devotional-Insights/dp/0736901981/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310344845&sr=8-1
but when she was a baby she would always want to touch and turn the pages so I found doing it online and listening to it to be a great blessing.
I also am involved with a really wonderful infertility website called Hannah’s Prayer http://hannahsprayer.org/ and have been able to get/give a lot of life changing advice. So for a lot of my on-line activities (even the blogs) I really feel like I am getting a godly perspective and I am challenged a lot more than I have been in many of the churches I have gone to (not that I don’t love my church family).
But with all that said, I do feel the need to edit my time, just so that I make time for my family more.
I’m really looking forward to this series! 🙂
So going to set my own goal. UGH! I feel so dirty from the saturation of media in my life. Really excited about this series because I know it is the beginning of a great change. I ordered the book you mentioned and can’t wait to read it!
Two years ago we gave up Cable / Network television primarily to save money and secondly because we felt the programming was not not appropriate for our children with violence in the news, commercials for enhancement medications, etc. Suddenly it seemed as though we had so much more time. I still had 3 shows that I would stream over the internet but our lives did not revolve around the television and our house was so much more peaceful without that constant noise. Since then, however, we have entered the IWorld with several gadgets. First thing in the am I tap my Ipod to turn off an alarm clock app. My morning study time has also been dwindling to next to nothing. I look forward to hearing more from you!
Wow. So glad I read this…. I have been struggling with this lately and feel like my online time os off balance. I am going to be working on changing that, effective immediately. Thank youfor this convicting and inspiring post.
At a women’s retreat 2 years ago the speaker said, “To God you must look, before you Facebook.” It really hit me. I found myself waking up and heading right to FB. After that I made a commitment not to get on the computer in the morning. Quiet time comes first and with our schedule computer/blogging/Twitter/FB/e-mail comes later in the day. It takes discipline but I feel better when I stick to that plan.
I definitely see the positives about FB and love it! I feel much more connected to family, friends, church people, neighbors, etc. I am an introvert so online social networking is helpful for me. The blog world has helped me in many ways! I look forward to hearing more of what you think!!
My BIG concern is my boys. In 3 years I will have 2 teenagers in the house. We work with teens so I know how much they can be online. I worry about setting the right boundaries for my boys. Please address that issue!!
Hi Courtney, I have only recently started reading your blog, and I wanted to finally comment. Before finding your blog, I was starting to question my time spent online and how it impacts my family, and wanting something to change. I guess the best place to start is to log how long and where I am spending my online time. It’s late morning and apart from feeding my kids breakfast, I’ve done nothing but spend time on my laptop…or phone… I’m afraid to be held accountable! And I’m torn… Torn between the false reality of “online life” and living my own reality. It’s a slippery slope. So, thanks for covering this topic. I’ve started following you on Twitter and look forward to reading what else you have to say (once my kids are in bed, not mid-morning, perhaps?!).
Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts! I have read the first 9 link ups and all these comments and have been touched by the transparency. Much of what others have shared I feel identical to! Time just slip slides away from me on here!!! But what a joy it is for me to connect with my sisters in Christ around the globe! We are in this together! Use media to the glory of God!! We serve the GREAT I AM and He loves you all so much!
YES HE IS!!!! I have to say something positive about all of our technology…that it is through this medium I can reference the Bible, I can get encouragement from christian sisters, and spread God’s word by a click of a button. Amazing. We are so blessed….I completely agree that too much of anything can grow into a sinful tendency-Satan sure does tell us lies. I have also loved being part of GMG’s ..it has helped me tremendously- I feel so connected to a group of other women who also desire to make God first in their lives. Thank you Courtney for inviting me into your world 🙂 I LOVE HIM..and I love YOU! ~Janelle
I think we will find that most of us are all saying the same thing, just in different ways. That just shows that Satan has found a good tool to distract us. It is amazing how many people he is convicting in this area and how many are taking up the cause around the world.
This is so convicting but needed. I took some time away from FB recently as it was really soaking up my time and not only that, I was allowing it to drain my relationship with God. Thriving on the fellowship with the Christians there, and posts there, and discussions there, when it came time to read the bible I was not as nearly enthused or excited like I would be if it was something online. I believe I will start keeping track of my hours on the net too and keep track of what Im doing. Nothing else matters but the Great IAm.
We cut our cabl this month and I closed both my FB account this past week ( I had one for papercrafting and one for my ‘spiritual’ friends and info – including women living well 🙂 ) I also deleted A TON of my favourite bookmarks and have been really careful about what add to the list. I found I was reading all about living a godly life, gaining all kinds of info but I wasn’t actually living it out – I was too busy being online learning and surfing. My house is cleaner and I am using cookbooks I physically own. DH cut his FB the other day too, but I notice he still hasnt found something to replace the screen time and spends most of his home time playing computer games. I haven’t been able to get across yet that I want more time with him doing real life stuff. He works all day an wants down time but there has to be something more real to do. I’m praying : )
When I was a kid we stll did big sunday family dinners and wrote letters to people – and they wrote back! and spent time together as a family- now, no one has time for this despite, as you said, the ease of appliances and life luxuries available. What are we doing with the time we are supposedly saving??
Thanks for the wonderful blogging series. I think this will bless many people. I know it has me. As we guide our children, we forget to put ourselves in check also. I pray that God will give me the strength, wisdom and discipline to use this tool well.
Hey Courtney- great post! For whatever reason your button wasn’t working when I tried to link up my blog, so I just put a link to your site on my post. 🙂 Blessings to you!
Oh Courtney this is so true and such an important thing to be talking about and working on. I think that if we are intentional about limiting our time online we can still reap the amazing benefits of an online culture without sacrificing our time and lives. We must choose the “good parts” of our online world. For example, one thing that I have really loved about getting involved in, in social media, via twitter and Good Morning Girls is the accountability I feel. I am not a morning person, but now I rise up early excited to dig into God’s word. It has helped me so much to see and know that so many other women are following hard after God as well. It is truly inspiring. On the other hand, I need to stay away from facebook. That is a time-waster for me. So I think it is focusing on the things that are spurring you on in your relationship with the Lord and are of true benefit to you. Thank you so much for doing this series Courtney!
Courtney, I have to say that God’s hand must be on what you are writing because my pastor has come up with a “slogan” for this year at our church. “Relationship, not ritual.” What I received in my email today fits exactly with what he has been trying to say. I do spend a lot of time on the computer, but I justified it by saying, “I’m studying for my college classes that are online,” but that’s not always true. I also spent a lot of time with emails and with Facebook. I have even lost at least one good friend over it because I was never around for her – always on the computer.
At church, my pastor is having us watch videos of John Piper and the book Desiring God. I don’t know that I fully agree with what John Piper says. I haven’t heard enough to know yet, but I do know that I would like to enjoy a relationship with God and not just go to church as ritual like I do now.
So, anyway, thanks for the post and the encouragement to do what I know God wants me to do!
Courtney! Your series comes just at the right time for me! I’ve been thinking on such things recently. Thank you!
joyfully serving along side you…
Courtney I am loving this series already! I have been examining myself and my own usage of my time online and then along comes your series! Yay! One thing I just found YESTERDAY was an app that you can use in Google Chrome browser called Timer Tab. Or you just open a new tab with http://www.timer-tab.com/ and it will be a stopwatch for you that will tell you on the tab itself how long you’ve been online! I’ve got it set up so it comes up as soon as I open my browser. I’m loving it and it may help with anyone who is trying to watch their time online! I know it’s already helped me!
So true. I’m guilty of spending too much time on all my devices. I look up recipes, shop, look up phone numbers, email, Facebook. My books are digital, my favorite application is the Bible. I’m so plugged in, it is crazy. It will be difficult to discern what is necessary time online or on the iPhone or iPad to what is frivolity. But I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for the inspiration!
Wonderful message this morning! Courtney I’m a new follower and I have to tell you that your words are hitting home and changing my life in so many ways- its like God used you and your blog to get right to the heart of me! I am certainly not immune to this topic and could probably say that I am a media junkie (ewww to say that). However, my family and I have just recently found a church that we love, my husband accepted Christ and was baptized recently, and I now find us putting more focus into our God-life than most other things. We all have a desire to “connect” and form relationships (our pastor was just preaching this on Sunday); we were not created to be alone, so I think a lot of time its nature calling us to be the social beings we were meant to be. There are limits! Personal interactions with His body is really where I think God was going with that- so if I had to choose the computer or my phone over the church or personal time with God, then my priorities would be sadly out of place! Thank you again Courtney for being transparent and sharing with us where your heart is at and what God is doing in your life 🙂
I really loved point #3…AMEN!
Here too. You can’t multitask your prayers or in any communication in any relationship. Communication is about heart to heart not efficiency.
What a great message – you are so inspiring! It is amazing how much time can be wasted, though it doesn’t feel like it’s being wasted while you are online! But then I look back over my day and regret all I could’ve/should’ve done instead. This post was very timely for me as I had decided last night to make a change in controlling the amount of time I spend on media. Thank you for your wise insights!
Ooops, I totally turn on my computer before I have my quiet time EVERY DAY!! And I still haven’t had my quiet time yet today!!! I did move my laptop from the kitchen table to my desk after reading a post of yours a couple of weeks ago. And it has definitely meant spending less time on the computer. My desk set up actually makes it less comfy to spend much time on the laptop than it did when I had it on the kitchen table. It feels great to spend less time online and get other things done. I loved the extra time I had once I stopped watching TV. But then I replaced that free time with being online all the time. It’s hard when there are so many good websites/blogs out there. I’m still trying to find the perfect balance. One thing I love about the internet is that I can find answers to pretty much any question I have. And I love to learn, so anything I can learn by reading online is fun for me. The internet also allows me to keep in touch with friends who I don’t get to see in person. But again, I need to find a healthy balance.
Well done! I wanted to participate in this series but I really don’t have the time. 😉 lol But I do believe we need to examine where media has gotten us and where it is taking us. The world-wide-web is a good thing but it is also a distratcion from the things that really matter. It is also a shame we don’t seem to know how to live “un-plugged” anymore. Keep up the good work!
I’m not sure if it is just me – but that button isn’t working yet? I was going to add it to my post but just get that “x” instead 🙁
I really enjoyed this post. I have been trying to evaluate how much time I should spend blogging and reading blogs. Thus far I have decided to devide up the blogs that I read in to days of the week and then read and comment on them otherwise I could spend a day reading and commenting. I love following so many of the blogs and learn a lot; but there are more important things to do with my time. I want to give more time to the spiritual parts of my everyday life. Like you I want to see what is happening on-line the first thing in the morning and I need to curb some of these feelings and perhaps spend more time in prayer and scripture study.
Thanks for the thoughts to ponder.
With all of the electronic distractions out there we need to be extra careful to have a quiet space in our lives for God.
A great reminder. Thank you.
I needed this. I’m gonna try to put my thoughts into words and link up!! Thank you for making me think! This is heavy on my heart here lately!!
Are you just logging on paper? I need to set myself limits and be present in each moment!!
Yep,I’m just logging on paper:)
Courtney, I understand that you might not even read this comment, but I want to thank you for being honest and transparent with us. I really, really relate to your first item. I find myself rushing through my quiet time so I can get to my blog, facebook, emails, etc. How sad! Nothing online is as important or vital as my time with Him. Thanks for this reminder!
Oh I read all my comments although I don’t always have time to respond 🙁 thanks for commenting!!!
I do not text, facebook or twitter, however, I do follow several blog posts because they make me feel as though I am part of a larger community of like minded people. My local community does not meet all of my spiritual needs, so I find it very refreshing to meet others and know that I am not alone in my thinking. I understand that the computer can “suck us in” much like a child in front of a TV. Thirty minutes becomes an hour becomes two, four or more. Technology is a tool. It is up to each of us to use it for worthwhile purposes.
…”choosing just a few voices we listen to so we can take the time to live out what we have learned.”
I love this because there is no way we can follow every voice out there. Different decisions for different families and they may not all be the best for your family (or our family).
I believe there is a LOT of godly women teaching wonderful, biblical truths and some decisions are based on their own needs for their own lives. Some have more time than others to blog for whatever reason – that doesn’t necessarily mean I can adopt that practice for my family. For example, work at home moms whose children go to school. My time writing cannot match a work at home mom’s because I am a homeschooling mom first and foremost. My writing time is much more limited and I need to accept that.
This is great information and should be taken to great heart – and put in practice. I know for me, personally, I can go into information overload and forget what it is God has for ME and MY family–because I’m so busy reading about everyone else’s and trying to adopt that.
Awesome Courtney. Look forward to reading more! 🙂 Thanks for being real, friend! Can’t wait to hug your neck at Relevant!
I can’t wait to see you again at Relevant too! Just 3 months woohooo!
It’s startling to me how there is that “pull” first thing in the morning to go to the computer. “What in the world did we DO before computers?!” is often the question to myself, and to my husband who also gravitates towards the computer. There is some comfort to know that I’m not alone, perhaps more surprised at how pervasive it is. This series will be enormously beneficial to so many women including me! Thanks Courtney.
In case it might help someone out…I find I work better (write posts, for example) AWAY from the computer. I use a good old fashioned pen and paper and outline my posts before drafting them on my blog. I find I get so much more done and write better this way.
I don’t get distracted and simply focus better. So maybe try that? I use the SCORRE method and follow Michael Hyatt’s template to help me hash out the ideas.
Thank you for such an honest post — you speak to the reality that each mom now faces and it is drastically different than our past generations have known.
So true and so convicting!!! I have found many pros and cons of media especially the internet and they would all be pros if I was more diligent about my time:)
I really like what yyou guys are up too. This kind of clever work and reporting!
Keep up the amazin works guys I’ve incorporated you guys
too mmy own blogroll.