Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Technology Curfews

Most of you that read my blog with any regularity at all know that we finally followed God's leading in our lives and tossed out the TV.  OK---not literally.  However, we no longer have cable and don't watch "traditional"  TV.  We do, however, watch family shows (REAL family shows----not the world's standard of "family" shows) on the Wii with streaming redbox.  Best part, NO COMMERCIALS!  We have not for ONE second regretted it.  Our lives have been blessed by following God's lead.  I only wish we had listened to His prompting the FIRST time, instead of wrestling with Him over it for so long. 

He didn't leave us right there for long before He started us down another path.  Technology limits.  Ouch---this one hurts.  I am one of those that has my phone out surfing the web, checking in on facebook, reading emails, texting, you name it---ALL BEFORE I EVEN GET OUT OF BED and then into the wee hours of the night.  (Yes, Hearts at Home speaker Michelle Cushatt---I admit to being one of "those"---and hang my head in shame!).  God had already been dealing with me on many levels about making a break from it, but the "God Infusions" with Michelle really pushed my last button and fully got my attention.

You see, I lived with the LIE that because I was getting EVERYTHING done, it didn't matter how much time I spent "connected".  Kevin jokingly laughs that I get more done for our family in two hours than most people can in a full day.  That is actually true----I'm the multi-tasking extraordinaire.  I'm always on the look out for ways to do things smarter and faster.  My time "connected" wasn't preventing me from taking care of what was important.  Therefore, I hooked into the misconception that it wasn't wrong or dangerous.  If I'm taking care of everyone, then what is the harm?  Just this weekend someone visited our home and was CONVINCED we had a maid because of how clean our surroundings are.  We live active, full lives with QUALITY and QUANTITY time together.  What harm was I doing in being connected on hyper-drive? 

The brain doesn't slow down.  I'm in fast forward mode from early in the morning until 2-3 AM.  My brain only was getting a 4 hour shut down most days.  After Kevin and the kids were asleep, my fingers and eyes were GLUED to the computer screen.  Nothing I was doing, looking at, or searching was wrong.  As a matter of fact, it was most often EXCELLENT things---devotionals, encouraging blogs, etc...  Things that I thought were refueling me for the next day.   Much of the other time at night was playing logic/card games to unwind or keep my mind sharp (that was the excuse I was giving myself!). 

But here is the TRUTH.  It was masking.  It was masking the silence I knew I needed.  I REALLY did (and still do at times) have a problem with TRULY stopping and slowing down.  That is a lesson that I'm learning and it won't happen overnight.  My addiction to technology has fueled that immensely. 

So we made a decision to try something different.  ALL technology of ALL types now has a curfew in our home.  That doesn't just apply to the kids.  It's for ALL of us.  That means no TVs, radios, iPods, PHONES, laptops, etc...  When the clock hits that certain time, they ALL go off----no matter what we are working on.  They don't come back on the next morning until I am physically out of bed and going.  Weekends may or may not work differently, we haven't decided.  If I TRULY need to work on something past the curfew (something in regards to the kids education, finances, staying in touch with a family member), then Kevin and I both have to agree that it is important.  Accountability. 

I admit I was the one that had the most trouble the first night.  I did it BOLDLY and deliberately to be an example, but it wasn't easy.  However, just like with the TV---by the second or third day I was wondering why on earth I had waited so long.   Last night I knew I had REALLY turned a corner.  I turned everything off EARLY.  The clock hadn't hit the shut-off hour, but because I am paying more attention and being deliberate I hit that "point" well before the clock did.  I listened to myself for once!

The result:  my brain IS slowing down enough at night to go into a much deeper, more refreshing sleep.  In my quiet time with God (which I was already doing on a daily basis) I was able to be more focused and much more able to "listen".  I look forward to that getting better all the time.  Science IS correct in the fact that the "blue screen" does interfere with the production of melatonin. 

What I've discovered is that though my reliance on technology for everything WASN'T harming anyone, it was harming me.  It didn't matter that I was able to take care of everyone's needs while I was hyper-connected.  My needs were suffering.  My brain needed the "off" button, my world needed a slow-down!  I can hardly wait to see what happens in future weeks as the slow down continues!  I anticipate the joy of being able to HEAR God more audibly because the background noise will be less!  THAT is a God-infusion I look forward to.

You know what surprises me most?  All those "things" that I NEED from technology are STILL getting done in the shorter time frame.  I even still have plenty of time goofing off online doing things that AREN'T necessary.  Things aren't being neglected.  It's amazing.  I'm finding MORE time to write blogs and read numerous blogs, communicate with friends & family-----all in LESS time.  The math doesn't line up for me (and I'm a logical brained person that looks for patterns), but I'll take it. 

So tonight, you won't see glowing screens in our home----instead you'll see me curled up in bed with an excellent book and my trusty, favorite pink highlighter (which is running dry these days).  After all, reading has always been my true passion.  Better yet, you will probably even find me tucked under Kevin's chin snuggled in his arms sound asleep (OK----at least until I have to roll him over to stop him from snoring!) and it will be well before midnight these days.  Something else may happen in the future....those curfews my increase to days instead of hours.  It MAY be possible after all!

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