By the end of summer, I will have spent over 50 days away from home (if you include some nights I was home enough to sleep). However, the weeks away from home were not what I was thinking of when titling this post. Because there were many times that I was home but not HOME.
|Image from freerangestock.com|
The summer progressed. On the days I was home (physically), I had this "feeling" of unrest. Of something that just wasn't quite right. Not in focus. Amidst the many revival and camp services I attended, no one had that "instant formula" that revealed to me what was wrong.
I prayed about it on and off and slowly, in a faint way, it seemed that the Lord hinted at a step I was to take. It didn't quite make sense to me and I couldn't really see how it was the "answer" to my unidentifiable problem.
So, one week, with God's prompting and my parents' encouragement, I took that small, insignificant step: a week off texting and internet (other than some things "business" related). How it was connected to my unrest I really didn't know. The first day passed and I don't want to admit how much my thoughts went towards "Oh I should text--oh...never mind..." or "Let me check on...oh wait, next week..."
As the days passed I began to realize something: how did I EVER have time to text and be online SO MUCH? I barely had enough time to keep up with everything! The answer is simple: I didn't have time. I was stealing it from God and from my family. You don't believe me? Without trying to exaggerate, here are some examples:
*Awakens in morning*
"My devotion time. I need to get it done so I can head outside to help with the house. I wonder if __ replied to my question. What free books are on Amazon today? I should be able to squeeze that in before I head out."
"That was a bummer. Nothing really seemed to stand out to me today. I feel so dry."
"Has it really been three weeks since I memorized a new verse? I'll do that on my way to church this evening."
*Forgets to leave phone (distraction) home*
*Heads to church and back, catching up on texts*
"Aw man! I forgot again! I wasn't going to bring my phone. I'll do it tomorrow."
*Another week passes*
"Amanda, what's for breakfast?"
"Did I really forget about breakfast prep again (for the fourth day in a row)!? How did that happen?"
*Me on device*
Ashlyn: Amanda, look at what I did...and you know what...did you see...can you...and...
Me: Mmhmm...interesting...yeah...okay...no, I don't have time to...
*Me on device*
*Kitchen getting cluttered*
*Breakfast prep forgotten*
*Irritability at siblings or parents for asking me to do things that I knew I should do anyway but just couldn't find the time to do*
*No time for projects*
You get the picture.
These are things that sneak in when we don't realize it and grab hold of our lives (I say "we" because I have seen many other girls and women realize the same thing in their lives). In the past year, my life has drastically changed. Some of the changes have been subtle. Wifi. Facebook. Goodreads. Pinterest. Texting. Yeah. Those things. All of which I have found to be very encouraging and useful at times. But what was it Paul said? "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."(1 Corinthians 6:12)
The Lord showed me that turning my time (unconsciously) to these "other things" actually turned my focus away from Him and my home. By taking a week's break there were two things I realized:
~I enjoyed my family. It was amazing how many little things brightened my day! How many fun things I had time for. Like having a "date night" with my youngest brother, teaching my younger sister how to eat an halved orange ("How did you get to be ten without knowing how to do this?!"), and listening to the chatter of one sibling after another. Things which blessed me--and didn't feel at all like "interruptions" of my day. And you know what? I rarely found myself using the excuse, "No, I'm too busy..."
~After a few days away from distractions (note: it didn't happen right away), my quiet, devotion life was enriched and my focus again turned to the Lord. No longer was it a "task" to be done, but a time of nourishment and guidance.
I know that I have been wordy and if you have read all the way through this you deserve a high-five at the least. :) Why did I write it all? Obviously not to applaud my failures or even small victories. But as a challenge.
Is there something in your life that you need a break from? Something that is pulling your focus away from God and your family? For me, it was texting and internet. For you, it may be something completely different--only you know. Why not prayerfully consider taking a full seven days' break (or more!) and use that time to get refocused? Maybe, like me, you will discover that it is a step needed to bring you back home.