What I’m about to reveal may not be as “juicy” as you were hoping in a public confession of sin, but it is my sin none the less and a tragic response to a God who deeply loves me. One can not claim to be “sold out” for someone, unless there is a willingness to sacrifice and the one thing I was un-wiling and even slightly unable to sacrifice is my consistent desire to be “on-call” or “connected”. I enjoy being available, even on my days off because it gives people access to me and I to them. I feel good about the reality that people can reach me when they need to and I’ve not really put boundaries up around calling times or calling days…nor messaging (text of Facebook). In effect, I’ve been robbing God and my family from time where I am truly “present”.
Four months ago for Lent, God asked me to delete the Facebook app from my phone, so I would remain less connected. I did so, but quickly found a loop hole where I could still check Facebook on the web browsing app. I should have felt conviction over this but in all reality I didn’t. Although the Facebook app remained deleted until the end of Lent, the purpose was not fulfilled and I was disobedient. I will not wallow in shame over this, simply I am convicted of the sin I’ve committed.
A few things have been continuously bringing the heat of conviction on this issue, my wife, my quiet time with the Lord and a random call from a pastor I barely know. Let me explain. My wife has consistently asked and sometimes pleaded with me that I put parameters up about my “connected time” so, when I am off and with the family I am fully present, not distantly off in social media land or on a phone call when I am to be there. I’ve attempted to develop some set of boundaries but they have not been defined well at all. In my quiet times, I’ve read three books (Pathways to the King, Mansions of the Heart and God in my Everything) that deal with setting rules and rhythms for silence and solitude, shutting out the noise so I can truly be a listener to God. God has been shouting to me through these books to just build a rule and a rhythm to my connectedness so I can be present with Him as well. Finally, on Monday, June 16th, I had a phone call from a pastor whom I am “tag-team” speaking with in July. I called him later than I said I would because it was a Monday and I am off on Mondays. I needed to put the kids down for nap and it all happened later than I expected. He then gently tried to let me off the hook for planning since it was my day off. I laughed it off but was truly convicted in my heart that he was right and this was not what I should be doing with my day off.
In the book God in my Everything, the author described a rule he developed for his Sabbath, where he would unplug for 24 hours every week. This rule hit home with me. Hilary and I are walking through this book together and we discussed this issue last night and we began discussing how to develop such a rule for our lives (more importantly mine). This morning, God would not let me go until I developed with him a few rules of my own life that are for my own health. Many of you reading this may think God is harsh and just wants control but trust me, that is not the case here. My connectedness has gone the way of addiction and is no longer healthy for me. Twitter is fine, I can post and let it be but when I post to Facebook, it’s rough. I wrote in my journal today: “The problem with Facebook [for me] is not “posting” but continuously checking back for validation“. So, in response to God’s pressure as well as my sanity and my family’s ability to have me present I’ve developed three “Rules for Tech”. I share them here, so no one wonders why I’ve changed my availability and no one feels as if they are being rejected. I simply needed to finally give into the Master on this one. So, below are my new rules of life.
RULES FOR TECHNOLOGY:
#1- No Facebook on my phone- not even through the web browser
#2- No phone on Sundays from 5pm-Mondays at 5pm so I can have a real, 24 hour sabbath. (Exception clause- unless there is a Sunday night event, then the 24 hour period adjusts to when that ends)
#3- No phone past 9pm on Family Nights (more than likely it will get earlier as time progresses) *Exception clause- unless it is family or a TRUE emergency*
Having this rule established in my life, and publicly sharing it I believe will help me to better be accountable to them. I know this is what God Himself is asking of me.
Do you find there is a need for a rule in your life? If so, what?