I hate saying it, but the honest truth is that I miss Facebook. I also want to watch a movie and yesterday I wanted to play a video game really bad. I anticipate, starting next month, that I will miss coffee even more. After one month of my three-month-long experiment, removing film, TV, and leisure internet, I have learned much about myself.
For starters I have learned that my default mode, most days, is to watch TV, play video games, and surf the web. It struck me almost instantly how mindlessly routine these habits were for me. I was practicing the exact opposite of what I support here at Christ and Pop Culture (thoughtful media consumption). In a couple of cases I found myself on Facebook poking around only to realize, within seconds thankfully, that I was suppose to be avoiding it. It caught me off guard just how commonplace these habits were for me. Almost like natural impulses in the moment of boredom.
I also discovered that this is much harder in some respects than I thought it would be. I thought three months, while seemingly long, would really fly by. The truth is that after two weeks I was wondering, “Why did you say three months…you idiot!” Some habits are simply hard to break and the desire to return to them, give up, or give in has been hard to resist. This, I think, really says some things about me which I want to probe more deeply.
Lastly, I have discovered that these things which I so love, yet which can be a distraction are not what is keeping me from growing spiritually and pursuing Jesus. Sadly, even after taking them all away I found myself not reading my Bible more and praying more. Instead I was filling those empty time slots with other things. You see it’s not my habits and my activities that are keeping me from studying my Bible and praying, it’s me. I am my biggest hindrance. Thankfully as the month has gone on I have been more intentional about my Bible reading and my prayer time (though the latter still needs special attention), but I had to focus my efforts there and not simply assume that the removal of other distractions would automatically lead to greater spiritual development. Of course I knew this, I am not so naïve (at least I don’t think), but the reality of it hit me hard.
As month two gets ready to start I am anxious to see what the longevity of this commitment will produce. I intend to keep at it, and by the grace of God to realize some better habits of self-control and more intentional spiritual development. The removal of TV, film, video games, and leisure computer access have allowed me a whole host of opportunities to work on other areas of my life: family (this has seen the most immediate change), friendships, and personal studies. I am grateful for these changes, even while I miss some of my old habits. Time will tell the progress I make, and if this was even worth it. For the moment I will ponder all these things and what they mean for me personally…and occasionally I’ll still ponder what you’re status update says.