I’m breaking up with Facebook. And Twitter. And Television. And Bejeweled. And maybe Angry Birds.
Those who know me well, know that I am a bit of a techie nerd. I own 2 laptops, an iPad, and an iPhone. I build websites, I frequent all of the major social networks, and I love playing video games. None of these things, on their own, in moderation, are bad. I am very much pro-technology.
However…I was rereading parts of Tim Keller’s book, “King’s Cross”, yesterday and was massively convicted by the following quote: “After you’ve repented of your sins you’ll have to repent of how you have used the good things in your life to fill the place where God should be.”
I would never consciously try and put something in the place of God–that’s idolatry–but my attention is sufficiently arrested as I consider the time I would win back if I ceased certain online activities.
After being convicted by Keller’s comment, I then came across a quote from Billy Graham that sealed the deal for me. Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham, recently asked his “granddad” for some advice and then posted Graham’s answer on Twitter (ironic, I know): “If I could go back, I would’ve studied and prayed more.”
I’m thinking through Billy Graham’s answer trying to imagine what he put in the place of study and prayer. I’m guessing things like preaching and evangelizing. I then consider where I might find more time for study and prayer and the answer is markedly different: Break from, or massively curb time spent, engaging online social networks and playing video games.
So, for the month of August I’m giving up Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bejeweled, & Television.
I must admit, I am sometimes cynical when I hear about other people “giving up things”. I have a sensitive nose for legalism and I don’t want to trade in my silly indulgences for self-righteous austerity. But if I don’t fill this newly created pocket of time with things that bring me and my family closer to God, then this exercise will have been in vain.
Accordingly, my aim will be to read more, write more, pray more, spend more time with my family in the evening hours and go to bed earlier. As much as I desperately need this lifestyle adjustment, I suspect that my family might benefit from these changes that I am seeking to implement. There were days when my young daughter would follow me onto our front porch with her Bible–to do what her papa was doing. Now, more often then not, she reaches first for her iPod Touch. I suspect she has learned that from me also.
One of my favourite passages within the Psalms reads: “Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps. 73:25, 26).
I long to be able to echo that sentiment by the way I spend my time.
“Technology, I’m sorry. I think we need to take a break for a while. Honestly, it’s not you, it’s me.”