Monday, February 11, 2008

lenten season

I've longed recognized my addiction to the internet. More than anything else, I can easily spend hours on the internet, especially late at night. I'll get online, "just to check my email," and the next thing you know, hours have passed, looking at facebook pictures of acquaintances I barely know, reading up about movies on, looking up random facts on wikipedia, reading some of my favorite online comics. Often, these are hours when I should be sleeping or studying or anything more productive. Sometimes, the things I do on the internet aren't just wasteful, but are actually harmful to me. Things like looking at an ex-boyfriend's facebook profile when I'm feeling lonely. Other things too, things that aren't good for my mind, soul, or emotions. And the internet never satisfies. I'm always hoping for one more message, one more comment, one more discovery that will be so satisfying, that I can log off and do something else. But even if the internet gives me that, it always leaves me wanting more. I'm never satisfied by the internet like I am reading the Bible, or a good book, or spending time with a good friend, or watching a good movie.

In the past, I've tried to do somethings to address this addiction. Senior year of high school, I gave up AIM for Lent, and two years ago, I gave up Facebook for Lent. I've tried to limit myself, telling myself that I can only go to certain websites one time a day. When my computer battery was newer, I'd sometimes just unplug it, and use the internet until the battery went dead, which was usually within an hour. Lately, I've been thinking about how freeing it would be to not have the internet in my home at all. Spurred on by Ben's post and our comments, I decided to try this for a week - pretend like there's no internet at my home. I can only use the internet at work, or if I go to a coffee shop with free wi-fi. This was a great week. I slept better, read my Bible more, got more studying done, and was late less often. I felt happier and healthier.

With the success of that one week, I've decided to try this again for the season of Lent. Since Ash Wednesday until Easter, I'm giving up using my internet at home. I can check my email and do my thing every weekday at work, and on Saturdays I can go to a coffee shop to study and use the internet. Sunday is the day for breaking the fast, so if I want to use the internet at home on Sunday, then I will. Of course, if I need to use the internet to work on something school related, then I will. I hope to continue blogging at least once a week, and reading your blogs, but if my comments are late or absent, then it's nothing against you and your writing.

I'm really excited about this, more excited about this than any other Lenten fast that I've participated in. I know it'll be challenging, but I already feel more free.

For my other friends who are also participating in Lenten fasts, then I wish you the best and I will send you my prayers.


if walled in climb up said...

That sounds like a very good, reasonable goal. I've been wondering lately how many hours of my life I'll end up mindlessly wasting on the internet. Good luck with your fast!

By the way, I think I owe you a phone call. Please forgive the tardiness--school's been picking up a lot lately. But I hope to catch up very soon, and really appreciated your sweet message!

if walled in climb up said...

The lady's hair was the coolest for its color, but also because it was long. I don't think the color would be as stunning on short hair. I just redyed my hair REALLY RED. Like, Hot Damn Red! It's a bit scary, but also edgy and I like that.

The visualization exercise is called grounding. I suspect that it probably works depending on how much you believe it will--kind of a placebo effect. But I like to think that the mind is far more powerful than we give it credit for, especially related to health. Isn't it true that people often experience unnecessary pain in seemingly unrelated parts of their body when they are severely depressed? I think that when you visualize something powerfully, you are in a way giving yourself permission for it to come true. I wonder what the health implications would be if we simply gave our bodies permission more often to heal ourselves? If we gave ourselves permission to be happy?

Martha Elaine Belden said...

i totally hear you on the internet addiction. i feel pathetic when i realize how much time i spend on the internet. perhaps i should adopt this... even though lent is already well into the season.

it snuck up on me this year... suddenly i was reading about people's lenten fasts, and i was like "oh no! i haven't thought of anything" ... i should try this, too!

good luck to you :)

Cara said...

You already know how great I think this is. Giving up Facebook has been so freeing for me. Inspired by you, I think I may try to give up using the internet in my room in the weeks to come (typed, again, from my bed - hah!).