Another confession, another life-changing piece of advice.
I’m going to open up with you about a struggle I brought up in confession just this weekend – that I think many of us deal with.
It sucks our time away from us, and we don’t even notice it until it’s gone.
And often, when we waste time scrolling online, we end up so much more unhappy with the real lives we’re living.
Too much curated perfection.
Too much frivolous content.
Not enough reality.
And then there’s the reasons why we turn to technology.
We seek escape from the hard things we’re going through – but this outlet doesn’t actually help us solve our problems.
And yet, the internet sucks us in and keeps us captive.
It’s designed to do that – and always improving in that area. Facebook and Instagram have been gamified. The likes, the comments, the notifications, they all give us that dopamine hit that keep us coming back for more.
And the next thing we know, we’re spending more time living our online lives than living our real lives.
Our faces are glued to the screen instead of looking at the beloved people around us.
It’s time to take our lives back.
I see it in myself – and maybe you see it in yourself, too.
This weekend, I opened up about my struggle in confession. Man, I love a good confessor! One who will take my sins seriously, who will tell me the hard truth, and push me to grow in the ways I need to.
You are distracted by things you don’t need.
He asked me one question:
Is this something you *need* to do?
Well some of it: yes. I work online – on my blog, and on my social media channels.
When I use my apps, social media, and blog for my work – then they are a tool and a good thing.
They benefit me personally, my family, and the people I connect with.
But those time wasters, nope. That scrolling, that checking in on every notification, that nagging question of who liked what, who posted in the last five minutes, how many people commented, messaged – nope.
The memes, the funny videos, the Facebook fights. Not necessary at all.
And I know the difference.
What he said next both challenged me and empowered me.
You need to cut that out.
You owe it to yourself to eliminate distractions.
You will be much happier with your life – with your family, your children – if you choose to let go of the things that distract you from them.
It’s time to discipline yourself.
He spoke to me as if I have the power to make change, and I realized – of course I do!
Cut. It. Out.
How often do I let my notifications tell me what to do?! But they’re not the boss of my life. They don’t own my time. I do.
I can make the choice to turn off notifications, to delete apps, to schedule certain times to work and then choose not to be sucked in for the rest of the day.
I can turn off my phone if I need to.
Cut. It. Out.
Remove whatever distracts you from living the life God is calling you to. Whatever takes you away, steals your time, distracts you.
You Owe it to Yourself.
You owe it to yourself.
That statement was what convinced me, really. Whenever I have thought about making changes in my social media habits in the past, I’ve thought about how I owe it to my kids or my husband. How my family deserves better.
And they do.
But I didn’t realize that I owe it to myself, too.
Besides the distraction, social media tempts me to comparison. I get this glimpse (and often a false understanding) into the intimate lives of others. I see the bits and pieces they choose to share – and often it looks better than my own.
It appears more desirable than the husband, children, home, schedule, routine that I have.
And it takes away from my ability to enjoy the family and the life God has given me.
Do I want to enjoy my family? My children? My quiet days of loving them, teaching them, providing for them, caring for them?
Of course I do.
Then I owe it to myself to say no to distractions, and to live in the moment.
He told me: You’re beginning to see your family as the distraction. And then you will get annoyed with them, you will resent them.
But you have to see that the other things you’re doing: the scrolling, the time-wasting, those are the distractions. If you stop that, you. will. be. happier.
You owe it to yourself.
It’s Time to Discipline.
It really comes down to the power of choice.
Every thing we do is a choice. Going online, tackling the chores, sitting down and reading to the kids, going to bed early, taking a shower – all of it is a choice.
Sure, some of our choices are limited by the needs of the people around us – especially by the needs of our kids.
But we can choose to run away from our responsibilities, or we can choose to embrace them and enter into the challenge.
It really does take discipline.
It’s going to take a lot of practice saying no.
But, knowing that I will be so much happier if I do – that’s empowering. And knowing that by saying no to distraction, I’m saying yes to fully living my life as wife and mom – that’s motivating.
You can make change.
You have to want it. And you have to will it.
You Will be Happier.
You will be happier with your life if you live it without distraction.
You will be happier with your life if you stop comparing it to everybody else’s lives as seen on social media.
You will be happier with your life if you discipline yourself.
You will be happier with your life if you spend your time on what matters.
Time is really what’s at stake here. We only have a limited amount of it. And once we spend it, we can’t get it back.
Make decisions, every moment, about the way you spend your time. Make decisions that will bring you happiness, decisions that will help you embrace the state of life you’re living, decisions that will help you enter into your vocation.
Don’t let the internet be the thief that steals your life away.
You owe it to yourself to cut it out.
Live the life God gave you.
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