After 9:30 p.m. Mommy Needs a Time Out

My daughter emerges from her room at 9:30 p.m.

It is now more than an hour past bedtime.

Showers have been taken.  Teeth have been brushed.  I have reviewed my daughters’ Scripture memory verses for the week, prayed with them, read them the Bible passage for the night, kissed them on rosy cheeks and sent them merrily to bed.

Or something like that.Photo by Ruud Morijn;

But she re-emerges at 9:30 to tell me a play-by-play account of the book she is reading.  She is a detail person.  I’m pretty sure she is telling me exactly what occurs on each page of this 200-page book.

At first, I nod patiently and politely.  I do, after all, love her.  And, I do share her passion for reading.

Moms should be good listeners.  Moms should make sure their children feel heard and understood.

After a while, though, I hug her close and slowly nudge her back to the bedroom while she is still giving a steady stream of book-narration, and I promise to listen more tomorrow.

Because seriously, it has been loud in my house tonight.

I have helped with homework for 3 children, fed and diapered and carried the crying baby around the house, made dinner, cleaned up dinner, packed lunches, supervised piano practice for 3 kids, sent 3 daughters in for showers and bathed one baby, combed tangles out of hair, folded laundry, read books, brainstormed ideas for a project on Ponce de Leon, prepped backpacks for the next day, laid out the outfits for tomorrow morning, signed agendas and math logs and reading logs, and threatened older children with punishment for any further bedtime delays.

You know, what moms do at night.

At one point, I had a baby crying, a child watching YouTube videos with bracelet-making instructions, one child practicing the piano, and one child asking me to quiz her on Life Cycles because her science test is in two days.

I know you all probably think when I’m in my minivan, I like to blast that worship music right loud and sing at the top of my singing lungs.

But you’d be wrong.

If I have the luxury of just 10 minutes in a car without a child talking to me, I turn the radio off.

O-F-F

Off.

Because, some times, a soul just needs some quiet.

Jesus knew it.  After days of constant ministry, a needy mob following them around incessantly, clamoring for help and help and help all the time help, the disciples needed a change:

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31 NIV).

A quiet place.

Jesus knows we need that some times.

And it’s not just a break from noise we need.

We also need to come away with Him.

We need to not answer those e-mails, or check that Facebook, or answer that phone.

Our souls need beauty and filling up after relentlessly pouring out to others.  We need Jesus and yet so often we choose to fill that void with anything and everything else.

But as Shellie Rushing Tomlinson writes in Heart Wide Open:

He will ruin you for anything else this world has to offer.  However, it is a sweet ‘ruination,’ because the weaker the hold temporal things have on us, the freer we are to lose ourselves in the One who placed eternity in our hearts.

And here’s the hard discovery, that sometimes when I finally sit in relative silence, it rocks my restless soul more than any amount of noise.

That’s when I know I’m an addict, needing that next fix of adrenaline as desperately as others feel the shaking need for another drink.

I’ve become addicted to the rush of activity, addicted to the pride of feeling needed, addicted to the super-hero powers of rescuing people from crises all….day….long, addicted to noise and distraction and busyness.

So, that quiet falls uncomfortably on my shoulders.  I fidget.  I feel the need to hop up at the slightest distraction.

In my 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I am taking time to Unplug in March, taking days off of Facebook, off of Twitter, and away from television, and this takes discipline.

I find sometimes that the quiet (in the rare moments when there actually is quiet) is awkward and uncomfortable.

And I find some times that the quiet is refreshing like an ice-cold lemonade after a couple of hours of yard work.

Either way, this is what I know—the quiet is what this soul needs.

Are you taking time to Unplug in March?  How is it going?

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Unplug’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

 

Social Media Fasting and 5 Ways to ‘Unplug’

Social Media

One day a week, the earth manages to keep revolving right along on its axis without me.

It’s a blow to my pride, perhaps, but surely that’s the point.

I began a once-weekly social media fast a little over a year ago. The constant connection, constant pull, constant noise, constant interaction of this always-online world was crushing my introverted writer’s heart.

So, once a week I shut it down and shut it out. It’s a way of fasting, going without so I can re-focus on God.  I have the time then to be still and rest in His presence, time to enjoy family and beauty.

And, I miss out on a crisis or two of Facebook drama.

But the world goes on.

I’m reminded that:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-4 ESV).

He may have been talking to Israel about golden calves and bronzed images, but I know this means electronic gods, too.

This world has become so noisy and information-heavy.  How would we even know if God is speaking to us?  We’re far too busy and surrounded by noise to notice.

John Piper said, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that our lack of prayer was not from lack of time.”  He called social media the acceptable addiction of our modern society.

Facebook?  Twitter?  The Internet in general?  Texting?  We shrug these addictions off as simply the way of things in this modern world.

So I rebel against modern convention.

I unplug and walk away and let the world keep going right along without my heavy-handed involvement.

This month, I choose to be more purposeful about this social media fasting.  In my 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I choose in March to ‘unplug.’

I’ll continue my social media fasting and intentionally fill that space with Him.  I will linger in His Word, enjoy His creation, rest with my family, read a good book, bake some bread, knit a scarf, play a game with my kids.

I will unplug from the noise and plug in to the essentials and what really matters.

On the warm days, I’ll pack my baby into the stroller and stride down the Main Street of our town.  Without a smart phone or texting plan, I will revel in the quiet.  I will think, pray and notice the beauty of the clouds, the flowers, the trees all over again.

Maybe this month you can join me in choosing to unplug at least one day a week? Here are some possibilities:

  1. Social media fast:  One day a week (or more), leave Facebook and Twitter and the world of social media alone.  Replace that time with something soul-filling.  Walk, pray, read, rest, play, build relationships face-to-face.
  2. Bible Before Computer: Put your Bible over your computer keyboard at night so that in the morning, you are reminded to read the Bible first before getting online.  You’ll be much more successful at this if you have to physically remove your Bible before typing on the computer!
  3. Put the Phone Down: Choose times to give the smart phone or texting a rest.  Maybe: No texting during meals.  No smart phone during Bible studies, in church or during your quiet time.  Set a goal and then stick to it.  People can wait an hour for you to text them back.
  4. Set a Timer: The Internet has a way of sucking us in and taking far more of our time than we intend (or maybe admit!).  Try setting a timer for how long you want to be online.  When the timer dings, you know to stop.
  5. Take a day off of television: Turn off the TV.  Choose a worship CD or Pandora radio station with worship music and enjoy some alone time or family time without the television.

Perhaps you’ll be surprised at how hard this really is and that’s a good discovery.  It means you’re rooting out that addiction and that idolatry and that’s painful.  It burns deep to deny our flesh.

But we’ll be drinking deep of what truly satisfies, the Living Water that our parched souls are panting after, instead of trying to quench our spirit thirst with brine.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NIV

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
Psalm 42:1 NIV

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Unplug’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King