Being an internet addict who like others is constantly in close proximity to electric sockets, the last thing one would expect to come to my mind was the dreadful thought of taking a break from using the only thing that apparently makes life easier for me. Yet, this didn’t end only as a thought – but went on to become a decision as well. One I would eventually not back out of. Quite strangely, “evolution took a step back” – if you know what I mean – for me. This was for me, like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgey attempting to reach the summit of Everest -the highest mountain on earth – as men first to do so in the early 1950s, I didn’t know what to expect during this hiatus. As the air gets thinner the higher you go, so does it also get melancholic the farther you go back in time. Perhaps. Have I already forgotten the lesson: Look before you leap? Perhaps, I had been preparing for an early termination of the mission and then just feel good about myself for at least trying. But did it? Well, to my own surprise. I must confess, I couldnt keep off hundred percent but one would find it easy to forgive me if you got to know I only had to put on my data connection for about 30 secs every morning for the sake of tracking my [Bible] reading activity (tells me, it’s been 50 days after accidentally resetting my phone). It’s funny, of course, to know that today’s Bibles also somehow thrive on this noxiously addictive discovery, and invention. And who is to blame?
If already you’re wondering whether it was a difficult thing to do, I can assure you it was and always will be – and not just for the addicts. But this certainly is not impossible. As of the time I was putting this note together, I was feeling the growing temptation of getting to know what’s up with ManUtd. There’s a crucial game against Spurs coming up the following day. (You would empathize, if you knew how much I love the Red Devils). Good thing however was the fact that, this decision, thought me a lot of things I would only have learnt by taking this honestly unpleasant pause. So I have decided to put this together, to share with you my lessons from this little adventure. Hopefully, you would be drawn into trying it out too. Enjoy.
1. Never Late. Never busy: During this break period, the latest I got to the office was just about 7 AM. – that is if I accurately tracked my time. What was the story before then? However, throughout this period, I was still able to get so much done before leaving for work. It’s amazing. I read at least two Chapters in my Bible, wash down, get my clothes ironed for work, read about four pages of my book for the month (this didn’t take less than 15 minutes) and still have enough time to ensure I have everything needed for work checked. I had time to do my devotion and study the Bible (although I haven’t been disciplined when it comes to this) and got time to pray. I realized that through out this period, my priorities had changed completely – back to what it’s meant to be. I was now connecting with God more – much more if only I had been disciplined with my devotions and Bible studies. All the while, I had been sacrificing God or more accurately, myself for that which is fleeting. (4G network will become obsolete pretty soon. I won’t talk about my galaxy s3. You can just laugh about it). But is God? The Source of life? The One who sustains it? This is what I have shamefully discovered about myself. Putting something first before God! I’m glad I went through this period. I really am.
2. Old is Gold: My desire to stay up to speed meant that, I am in constant search for information through whatever medium. This time however, the internet wasn’t part of that ‘whatever medium’. (When was the last time you switched on the radio to catch what’s going on in town?) When I was away from the internet, the FM radio (and sometimes people around me) was my reliable source of information. Did it fail? Not at all, to my surprise. Coincidentally, during this period, I chanced upon an excerpt on a book titled The Bible Jesus Read written by Philip Yancey (my current favorite author). This book talked about the importance of the Old Testament, although it seemed really difficult sometimes to read some of the its books – like setting the dial on a favorite FM station whose frequency you’re not familiar with and trying to get the clearest of sound without all the noise. It is hard flowing with it’s inconsistency of the OT, let alone, believing some of the stories and events. But you would be amazed to know how God in His great wisdom over many millenia, through different people, culture, and at different places put together such masterpiece talking about one Man, Jesus Christ. The New covenant didn’t come to make obsolete the Old one. It came, that we may know more, who God is. A man who has been from the time of Adam till today, trying make Himself known to us. Sadly, some modern Christians think the NT is just enough. But truly speaking, none is enough alone. Both the OT and NT. Yes, Old is Gold. And I find many things in common when I consider the FM radio and the Old testament on one side, and the internet and New testament on the other. The internet didn’t come to make the radio useless. Just so we can connect a little bit more. This is how modern people – and Christians – treat differently the two groups. Unfair. In what may have stealthily become my new god, a break away showed that I had ignored and forgotten my radio for long. But did it ‘cough’ out voices whenever I put it on during this period? Yes it did. The radio was a “lovesick” companion as Yancey describes God in giving us Grace. Like the prodigal son, the radio waited to receive me back. A radio was able to ‘love’ me. Imagine that! How much more, my Father in Heaven who made me in His image? Not just me. But you as well. If you have turned your back on Him (Isaiah 59:2), and may be thinking He won’t be ready to have you back, please think again. “As far as the east is from the west“. Take a “one-hundred-and-eighty-degree turn”. You’ll see him with arms wide open!! You may want to download and listen to ‘Prodigal‘ by Sidewalk Prophets.
3. Fall short: When my friend asked me to go through some essays for her during this break period, there were many means by which I could have gotten the document and dependence on internet would not have been anywhere near the top listed ones. But I had sent her my email address even before thinking through the many different ways. I could have gone straight to her place and get the documents on my drive for instance. Subconsciously, I was still depending on the internet, like being tempted into sinning and doing so. I was breaking my own rules of no internet. My own rules! “Therefore be perfect as the Father is“. Imagine that. Even I couldn’t perfect and keep my own rules. And this is where I come to understand the Grace and love of God. My decision was one without grace, but rules. It made me a legalist. Like the Pharisees. Thinking that if I’m able to do all that I have set as target -or rule-, then I deserve to be ‘glorified’. Haven’t I thought in the past that the good things I do by obeying the laws of God will make me go to heaven? I couldn’t even stick to my own rules. I think, without grace, heaven isnt meant for me, or anyone else. I tripped through my journey. And more so on a daily basis, in my walk with God. For me, I had just highlighted the role of God’s grace in my life. But tripping for my friend, didn’t mean I could go about tripping. And falling. It only meant I couldn’t be perfect, but I have been empowered try my best to. Titus 2: 11&-12. Grace isn’t meant to be taken for granted. It actually raises the standards to makes us more self-aware. It’s hard and would be long to try to explain it. All that talk about Grace. But one thing I know is, I get it as a gift. Something I don’t deserve. Thankfully, I can recommend a book I just finished reading ‘Whats so Amazing About Grace?’ by Philip Yancey.
In other lessons, I couldn’t believe I forgot to take my charger along with me to work and didn’t panic. I was surprised how long my phone could last with just one charge. Saving money, time. Being more productive, etc. There are many things I learned from these and many others. But I think the three I discussed were the most important ones for me.
The internet is a really important tool. Indispensable in some situations especially during this modern times. But what’s more important is our relationship with God. One should know the things to sacrifice in order to know God more. To love Him. The internet, for me, I realise is one of such things. I hope to discover the others as time goes on. What are yours? And will you be willing to sacrifice them? Thank you for your time.