My television gets two channels. I thought I was doing pretty well to cancel my expensive subscription to Dish Network and put giant rabbit ears (or as 7-year-old Ben calls them, “antenners”) on top of my tv. But I still have DVDs numbering in the dozens, some of which, I’m a bit embarrassed to say, I’ve seen 20 times. This is a stewardship issue.
I get anxious when my apartment is quiet. Partly it’s a coping mechanism, because having a fan running or music playing blocks out, at least in part, the madness that is my downstairs neighbor’s stereo. But partly I’ve trained myself to have ADHD. I struggle to sit still long enough to finish 5 or 6 chapters of my daily Bible reading. I listen to music and watch tv and cook supper and clean my apartment all at the same time, bouncing from one half-finished project to the next. This is a discipline issue.
I check my email obsessively, and have a list of blogs I visit daily. I read news, opinion, and gossip on MSN, Slate, MSNBC, and a host of other sites. I surf for all sorts of information, ranging from airline ticket prices to financial advice to the current situation in India. I play Spider Solitaire every day. This is both a stewardship and a discipline issue.
I’m behind on my school work. I haven’t kept up with the reading assignments for a single class, though I’ve begun them all. Luckily enough for me, the class in which I have to turn in reading reports required a book that sold out in the bookstore, so I got a temporary reprieve from my professor. This is also both a stewardship and a discipline issue.
I overspend every month. My parents have been very kind to me, recognizing that there’s only so much a person can do with ten dollars left over after I pay my rent, but I struggle to say no to little purchases: five dollars here, three dollars there, a movie rental, a new candle, gourmet something or other. I plan my finances poorly. Now that I’ve gotten a new job (Praise God!), I should actually have enough money to make ends meet every month, but only just. My new budget does not include little splurges that I justify, since they’re only a few dollars. This is also a stewardship and a discipline issue.
So why have I confessed all this on my blog, publishing my sins in the areas of stewardship and discipline for all to see?
Well, it’s because I want you all to know that, in keeping with the tradition of Christians for centuries, I’m taking Lent, which begins on March 1st this year, as an opportunity to step out of the loop. I’m replacing entertainment and aimlessness with edification and focus. So, to accomplish that, tv is out. So are movies. So are internet and computer, with the exception of things related to school and family, and an accountability update on this blog. They’ll be replaced with books, first Scripture, then textbooks, and then literature. Good stewardship and discipline will be the goal, with God’s help.
I have to admit that the idea of giving up tv and movies sends a little wave of terror through me, but it’s that very chill of fear that makes this venture all the more necessary.
So here we go, kids. Beginning Wednesday I’ll post an update regularly.
Join me, or pray for me, or both.
Forty days of being out of the loop. What do you think might happen?