Stepping out of the loop

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?

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8 thoughts on “Stepping out of the loop

  1. Very likely it won't be 40 days OUT of the loop, but 40 days IN the loop — at least the loop that really matters.

    Praying for you. Proud of you.

  2. thats totally awesome… ive never done lent.. I guess ive never been a church that did it… so I dont really know what its all about or anything, but sometimes when I feel behind in school, and not up to par with God-time, I sometimes go on “mini” lents, and decide that Im not going to talk on AIM or watch TV or even read, which is probably my biggest downfall…. yes.. I AM an obcessive reader, which is kind of ironic, but it has become an issue…. Ill sit and read Nicholas Sparks for hours, but not as much reading my bible and praying…
    Ive been especially lazy with school lately…. my grades have dropped from A's to B's in some classes… which sucks… I need to be more responsible with my time… and how I choose to spend the small, but precious free time I have… this was a good post… It sorta reminded me of my own issues at the moment….

  3. thats totally awesome… ive never done lent.. I guess ive never been a church that did it… so I dont really know what its all about or anything, but sometimes when I feel behind in school, and not up to par with God-time, I sometimes go on “mini” lents, and decide that Im not going to talk on AIM or watch TV or even read, which is probably my biggest downfall…. yes.. I AM an obcessive reader, which is kind of ironic, but it has become an issue…. Ill sit and read Nicholas Sparks for hours, but not as much reading my bible and praying…
    Ive been especially lazy with school lately…. my grades have dropped from A's to B's in some classes… which sucks… I need to be more responsible with my time… and how I choose to spend the small, but precious free time I have… this was a good post… It sorta reminded me of my own issues at the moment….

  4. I don't know you, but stumbled across your blog. Good luck with the Lent thing. I hold the all time record of least amount of time of giving something up. I woke up on Ash Wednesday had a coke when I wasn't supposed to. Anyways…good luck on getting in the loop.

  5. you know Laura, after reading your blog, I think of how many times I'm on three specific web sites. I have two or three books started and I really want to finish them, but I get caught on the internet. I think I'll join you and give up my web sites: Facebook, Myspace and Fanfiction. Good Luck and I'll pray for you!
    Annaleigh

  6. Thanks, y'all, for your prayers and support. Those of you who've decided to join me, God bless you! I'm going to use this time to seek God for the people of Hong Kong and China, and do whatever else God brings to my heart. Later today, after I get back from classes, I'll have a little something else from my devotion time this morning that really hit home to me.

  7. Pingback: A Stolen But Super Cool Idea | A Wilderness Life

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