I’m Taking a Break From the Interweb. Here’s Why.

I’ve decided, after some encouragement from the Lord to take a break from MOST things web ( I say MOST because there area a few web related areas that because of my day to day responsibilities I can’t ignore). I don’t know how long this break will last, a week, a month, a year, an hour. Who knows. But it is happening, and it’s starting the minute I press publish on this post.

Here are a few of the reasons I will be going on this extended fast from MOST things Web:

1) Because God said so.
This reason itself is enough for me.

2) Distraction-Habit-Addiction-Idol.
In EVERY area of life, in all that we do or participate in, the chain of events of Distraction to Habit to Addiction to Idol can occur. ANYTHING can become an idol. No matter what it is, no matter the intentions that started it, no matter how seemingly innocent or healthy it might be. ANYTHING can become an idol.
Here’s an example of how this could play out.
You create a Facebook or Twitter profile and start connecting with old and new friends. You’re excited and you’re having a good time, but then you start having a hard time getting work done or hitting your deadlines at the office because when you should be working your on Facebook. Right now, it’s only a distraction.
Then you move into the HABIT realm. You wake up, you check Facebook. You get in your office, you check Facebook. Your sitting on your couch watching TV, you check Facebook. You’re out to dinner with friends or family, you check Facebook. It’s become a habit.
Addiction comes in when Twitter of Facebook becomes a tool you use for venting or coping. You forget who might be watching or reading and you begin to post all of your dirty laundry, offenses, complaints, hurts, ect. Facebook/Twitter has become your confidant. Your therapist. You feel better when you “get things off your chest” on the web, for EVERYONE to see. Your moving into the ADDICTION realm.
Now finally, you wake up and the first thing you do in the morning is make a cup of coffee, check your Twitter and Facebook, check out the news, read Perez Hilton, check out ESPN online, and then, if you have time, maybe I’ll read some of the Word of God, maybe pray a little. If I have time. That’s a dangerous place to be. With anything. Anything you put BEFORE God is an Idol. Relationships, food, the Internet, your job.
You might think that I am taking all this a little too seriously. Maybe a little too extreme in my thinking about this. But, there are people every day that are throwing away marriages, losing jobs, falling into other areas of addiction and sin because of not having their guard up when it comes to there relationship with the Web.
One of the most powerful things we can do in life with anything we participate in, is to determine if we have already fallen into this pattern, if we are in it, where are we in it, and what do we need to do to break out of the pattern and get freedom.

3) Quit Talking AT People.
One of my personal priorities for this year is to listen… really listen. Listen to my kids more, my wife more, my friends more and of course my Lord more. Not listening for my turn to talk, but really listening to what others are really saying. And not only listening to what they’re saying, but being sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit to hear what He’s saying about what they’re saying.
One of the things that tools like Twitter tend to promote is talking AT people. One sided conversation. Selfish, world revolves around me kind of talk. Not all the time, but enough that we can become desensitized by it. After awhile we don’t realize that we have become shameless self promoters. Constantly talking about ourselves and wondering about what others are thinking about what I’m saying. (How many followers do I have? Did I get a RT?)

3) Killing the Noise.
There is so much noise coming at us on a daily basis, I’m amazed we get anything done at all. You can’t walk into a store, turn on the TV, drive in your car, or get a cup of coffee without someone trying to put something into your head to buy their product or try the latest thing or YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THIS!
THERE’S ALWAYS NOISE. Some noise we can’t control. But some we can. I’m choosing to KILL some of the background noise of my life.
When I say KILL the noise, I mean it. There are some things that I am going to KILL that are going to stay dead. (I’ve written about this in the past here if you want to read that.)

So here’s what I won’t be doing:
1) Twitter
2) Facebook
3) Reading Blogs. (I currently read a little over 100 blogs on a daily basis.)
4) “Surfing the Web”
5) I won’t be reading doing my daily Bible study on anything digital. (Putting away the Iphone & Ipad Bible for one of those paper ones. Analogue baby.)
6) I won’t be opening my laptop at home unless everyone in my family is already in bed sleeping, and I have work that can’t wait until the office or work hours.

So… now that I’ve said all that, here are a few things I WILL continue to do:

1) Email.
2) The areas of my job that I’m responsible for that would require me to be on Facebook/Internet. (I oversee our church Facebook page for example.)
3) Blog. I believe that this is part of the ministry that God has called me into, and it is a key area of communication to some of the members of the church and ministries that I work with. I won’t however be posting things on a daily basis, but as the Holy Spirit directs.
4) Receive Direct Messages on Through Twitter. There are some close friends that I have that because of where they live, this is the best way for us to talk. I won’t stop that. These relationships and the encouragement I receive from them is invaluable to my life.
5) Spend the time that I am saving and spend it on my Kids, my wife and my God.

I love the Web. I love social networks like Twitter and Facebook. I think they have created a whole new world of possibilities for churches, organization and families to connect on a deeper level. But like anything, it can become too much. I don’t want anyone to think I’m anti-web cause I’m far from it. I also don’t want anyone to think that I believe everyone is in danger of LOSING THEIR SOUL to Facebook and Twitter. I don’t think that… at all. This is just a personal decision I have made and I thought I would share some of the things I was thinking about that led me to this break.

So… stay tuned for more.

-Niles

FYI: You will see my Twitter/Facebook update when I post a new blog. This is automated and I’m ok with that. I would encourage you during this time, this beginning of the new year, to take a look at the areas of your life that could use some more or maybe some less attention, and pray about if God would have you put some things on pause for a while.

Psalm 34

1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.

2 I will boast only in the Lord ;
let all who are helpless take heart.

3 Come, let us tell of the Lord ‘s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

4 I prayed to the Lord , and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

9 Fear the Lord , you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.

10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord.

12 Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?

13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!

14 Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.

16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.

17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.

18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

22 But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

I love going to the movies. Before the kids got here and you had to take out a mortgage to cover the costs of ticket prices, going to the movies was one of my favorite things to do. In my opinion, the best time to see a movie is the theaters first showing of the day. Why the first showing? Because that’s the least crowded time. I don’t like to go when it’s least crowded because it’s easier to find a seat, I like to go then because that’s when it’s the most quiet. I love when it’s quiet because I love to be able to sit far enough back to be able to hear the clicking of the projector. I always have loved that sound for some reason. Unfortunately with more and more theaters going to digital servers and projectors, finding a theater that you can still hear the click of the projector is a rare thing. It might seem strange to you, but as much as I love technology, the only time I ever wish for things to slow down are with randomly small things like this that some people might go a lifetime and never notice.