Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Addiction Conviction

Author: Susan L. Prince

I've been posting about what God has convicted me of recently. The first one is simple and I have been convicted about that for awhile, and it really hit me hard on a retreat weekend at Natchez Trace back in April? May? One of those months! LOL

The first is my obvious addiction to the computer, namely the Internet. I don't really do anything special online, just surf, read blogs, the news, Facebook and piddle really. The problem is that it does take time away from God. He hates that and is letting me know it. The solution to this is to curb my time online.

I was made very aware of this being a problem when I was on retreat Katie had her laptop there. She left the room and there I was, alone in a hotel room with a computer. I literally knew I shouldn't power it on and was sitting there on the bed listening to my worship music, trying to pray and study the Word, but that computer was distracting me. I had the thought...wow, I understand what alcoholics must endure when they want that drink, know it's not good for them, and then are left alone in a room with a bottle of Jack Daniel's. I fought the desire to get online for a while, but then I figured, only for a few minutes and could no longer resist. I gave in.

Appalled that I was letting an addiction control me, I came home from that retreat vowing to restrict my online time, and did so for about five minutes. I'm having a bit of trouble with that obviously. That makes me beat myself up.

The second thing I am convicted about is that I need to simplify my life. I am reading "So, You Want to Be Like Christ? Eight Essentials to Get You There" by Charles R. Swindoll. The second discipline Swindoll explores is Simplicity. He asks "do you spend adequate alone time with God?"

This is something I learned that I needed to do when I first started meeting with my friend, mentor, and accountability partner Karen. She calls it guarded time and encouraged me to guard time that I set aside for quiet time before the Lord. This is not an easy thing for me and when I started being accountable to her for this time, on a scale of one to ten I said I was a two. I was able to raise that to about a four, but dropped off some.

Swindoll later in that chapter asks "have you become a cluttered person within?" Now, I despise clutter! I am miserable in the midst of clutter. I like a room that is fairly simple, not a lot of stuff on the walls and lacking in knick knacks. I like decor, but simple and tasteful. Simple.

Then a paragraph later he said look in the trunk of your car, your closet and do I have to rake stuff off the passenger seat of the car when someone gets in. He made me see that clutter has worked itself into my life. I have to admit, my surroundings are cluttered and they represent my mind.

In my quest to practice "guarded time" I have been made aware that I have a problem clearing my mind. Just like I have a problem clearing material things out of the physical realm in which I live, I also have difficulty clearing a path through to solitude in my spiritual life.

I have started changing some of my habits and forcing myself to go sit on the backyard swing and be quiet. I have taken day retreats over to the lake to sit and be quiet, but I end up frustrated because I can't quiet my mind. Swindoll has helped me realize all the clutter and now I am convicted about it and need to work toward cleaning it up. Simplify simplify simplify! He says that simplicity leads to intimacy. I want to experience the next level of intimacy with my God!

I want to start with simplifying my life; decluttering my home, my car, and letting go of any obligations that are not beneficial to me or working to distract me from intimacy with God. I plan to go room by room clearing out the unnecessary stuff and once the physical world in which I live is streamlined and in order, I am hoping my mind will be calmer and settle down so I can allow God to work there and clear out the unnecessary stuff lurking there.

And like my Internet addiction, I appear to have trouble getting this done too. I am highly unmotivated to declutter my home. I want it done, but don't want to do it! LOL

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