In the fever pitch nature of the coronavirus, I chose to go three days without the internet. It was wildly revealing.
Of course it was challenging. Everytime I wanted to
- Check the weather
- Look up a Bible verse
- Find a phone number to a business
- Check my bank account balance
- Confirm that the virus is now nearby
- Watch the news
- See what friends are doing on internet
- Get input from YouTubers I follow
All throughout the day I realized my whole world is entirely dependent on the internet. Almost all of it. It’s disturbing how dependent we are on the internet.
But that was no surprise.
The surprise was what happened in my spirit.
Within a day I felt more connected to life and those around me. It seemed less like a dream world and more like the real world in a way that I can’t really explain.
But then after the three days I went back online.
I realized I literally missed nothing of significance on Facebook. My email messages were insignificant. Of course I can live without YouTube. And the news? We had a new infection in our area but I heard about it.
Then when I returned to Facebook there was a sudden change in my spirit. People were attacking the president with hate. Whether I agree or not was irrelevant, the spirit of it was just wrong. Another was attacking a liberal media show which I don’t like either, but the spirit was full of vitriol. A dear friend of mine who is Canadian was slamming Americans. Not sure that exactly promotes love and unity in the spirit of Christ.
And all of a sudden there was a burr caught in my craw.
It got worse. I watched a tv show. While watching it I realized how selfish it was making me. When engrossed in the show, I didn’t want to get up and serve those around me. I did, but with dragging feet as I was engaged in the show.
So within the course of a few hours, my spirit hardened just a tinge and selfishness grew just a bit more. It was surprising. Well…shocking how quick things change.
And then I remembered a conversation with someone I had the day before. She reminded me of the Scripture, “Will he find faith when he returns?” (Lk 18:8)
I see more clearly now why that’s a real possibility. Facebook has a lot of good things but the jabs people take politically, even if they are right in their content, promote hardening of heart. And our very time on social media itself weakens our real-life relationships. It’s almost impossible not to. We’re clearly distracted.
I woke up this morning thinking on these things. I realize the internet is very much an addiction. But with the Lord’s help, I think I need to stop Facebook. I need to almost stop tv. I don’t even own a tv but when I visit my mother, we tend to watch shows.
But if faith is to grow in my heart, some things have to go.