Pulling the Plug – Can I Live Without Internet at Home?

Pulling the PlugI am officially without internet at my apartment now. I called COX Saturday and had them cancel my account. The representative asked me why. I tried to dismiss it with a nonchalant, “Well, you know, I have access other places.”

“Man!” he said, “I just couldn’t live without the internet [at my home].”

Well, I’m about to discover if I can’t either. I do have access at work (limited) and school (where I am now).

Later, another COX representative called me and grilled me as to why I was quitting my service.

Again I offered, “Um, well, I have access other places.”
“Like at school?”
“Yeah, and work, and my parents house. And stuff.” Gosh, nosy, nosy.
“Well, I can understand you wanting to save some money…” she was feeling me out, then continued, “but really, there’s nothing like the convenience of having it in your own home where you can kick back, with your jammies on, and…”

Did I just hear the cox rep tell me how she, “kicks back in her jammies…?!”

“I know, it IS very convenient. In fact, that’s why I’m quitting my service. See, it’s not about finances at all, it’s that I think I spend too much time online and am trying to cut back.”

Pause.

“Well, I can respect that sir. But… I can’t understand it because I use it an awful lot myself.” Nervous chuckle. Then she proceeded to try offering me $5 off my monthly bill. (Take note those who want a discount on their internet bill!)

I wasn’t swayed by her sales pitch and in the end she wished me well, “I hope you do better than I did at my inlaws recently where they had slow internet and I about went crazy!”

Yeah, I hope so too.

So I’ve asked myself, “How much access do I really need?” The only two reasons I could sorta justify were:

  • My graduate online class requires internet and
  • Keeping up with relationships via e-mail also requires internet.

Everything else was want. Even Facebook. Even this blog…

I frequently spend mucho time online and am hoping that cutting access at home will help curb that. Not that all my time online is a waste, I frequently read interesting Wikipedia articles and watch funny YouTube videos. Additionally, every time my computer receives an e-mail it dings at me which interrupts whatever else I’m doing. So I stop and go check who it’s from. What’s this, someone left another comment on a Facebook picture?

I admit folks, for me the internet is a huge time stealer! I’ve even confessed as much in a previous post.

The more I got to thinking about it all, the more I realized how much I would prefer to be spending my time on more worthwhile activities:

Such as….. investing in people. But also simple activities like getting caught up on my book-reading list, having friends over for dinner, exercising, keeping my apartment tidy, developing an online video review website (ironically) or even coming up with a consistent meal plan for once in my life.

Click Here to Read My 3 Month Update

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (Heb 12:1)

Photo Credit: Looking for an outlet…

The Impact of Our Thought Lives

sitting and thinking
Perhaps you’ve heard the pithy ditty:

“Sow a thought, reap an action.
Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap your life.
Sow your life, reap your destiny.”

These days I’m becoming increasingly convinced of the truth behind that saying. Of course, Jesus made the same observation 2,000 years ago:

“For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34-35)

Below is a list of common things we sometimes struggle with…

Not working on my homework (procrastination)?
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Eating too much food (gluttony)?  
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Not exercising regularly (laziness)? 
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Being discontentment with life? (absence of faith)? 
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Not keeping my eyes from wandering (lust)? 
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Always desiring more and more (greed)? 
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Exhibiting a lack of humility (pride)? 
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.
Feeling lonely (discontentment)? 
     It won’t change until my thoughts change.

I can say from personal experience that treating symptoms of my sin nature never works long because the problem is not the symptoms. Whenever I fall short of the glory of God, I always fall short in my thoughts first.

“…each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
(James 1:14-15)

So the battlefield for personal holiness is fought in our mind. In Biblical times our mind – or the seat of our emotions and will – was sometimes referred to our as our “heart.” With that in mind, I love the truth in this verse:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
(Proverbs 4:23)

So we are to guard our hearts. What else are we to do?

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5)

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
(Romans 12:1-2)

Are we up to the challenge? Although the battle is bigger than us, we must struggle to hold our ground until the point of exhaustion.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Eph 6:13)

At the point where we can stand no more, God will intervene on our behalf.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ.”
(2 Cor 1:21)

“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Phil 2:13)

And you know what? The stakes are high because at stake is our souls.

“For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13)

Photo Credit: Thinking

Are We Listening?

It’s easy to talk. It’s harder to listen and I think even harder to ask good questions.
Lady Listening Carefully

As a Math Tutor in the public schools I am reminded over and over the importance of listening. A student asks me for help so I kneel next to him, look over the problem they’re struggling with and… immediately want to start talking. Instead, what I try forcing myself to do is ask, “What are you having trouble with?” After they’re done telling me I immediately want to start talking again!

However, I’m finding it’s better to ask, “Explain to me what you’ve tried doing so far.” As they begin explaining I listen and pretty soon can usually spot the problem. Then guess what? I want to start telling them what they’re doing wrong!

My interrupting and explaining isn’t best for their learning. They get a lot of lecture already. I’m convinced they need someone to ask good questions that challenge their thinking and force them to struggle to the point of either 1) self discovery or 2) entering a teachable mood. Spoon feeding only makes them hungry for more spoon feeding.

Here’s the kicker: I find after I’ve listened and probed for awhile they usually do reach a teachable moment (if not self-discovery). At that point I can say something succinct and relevant that hits home with them. Then they lift their heads and say, “Aha! I get it!”

So yes, there is a time and place for teaching. However, I still maintain there are many more times and places for asking questions and listening.

Now think about Jesus: He knew everything and was the greatest teacher of all time. Did that mean he went around spouting off everything he knew all the time? No, he asked questions. These questions engaged His listeners. Then, when his listeners were in a teachable spirit he would tell them something.

According to this interesting list, in the book of Matthew alone it’s recorded Jesus asked over 80 questions!

Amazing. Convicting. Let’s ask more. Let’s listen more.

James 1:19, “Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”

Photo Credit: Speak up, sonnyboy!