Choosing For This Season,
by Laura Rath
It started as I drove to meet a friend for lunch one day last fall. I can’t tell you the exact words, but I sensed God telling me to spend more time focused at home and on my daughter. Honestly, I didn’t really get it. My life pretty much revolves around my family, home, and work, so I didn’t know what He was referring to, but it was clearly from Him.
I didn’t feel as if there was something specific I was supposed to do… that would have been easier—something I could check off a list. No, instead, it was more of a feeling or reminder to let other things go and focus on the moment.
Oddly enough, I found that tension between television and the online world.
I’m not one to sit and watch television for hours. I have to be doing something else while I watch—reading, working on a jigsaw puzzle, working on a post or my blog, or surfing the Web. I thought they were all the same, so what’s the difference if I’m online or flipping through a magazine?
The difference is the online world takes you away from the world you’re currently sitting in.
Have you ever been in a meeting where someone starts checking his e-mail and you watch his attention shift? No longer is he in the conversation at the table. He’s now in his e-mail world and you’re wondering if he’s coming back, or if you somehow missed the end of the meeting.
I realized that’s what I was doing at home.
While my attention was focused on the blogging world, my family continued to laugh and converse without me. I may not have thought it mattered, but it did. Even if the other person doesn’t point it out, the shift of attention and focus to something online causes frustration and annoyance.
I feel it when it’s done to me, and now I was doing it to others.
Is that what God was trying to show me?!?
Our lives certainly don’t revolve around watching television, but when my daughter asks me to watch a specific show or movie with her, I don’t want to miss spending that time with her. At the same time, I don’t want to be worried that my presence online is lacking.
But that’s the choice that has to be made.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT)
Saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else. Choosing to be focused at home means setting something else aside. For me, that means limiting my time online. Not indefinitely, but for this season.
Separation became necessary because something was going to suffer, and I didn’t want it to be my family.
I won’t kid you. It was a struggle. I had to get used to not checking e-mail and my blog all the time. And guess what I learned…e-mail waits and the blog continues on its own. Both are still there when I get to them.
But the moments at home…they don’t wait. The laughter, silly jokes, and the Mom-I-need-you-now moments—they pass quickly. And those are the moments I don’t want to look back and find out I missed.