We have been busy and I'm tired today. I've had to go home to New Castle 3 times in the last 4 days for various reasons and by this afternoon I was totally worn out and tired of missing Caleb for a little bit each day. Tonight I put Caleb to bed and he really didn't want me to leave... and it wasn't one of those manipulative, 2-year-old things where he grins when I give in and read another book; he genuinely didn't want me to leave his room and cried for me to stay. It broke my heart. I absolutely hated the fact that I had to do what I do every night and get in a car and drive away from where my son is going to sleep. Almost every night is totally fine; Caleb goes to bed very easily and then we leave to go back to the Ronald McDonald House to get Jonah to bed and eventually go to sleep ourselves. (This is what is best for our whole family and what the hospital staff wholeheartedly encourage us to do.) But for some reason tonight, probably because I've been away a lot the last few days, Caleb did not want me to leave. He settled down fairly quickly once the nurse came in with some meds, but it has bothered me the rest of the night.
I got back to the RMH where Daniel had just gotten Jonah to bed (this is our daily routine; we each take one kid for the last hour before bedtime) and I just wanted to read my Harry Potter book and forget about how miserable it makes me to think about my family not sleeping under the same roof for the last 8 months. I proceeded to piddle around on the computer for the next 2 hours until I was really sleepy, realized I actually never got around to reading my book, and got ready to get up and go to bed. Then as I was getting ready to shut down the computer, I noticed this link that Daniel had left open and I read it. It was a blog post that the blogger wrote as a letter to the Church of North America, urging Christians to give a rip about the world and not just themselves. (When you finish reading this blog post, if you want to read it [and feel incredibly convicted], click here.)
Here's the effect this person's blog had on me; it shook me awake a little bit. It made me remember that there's a lot going on in the world besides my own problems. It made me think about how much I try to distract myself and just get through another day lately, instead of spending time talking to and listening to God. I realized how focused I've been on myself and my own life and how every chance I get, I turn to a book or the computer or the tv or some other thing that will entertain and distract me for a little while. I thought about all the time I waste on stuff that's absolutely meaningless and how much I wish I had the discipline to put those things in their proper place and give more attention to the things God wants to say and do.
This woman's blog was about her recent trip to Africa, and Daniel and I used to live in Africa, in Zambia, for a year before our kids were born, when we were considering a long-term move overseas. We ultimately settled back in New Castle (that's a story for another blog post). Strangely, I have found myself thinking about Zambia a lot lately and kind of longing for that time in my life, and I know at least partly why that is; in Africa, there were very few distractions. I didn't have a cell phone. I didn't have tv or a computer or my own car. I didn't have access to facebook. I didn't have all the crap that I use now to waste my time and it was very easy to have a healthy, consistent relationship with God because it was just so freaking quiet. And simple. And I miss that. I miss feeling like I could hear God speaking to me on a daily basis because there just wasn't much to compete with Him. I wasn't busy and I wasn't distracted.
I get so frustrated at myself when I fall into a slump of spiritual laziness and distraction, and that's how my last couple months have been. I get so frustrated at the things I choose to do with my time, regardless of how little of it I have nowadays. I get so frustrated at how incredibly dull life gets when I give my attention to things of this world. I'm so sick of facebook right now! Reading that blog post was like having someone snap their fingers in front of my face and say, "Hey! You! Don't forget that God has things in mind for you, so go talk to Him and listen to Him. Stop letting so much of your time be wasted on things that DO NOT MATTER." If this is turning into a rant, it's only a rant about myself, because this is the story of my life. My relationship with God is one I easily neglect and then I have a moment of clarity where I'm like, "What did I just do with my evening? Why did I flip channels when I could have read my Bible, or prayed with Daniel, or talked to God about my day?" Of course there is nothing evil with flipping channels or vegging out once in a while, but for me, I'm just over it right now. I want something fresh from God, I want to be used by Him, I want to hear from Him and be faithful and vibrant and on the move!
Anybody else every feel this way? Oh please tell me I'm not the only one. I want to be different, I want to be spiritually alert, don't you? Please tell me someone else out there wants to just shut off their phones, shut off facebook, shut off the tv and see how different life is when distractions are eliminated, or at least scaled WAY back. Anybody? How different would we be if we did?