Saturday, March 15, 2008

That Last Session

The final session of the ladies’ conference I attended last weekend is the one that spoke to me the most. Just when I thought I’d managed to get through with just a little encouragement for the way! LOL

Several of the sessions were taught by Mrs. Vicki Mutchler, whose husband pastors Grand ViewBaptist Church in Beavercreek, OR. I had never met Mrs. Mutchler, but I had seen her with her husband at another conference. So I knew who she was, but had never heard her speak until Friday, when she spoke for two sessions. I knew from those that she was a straight-shooter; she tells you what you need to hear, not what you might want to hear. And I do like those types of speakers, because they usually speak directly to my heart.

Mrs. Mutchler’s final session topic was “Strung Out.” The theme of the conference was “Addicted”, from I Corinthians 16:15, so several of the sessions used terminology that would be common to addictions of the bad kind. Mrs. Mutchler called our attention to the addictions we have – and we all have them – that are useless. They’re vanity, worthless, things that have little or no eternal value. She gave us the picture of a woman who appears to have everything together, a strong servant of God, good wife, loving mother, who behind closed doors has an addiction. It may be the computer, or the TV, or talking on the phone, or reading novels, or eating too much. Whatever it is, it is taking away from her relationship with God, because if she’s not spending time with God, letting an addiction dictate her time, she has no relationship worth mentioning with God. That got my attention.

You see, I spend a lot of time at this computer. I love to read blogs. The blogs I read are not bad; in fact, they are very good ones. I love homemaking and craft blogs, and blogs by women who are just like me, pastors’ wives and/or members of independent, fundamental Baptist churches. I also love to read blogs of women who may not be my particular stripe of Baptist, but they are definitely saved and seeking to serve the Lord in their daily lives. And I like to read blogs of ladies who may not even be Baptist at all, but who are saved and serving the Lord. I just love them. I love reading blogs.

Not only do I love blogs, I also love to surf the internet. I have never gotten into any kind of websites that I would be ashamed to let my husband or anyone else see. They are all good and have some value to them. But they are not important enough for me to spend all of my time looking at them.

There’s nothing wrong with blogs or surfing in themselves, but the problem I had was that I was addicted to them. Yes, addicted. When I wasn’t online, I was thinking about being online. When I was online, I was totally absorbed in what I was doing. I could spend two hours online without even thinking about it. And the thing is, the Lord had been nudging me, convicting me about how much time I spent online. But it took another pastor’s wife saying, “You’re strung out on the computer just like a drug addict is on drugs” to get my attention. I was doing the exact same thing a drug addict does! I would feed my addiction every day, think of it when I wasn’t feeding it, and get to it as soon as I could get away from whatever else absolutely had to be done. My heart was broken. I hadn’t realized just how addicted I was, but I saw my condition plainly as Mrs. Mutchler spoke. It felt like God put His finger on my heart and just probed deeper and deeper. What I saw there hurt so bad! I asked His forgiveness and His help to overcome this addiction. He has forgiven, and I know He will help. I just have to keep myself willing to be helped.

I don’t believe that God is asking me to completely give up blogging, reading blogs, or enjoying the internet on occasion. My husband has told me many times that there is room for some time on the computer, but that it should not consume my day. There are also some things that I legitimately need to be online for, but they don’t take up most of my day or my thoughts! The things I need to get addicted to are my husband, children, and church ministry, because I won’t be able to remove an addiction and not replace it with other activities that are more valuable. The other sessions were about addicting ourselves to the good things, and I’ll be sharing my notes from those sessions as I have time. The main thing I’m doing is keeping track of how much time I spend online, and how I’m spending my time each day. I’m literally writing down everything I do. I also have a daily to-do list on my desk, that I consult throughout the day, to help guide my activities. I’ve been so wrapped up in the computer that at times during the day I honestly don’t know what to do next! So at this point, I'm trying to see where the computer fits into my day, or even if it fits into every day of my life. My husband is such a help in this, as he can see things that I am blind to sometimes.

Maybe you’re shocked by this post, that a Christian could get so far gone on something that she is addicted to it. Or maybe you see yourself in my situation, with the computer or maybe with something else. In either case, let’s encourage one another and provoke one another to good works. I’ve confessed my fault to you so that you can pray for me. Please do that!

This has gotten very long! If you’re still reading, you deserve a medal! ;) Hopefully my other posts about the conference will be shorter.

23 comments:

  1. This is a great post Susan and your right. I often find myself on the internet just looking, it's a time fller when there are so many other things I should be doing. As I'm sitting here now I realize that I can name 4 things that need to be done now, but yet...

    Thanks for this post, I needed it!!

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  2. Susan, thank you for being honest. I too struggle with how much time I spend on the computer. God has really been convicting me in this area lately. My husband has been so helpful, offering suggestions.....yet following them is often an entirely different matter.
    Thank you for the reminder. It does help to know I'm not the only one who struggles.

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  3. Alison6:36 AM

    I think this problem will sort itself out when the summer weather comes. Where I live, nearly every day has been about 38F and pouring with rain for the last few months. Not much incentive to do anything except surf, once the chores are done! Once it's pleasant outside, I plan to get out there walking and cycling with hubby. I think the same will happen to you too.

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  4. This was a good post for me to read....sometimes I feel I have your same problem. Time can go so quickly when you're online (or watching TV or whatever), and after I spend the time, I think "what a waste!" It's a hard area, one that I am working on as well.

    P.S. My sister lives in Oregon and goes to Grand View, so she knows Mrs. Vickie very well! :) I think she also mentioned she went to a ladies' retreat a little while ago, so maybe it was the same one you were at! Small world....

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  5. Tori, it helps a lot to know that someone else struggles like I do - thanks!

    Melody, this was one of the hardest posts I've ever written, and I second-guessed it over and over after I posted it. Thank you for your encouragement! And aren't our husbands so great to help us, even when my pride rises up and makes me think I don't need any help! ;)

    Alison, I'm so glad that you don't deal with this to the extent that I do! The weather really makes no difference to me when it comes to the computer. I struggle with this year 'round!

    Melissa, how neat that your sister goes to Grand View! She has a wonderful pastor's wife in Mrs. Vicki. She may very well have been at the same conference I was!

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  6. Susan, I could relate to this post. Several months ago I began weeding out my bloglines, and I'm now down to 28 feeds. It has helped immensely to cut down on my computer time. I find that I am actually going to sleep at night easier--I don't have 100 people's daily activities and thoughts running about my head at night!

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  7. Susan,
    No medal deserved here...but oh so CONVICTED, you have no idea...well maybe you do, wink !
    I seriously need to take this to heart. Were there tapes done of this teaching?
    I am home so much by myself that I will use my computer as a release or whatever and make excuses , and even with just my dh and I there are other things that need to move up on my list in order of importance....I am looking forward to the next post from your notes.
    I am sure this will strike a chord with MANY, and I am going to link this post to my blog today. It is edifying to say the least.
    God Bless you and your desire to serve Him more wholly through your time.
    Deby

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  8. Wow, I'm convicted. Thank you for posting this and for your honesty. Excellent entry. :)

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  9. Thank you Susan. I needed to hear this message. It is so very true. I found you through Deby, at apples of gold.

    Have a blessed day. I am now going to walk away from my computer and get some things done, which as a wife and mother, need to be done, by me. It's my job, and I do love my job as wife and mother. I love it more when I am actually staying on top of this great calling.

    Kathi

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  10. Thank you so much for this post. I confess I have found myself in this position!! And when I recently took a break from the computer (because we had to get it fixed), I was amazed at how much I used the computer and *looked forward* to using the computer. On the same token, I realized how much I took just having the computer to use at a moment's notice...for granted.

    It's funny what a great tool and opportunity we as Christians have to use this wide-reaching source to witness for Christ and encourage others in the faith...yet Satan can try to get us to use this in the wrong way! Just like TV, radio, and other mediums...we are fighting a spiritual war!

    I've come to the conclusion, that before I blog/email, etc...I try to make sure my other priorities are in line first (but I'm daily checking myself on this!!) and then I try to post what I think God wants me to post about.

    As with everything I use/do in my life, I try to ask myself..."Is this for my glory or God's glory?" I'm reminded of 1 Corinthians 10:31 (actually that whole passage may speak to this issue).

    So, I'm convicted too, and I've found that I don't think I need to give this opportunity up altogether; just try to make sure it is within the limits of God's will and not becoming an idol in my life.

    From another perspective, I want to take advantage of the internet for God's glory and purpose... and don't want Satan to scare Christians out of doing so because it may be out of balance.

    I am no expert on this...just wanted to share the conclusions the Lord's brought me through.

    Blessings to you!!
    Katie

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  11. Well needed and timely in my life. However, I am ready for you pin that Medal of Honor on me, as I read every last word of this post! Great stuff Susan, and I honestly think that all we lady bloggers have struggled with this in one way or another. I have had to back off from blogging simply for the reasons you cited here! I needed more "addiction" to my hubby and sons. I love it when the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart as He has in the past couple of months and then reiterates what I need through another godly person, in this case, YOU!

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  12. Oh my! Band-aids, I need some Band-aids!! (o;

    Seriously, this is something I struggle with very much in many areas of my life. Thank you for sharing your notes with us, they spoke to my heart. And thank you for your honesty...It's NEVER easy to admit things like this.

    Blessings,
    Michele

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  13. Michele led me to this post and I'm glad she did. Oh my have I struggled in this area, I've even given up blogging...lol and then come back again.

    Thank you.

    Blessings.

    Sarah

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  14. What a great post! I have had moments of Blog addiction and I have to keep control of it. I wake up early to spend time with the Lord and slowly started checking the blog first and giving God my fruits and vegtables instead of my spotless lamb (as in Cain and Abel). I said ok, I am not checking the blog until I spend my hour with the Lord. My day does go better when I do it that way!

    Thank you! Sharon

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  15. This is something we have been struggling to get the balance right! thank you so much for your thought-provoking post!

    blessings,
    kari & kijsa

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  16. That was a very good post. Thanks for taking the time to post it. You gave me something to think about.

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  17. Susan,
    this was a great post...I am anxious to read more about the other sessions...we all have an addiction of one kind or another...
    Mimi

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  18. Tammy, I'm not looking to see how many feeds I have on Bloglines, but I know it's not as low as 28. You have done well! Everyone else's lives running through my thoughts is one of the reasons I quit going to forums, too. Too much emotional connections as I made close friends . . . but of course YOU are one of those friends! LOL

    Deby, they did indeed have tapes (CDs) available. You could probably contact the church through the link in my original post about the retreat, and they could help you order them if you'd like to.

    Lady-in-the-making, thanks so much for stopping by - I don't think I've seen a comment from you before! Please forgive me if you have commented before. Anyway, I'm glad you found this entry to be helpful!

    Kathi, thank you so much for stopping by! Please know that I have to make the conscious decision to get up from here, too. I hope you'll be back!

    Katie, you should blog everything you said to me! You have some great points, especially that Satan would love to turn a good opportunity into something that weighs us down and takes our focus from the main thing - our families. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

    Pam, I'll have to get back to you on that medal! ;) It is always amazing to me how the Lord works in my heart and then the same subject pops up somewhere else.

    Michele, honesty hurts sometimes! I second-guessed that post all weekend, after I had posted it. Thank you for your sweet words. And it's so nice to be able to call you by your first name now!!!

    Sarah, there have been times I've come close to quitting blogging, but I love it and I believe we ladies can be a huge help to each other. Thanks for coming by, and I hope you'll be back! Keep blogging, as the Lord allows!

    Sharon, you made a great analogy of offering fruits and veggies instead of the real thing to the Lord. I liked that. I've also had to make a hard and fast rule not to turn on the computer till I've had my Bible-reading time, and here lately, till I have my other priorities in order for the day.

    Kari & Kisja, I think I was at your blog the other day. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad this entry was a help to you!

    Theresa, thanks for your sweet words! I've been enjoying your blog.

    Mimi, I have plans to write more about the sessions. There are some that I look at and think "I can't wait to share this." Hopefully I'll find the time soon, before everyone forgets just what conference I'm talking about! LOL

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  19. I so appreciate your honesty Susan and I am not shocked, as I have been there myself and still struggle with this at times. Sometimes I can be so interested in what *other* ladies are doing in regard to their homemaking, that I am not doing what I should be doing for *my* family.

    Thank you again, for sharing your heart. The Lord obviously used this post to minister to many...and to me too. : )

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  20. Wow Susan. That was a great post! I would say I have the same addiction. There, I said it.

    I do love Gods Word but have been struggling with "finding" the time to be in it like I want to. I think I've just found the problem and the answer. I don't know how I'll find the balance. I pray God guide me.
    Thank you for sharing.
    momtogirls5

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  21. Thanks Susan, I will contact the church.
    You have hit the nail on the head for many of us. I also do not do forums anymore, just can't keep up.
    As with anything there has got to be balance, easier said than done.
    Your honesty and frankness and way with words, is a blessing to me.
    Deby

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  22. Mishel, I have found the same thing amazing in myself, that I will read all day about what others are doing in their homes, but never do much in my own!

    Momtogirls5, you are so right - there has to be a balance. Finding it is hard sometimes, and that point is different for each of us, depending on our families, etc. You hit the nail on the head!

    Deby, you're always such a sweetheart! I hope you can get the CDs. They were awesome sessions!

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  23. Susan, I think this is my first post here, and I'm not sure how I first "found" you - perhaps through Deby. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and convictions. I think as Christians, we might think that addictions don't exist among the Body of Christ - drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc. but I have found that "addictive personalities" exist among all people. We are not exempt, as you have shared. Surfing the web, blogging, playing games, shopping, crafting, reading... all can become addictions/idols. Ouch! When I was really into rubberstamping, it was what I was living for - it was an addiction. I had to admit that it was at times an "idol." The computer - oh ya.... it's so easy to lose precious time, that should be spent otherwise. I totally understand. What a wonderful message to have heard. Praise God for this godly woman and the message she share, and for you sharing your heart with us.

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Thanks for taking a minute to read my ramblings and leave a comment! I appreciate it!

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