My grandparents grew up in an easier time – if you ask me. Of course, they would probably laugh and tell me it wasn’t easier, but I still wonder. I wonder what it was like living without the influence of the internet.
This is one of those topics I come back to a lot. This is almost always on my mind in some way or another. Maybe because my formative years growing up took place at the same time as the internet and social media. I feel like the internet was a friend in my life and we grew up across the street from each other. I both went to the library to search through encyclopedias to write reports in middle school, and had to learn how to search the internet in college for research papers. I still remember my first “screen name” with AOL Instant Message, and now use I use iMessage. I went to Tomorrow Land in Disney World when I was 7, when the very idea of a video chat was mind blowing. Now I can FaceTime with my personal cell phone/computer. It’s almost old technology.
A part of me wishes I could have been raised in an era with less technology. An era where I didn’t feel like my entire life needed to be put on public display in order to feel worth and meaning. Have you ever felt that way? When you grow up with MySpace, Facebook, and Instagram, it feels like it what you do doesn’t matter unless it’s put on display for the approval of others. Did people in previous eras struggle with this, or did they have a greater sense of purpose in life? Did they find contentment in what they had? Did they have stronger prayer lives? Did they have better family units? Were they healthier?
Without the distraction of the internet, what did life look like? What did life feel like?
I have this little day-dream of someday living on a hobby farm and owning a cow, chickens, and having a massive garden. I find myself being pulled away from the internet and drawn to the simple, some would even say menial, tasks of life. I’ve been finding more peace and purpose the less I am online.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have access to on a daily basis. In what ways can I live my dream right now? How can I make the most of what I have, and find joy in the blessings that God has given me?
For one, I have a deck. I can garden.
This summer I can build a raised garden bed and explore growing all kinds of vegetables and fruits, and in the fall I can try my hand at canning and preserving. I can spend time in when I get home from work watering my plants and pulling weeds. What I’m super excited about is how I can share what I grow with the people in my life!
Secondly, I have a fully equipped kitchen. I can cook.
Have you ever been awed by the fact that you have a fully equipped kitchen? All the equipment that restaurants have to produce incredible foods is attached to my living room. Just waiting to be used.
Thirdly, I have outdoor space. I can enjoy the warm summer evenings as often as I want.
I don’t have to go somewhere to relax and unwind. I have everything I need right at home.
Fourthly, I have an alarm clock and my schedule is mine. I can spend time with Jesus.
I have control of my schedule. When I stay up too late, it’s my fault. When I over-book myself, it’s my fault. But what if I took ownership of my schedule? What if I submitted my life to the Lord? I have what I need to do this.
I have the opportunity to live, work, play and follow Jesus without having to worry about the entire world watching my every move. That sounds like freedom to me.
Freedom to focus on the people around me, and to love on them and give them my full attention when I am with them.
Freedom to follow God. To study his Word and learn from him what living in faith really looks like.
Freedom to be content with what I have…not because I can’t see what everyone else has, but because I got it by the sweat of my brow and the work of my hands. The home I have and the things in it are hard-earned, and I appreciated where I am in life and how far I’ve come.
This is the dream. I desire to be defined not by what I have and how many people know about it, but by who I am and what I do with the time that I’m given each day.
I want my life to be set apart for the Lord, and to honor him in everything that I do. I want to bring things back to basics and get my direction and meaning from the Lord. I want to steward my life well. My house isn’t going to take care of itself. My marriage is going to maintain itself. My body isn’t going to take care of itself. My schedule isn’t going to magically allow for time for work, play, and serving. All these things need me to be actively involved. I feel like I can only do that well when I’m more concerned with God’s direction than I am with the acclaim of strangers.
If this is resonating with you, I encourage you to pull back from online and lean into stewarding a beautiful life.
What do you have? What’s available to you right now? What can you do with the time, space, and resources that are at your fingertips?