No, I am not giving up anything to make there be less of me. I have had such a fraught relationship with food for many years that I now think of food more in terms of health, and life-long dietary modification rather than a short-term abstinence (with a longer term rebound, perhaps).
No, I am going to give up a minor addiction. I have broken a serious coffee addiction, and milder addictions to chocolate and sugar, and thought I was addiction free, but no.
The mild addiction I have, which I hadn’t realized was one until recently, is a mild internet addiction.
Quaerentia, (which is the fanciful blog name of a priest called Mark Meynell who writes a very interesting literary/Christian blog) has an article called Webwise.
In it, he talks of
“ADDICTIONS – Surfing is addictive: like a infinitely-channelled TV where you keep flicking over in the vain hope that there may be something more interesting to look at. Furthermore, you can get sucked into thinking that just because information is available, it is necessarily important or useful. [NB Wurman’s Information Anxiety (Indianapolis: QUE 2001): I haven’t even mentioned the more obvious porn or gambling addictions that the internet can feed. I’m just talking about plain old surfing.”
I co-own a small publishing company with my husband, I am an active blogger on lightly monetized blogs, I keep in touch with many people. So, much that is interesting to me comes via the internet–business news, money earned, blog comments, emails.
And when there is nothing of interest–which is, of course, the case for more minutes than not?
I surf. Click to the New York Times for something fascinating, to the Guardian, to Christianity Today, to my own blog, to Lesley’s blog, other friends’ blogs, blogs on my blog roll, to Facebook, to my personal email, to our business email. A little internet fox’s trail. All this will yield something of interest probably. And then, when it is time to get up, exercise, do some housework, stretch and do some real writing, I can repeat the little fox’s trail. Find something else of interest or distraction. And then do a last email check before I get up. Some has come in, deal with it. And then….
I do most things with a timer on, count up or count down, and when I look at the timer, I am frequently baffled. Did I really need to read the New York Times article on the 87 year old billionaire planning his 125 birthday, or the global cash flow from immigrant women in domestic work abroad (half the GDP of the Philippines, incidentally, 35% of Tajikistan) or how men’s sexual prospects are increasing even as their job prospects diminish? http://www.slate.com/id/2286240// Apparently, I thought so at the time.
* * *
Now, if I am to be a writer as well as a blogger–and write more books rather than just blogs–I obviously need to break this time-consuming addiction.
And I now think that with soul perturbations as with bodily dysfunctions, much time can be saved by getting a correct diagnosis.
Jesus had one in John 6, Unless you eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you have no life in you. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on me will live because of me.
So, this is temporary emptiness of soul. I am trying to fill it with blogs, and newspapers, and magazines, and news, and twitter and facebook checks and rubbish.
Will it work? Will it fill my soul? No. I hope not. It cannot.
* * *
So since the lights came on after reading Quaerentia’s article, I close my laptop when I notice I am aimlessly surfing, and pray for the Holy Spirit.
I often think of a lecture illustration I once saw. A woman filled a goblet with car keys, and house keys medals and coins and notes and necklaces and rings and bling and there was still room. Still emptiness.
She then poured water–and every atom of space was filled.
So that is what I need–not distraction, not surfing, but the water of the Holy Spirit filling my restless soul.
And fortunately, Jesus promises that his Father WILL give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks for it.
And I know that is true because I have asked many times. And received.
As I will do again and again when I find myself aimlessly surfing on dry ground, with a laptop on my lap.
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