The end of this fast seems to be pretty successfully summed up in this one quote.
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” John Piper
Yep, how are your toes? Mine are killing me.
Once again I have lived through a fast. A giving up of something that seemed like a necessary part of my every day, and.I.lived. Not only did I live, but with the exception of a few precious grandparents, I doubt very much that the world missed me. I couldn't tweet about my experience in Walmart, I couldn't text my bestie about the ridiculously cute/annoying/funny/painful thing that the Bug did that day. And we all lived.
I think that this month away from Media (TV, Facebook, Twitter, Fun Blogs, YouTube, Music, Pinterest, Texting) has taught me two things. The first is it isn't the big things that steal your time. I rarely sit down at the computer and open Facebook and spend 3 hours on it (I am not going to say it hasn't ever happened but it is a rare case) however it is the text that pops through with a funny story, or the message that dings telling me that someone liked/commented on one of my posts. It is the fact that I want to stop and share whatever just happened to me with the world. Those 20 seconds here, 1 minute there, 3 quick minutes all add up to a lot of distraction. A LOT. Then it takes my focus away, I have to get my mind back on track and happening that over and over again makes me feel like I can't think straight. The multitasking is actually multi-distasking. Making everything take longer and the result has a much lower quality. I already have to work with a 3 year old hanging, climbing, jumping on me... as if I really need any other distractions.
The second thing that this month has taught me is how narcissistic I am. Once again, just like my struggles with materialism, I wouldn't have thought I was narcissistic. I tend to feel like I am a pretty giving person and I try to focus on others a lot but, when the rubber meets the road, I really think a lot of myself. I want to share with others about me all day long. I remember the first few days of the fast when I would think of something funny and then realize that I couldn't share it with the world and actually feel unhappy about it. Really Amy? There are MUCH bigger things to be thinking about. I am so thankful for yet another mirror that has been held in front of me so that I could actually see the planks in my eyes (yes, there are more than a few!).
I think about how often I felt like there weren't enough hours in the day to accomplish time with God, cleaning my home, doing laundry, etc. Yes, even on this fast I still had days where getting to everything was difficult but for the most part my home was cleaner, our clothes were put away and my time with the Lord was sweeter (probably due to the lack of distractions).
So, back to the quote at the beginning of the post. I am pretty sure John Piper hit the nail on the head with this one. It makes me sad that I look back over the years and see that I have wasted so much time on things that matter so very very little. So, what is going to change? I am so glad you asked. First, I have a limit set on fun-web access during the work week. If I have lived my day well, then at 9pm I can get onto my fun-web thing of choice. If I haven't then I need to spend the time taking care of the thing that was missed and then I can get my fun-web time. If it is the weekend I will have more flexibility. I have also moved a treadmill into my bedroom (I know so romantic). The idea is that if I am going to waste time watching television, because let's be honest, it is usually a waste, at least I can burn some calories and get in the workout that I "don't have time for".
More than anything I want to be purposeful to keep the main thing, the main thing.
I want to make sure my time with God has the highest priority in my day (by the way, ever since I did that I have had better, more fulfilling, longer days and a girlfriend of mine did the same thing with the same results). The thing is it used to feel like work to read the Bible (I know, some people may be offended that I am saying that but the truth is the truth). Now, I really look forward to it. I have gotten so much out of reading through the New Testament that I am sad I am almost to the end but strangely excited that I can start it over and get even more reading it again. More than anything I want to know that I am looking to God to fill my days and that I am not giving them away and wasting them. The Bible says that we are but a vapor on this earth. I want my short time here to matter. I want to be used by God to the fullest. I think about a story that Francis Chan shares about a special grandmother figure in the family. The whole family goes to see a play and during intermission he leans over and asks the grandmother if she is enjoying the play. She looks at him with concern in her face and says something to the effect that she wasn't sure that was where she would want Jesus to find her if He came back. It is the idea that she would rather be focused on God, praying or doing work for Him than at that play. What passion and clarity to live life by! I find that I am thinking more and more about the day when I meet Him face to face and I give an account for my life. Not my sins, those are completely covered by the blood of Christ and I know that I will be with God in eternity. I am talking about the account of what I did with what He gave me. There are a few years where I had the privilege to work in ministry and I feel like I spent those days well but when I look back over my life I see more waste than benefit. That is not what I want my life to show. When He comes back I want Him to find me busy at work for Him. Please Jesus.
I am taking a few days before going into the next, final fast. It will be a fast from Stress that will involve taking a Sabbath and purposefully pausing to pray throughout the day. It will be interesting because it is less like giving up and more like adding in. Thank you for taking this journey with me. I still highly recommend the book Seven by Jen Hatmaker. Even if you do not take on some of the fasts like I did, it will still have a profound impact on your life if you let it.