Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Black Out- A Lenten Proposal

I've been mulling over for sometime now what I want to do for lent. I LOVE lent. I NEED lent. Every year, I always have such grand plans to cleanse my soul and rid my inner being once and for all of something I am struggling with.

I was speaking with some friends last night and we were talking about the intense pull of the computer some time for hours, often times for fifteen or so minutes, but whatever it may be think of what we could be putting into our spiritual lives without this continual distraction.

I read in the Magnificat yesterday the following,

"So I advise you to love nothing except Him. For He is so desirable that if you have him, you will not be able to desire anything else."

Also, I found this gem in Matthew Kelley's book "Rediscovering Catholicism":

"When our children know more about teen pop-idols than they do about Jesus Christ, it is time for us to reassess the place and priority our faith has in our lives."

I translated the following to my life. When I spend more time on-line than I do with Christ, I need to reassess my life. When I spend more time reading different blogs or websites than I spend time reading about Jesus Christ, I need to reassess my life. When I spend time comparing my life to others to see how I am doing over comparing my life to Christ's life, I need to reassess my life. When I have no trouble spending an hour or so on a blog post, but haven't spent an hour with Jesus first, I REALLY need to reassess my life. When I will check my email just "one more time" before going to bed over saying "one more prayer", I need to reassess my life.

My life is out of order. I am not involved in immoral things, but simply put again, my life is out of order. I was telling my friend Kristi today that we are to experience Lent in a way that changes our lives. We are to have a metanoia. What does metanoia mean? The definition is as follows:
a transformative change of heart; especially : a spiritual conversion. Greek, from metanoiein to change one's mind, repent.

I need this. I crave this. I want this. I know the only way possible for this to happen this lent is to step away from the number one thing in my life that is distracting me and keeping me from Christ literally, physically, and spiritually. It is the computer.

I first thought of not doing facebook. Then, I decided to not read other blogs, websites, etc., but would have John check my email and then relay any information that was important. Finally, I decided that I am literally unplugging the computer. It will be a complete black out.

My mind has been occupied all day of what this will entail and the thoughts I had regarding the issue is that we only have goodness to gain. What will we miss?

For several years, my mother and I gave up calling each other all during lent. We talk multiple times every day so this was excruciating. We also had another stipulation. You had to write the other person a hand-written letter every day to tell the other of the events of the day, what we are learning from this phone fast, other thoughts, and just small talk in general. I still have these letter treasures. I loved getting the mail every day.

Just think of the wonderful advantages for this proposal. More letters will be written, more phone calls will be made, more thinking/creating for ourselves will be done instead of turning to certain blogs for inspirational ideas, more sleep will be had, more books will be read, more holy hours will be said, more talking will be done, more playing with children, less comparison, less feeling inadequate, more prayer time which will replace screen time. Tons and tons of reflection. I can honestly not think of one draw back.

Lent only lasts 47 days (technically) so what will be lost? There is nothing so urgent that cannot be put on hold for these 47 days. We have a good 2 1/2 weeks to get organized. Let people know that you will not be on the computer so if they need to tell you something, they must call, come over, or write you a letter. I know several people who do banking on-line, so you might have to make a few visits to your bank to get that months statement, but remember it is only 47 days, this can be done.

I know I do most of my communicating with friends via email so one might think that they don't have the time to call so and so for this or that. Just think of the time saved by not being on-line. I am sure it doesn't compare to a few phone calls here and there. Some might be worried about keeping up their blog and recording certain events. This is were I plan to journal and then transfer the information after Easter and even if I don't get the event down, really was it that crazy important?

We have a Catholic church right across the street from our home. One would think that one would visit the Son of God every day because He lives across the street. Well, that little diddy is about to change. I want to visit Him every day. I want to replace screen time with getting to know Christ. Shame on me for making the computer a bigger priority than my spiritual life. Shame on me for not walking across the street every night before sitting down to the computer. Shame on me for not picking up a spiritual book and deepening my faith before getting on-line. Shame on me for turning to the computer first when I have a child worry instead of walking over and asking God what to do.

I want to have a conversion. My brother Andrew and I were talking the other day about life's "game changers." You know, the times we look back upon our lives and can say that a certain event, certain book, certain conversation literally changed the course of our lives. I want this lenten experience to be a game changer.

Andrew told me a beautiful story. I called him last week and we were chatting like usual and I asked him if ever worried about losing one of his children to sickness. I had been to the Pediatrician with Clairvaux that day and he (the doctor) wanted to send us on to a Pediatric Pulmonologist to have her throat/lungs looked at. It probably will involve a scope, an MRI, and possibly surgery because of narrowing of the subglottic region of her throat. I cried all week. The thought of my darling baby in surgery just does me in. I do not trust, but I want to trust. Anyway, he said he doesn't worry about losing his children, but he does worry about providing for his family. He said that it consumes him sometimes and even brings him to tears.

So, he then told me his remedy. He said at his holy hour, he literally walks up to the altar and lays his worries on the altar. Physically with his arms, he lays his worries down and says to God, "They are yours." Wow.

Then, he told me that his bills were really tight this past month and they literally didn't have enough money so guess what he did? He said, "Lindsay, I made myself write a big fat tithing check to show God how much I trust Him." That blew me away. THAT was a game changer for me.

I want to have that faith with my children. I want to lay my worries physically on the altar of sacrifice and say to God, "They are yours." I want to be able to say when I am worried about Clairvaux, "Lord, she is yours, not mine." In order to get to this point, I need to spend more time with Christ. I need a conversion of my current way of thinking. I need to pray more. I need to sit more with Him to even have those conversations.

I write to you out there in blog land to take this challenge with me. Let us do this together. Let us see how much we can grow. Let us see how far we can be stretched to show ourselves how much we need Christ and nothing else. So, I return to the beginning of this post.

Are we so full of Him, that we need nothing else?
Do we know more about Christ than we know about anything else in our lives? Do we spend the majority of our time getting to know Him more or other distractions?

Please join me. Won't it be wonderful to read, talk, and write about our experiences after Lent? Won't it be so refreshing at the end? Won't it be worth it?

To me, nothing is more worth it. Let us prepare now.


  1. I've had this on my mind off and on all day today since you mentioned it last night. I don't think I can go non-computer, but I'm giving thought to an internet free lent. Whatever I decide, there are some serious computer restrictions in my future, and I'm looking forward to the challenge!

  2. It's been on my heart today too. I'm 100% giving up all social media - blogs, twitter, and facebook. I don't know if I can survive without email.

  3. And I hope ALL of our friends join in because then it will be easier a.because we will not have to wonder what they're up to in cyberspace and b.we can motivate each other to live authentically and connect without this MACHINE.

  4. The past two lents I've given up the internet, with the exceptions of email and what I considered "necessary" use - i.e. bill paying and managing library books. I did allow myself to check blogs on Sunday evenings and do shopping. It was wonderful! Every year I tell myself I should just continue doing this after Easter (along with my other resolutions!) and somehow it never happens. Do you ever wish Lent came twice a year?
    I'll pray for Clairvaux. Andrew, you rock.

  5. you think that this may be something that crosses the minds of many...bloggers, mothers, people??? I ask that only because I have been thinking the exact same thing, but of course I had, email, etsy. After reading your post though, I think that I could totally be up for the challenge. It has been on my mind for weeks now. I have a running mental list of all the STUFF that I want to purge during lent. I'm not sure about email, but reducing checking it only twice a day and maybe just via my phone so I don't even have to open my computer?? I can turn my Etsy store off for 47 days...maybe I'll finally get some of my own sewing done! A little more thinking to do there. Yes, yes, I think that I am up to the challenge...thanks for taking it to the next level! :)

  6. I love this! I must have missed this conversation last night. I'm in. We do online banking so I like Amy's suggestion of just doing that as necessary. And I like how we have 2.5 weeks to prepare. Great post~!

  7. thank you for always helping me along.... I cherish knowing you.

  8. This has been on my mind for awhile. I've given up certain forms of internet before but have made exceptions for this and that. When did email become a necessity like food, air, and water to me? Its funny and its not. I want to do the blackout. But I'm awfully weak. I might have to give you my mouse. :)

  9. I really like this idea. I think that since my biggest form of communication is e-mail, I couldn't cut myself off completely, but I do need to schedule and limit my time at the computer. I think that's a good idea for lent; to schedule and limit. God first, spouse second, children third, computer deeeeaaaaad last.

  10. I have been planning on giving up Facebook, blogs, and only checking email on Sunday (instead of every time my phone tells me I have a message)...and I thought that was going to be hard!

  11. I'm not catholic, but I am Christian and I do believe participating in a computer-fast would be so good for my soul & spirit. Thank you for sharing and for the challenge. I will pray for your little girl, for Jesus to heal her body. And I really will, I never casually say that I will pray for someone. Be Blessed. If you're wondering how I stumble across your blog, Erin Hayes is my cousin :-)

  12. This is a beautiful, honest, and thought-provoking post. While my at-home job doesn't allow me to be internet-free, I do need to make changes in the time I spend on the computer in relation to the time I spend with God and with the family. Thank you and blessings on your Lenten journey!! I am sure it will be fruitful beyond imagining.

  13. Lindsay..what about those of us out there who need your blog?!? Ha! Wow! Thank you so much for this post!

  14. Darn it Lenten resolution was to read your blog MORE often. But you're right, it's amazing how much time can be wasted on the internet when you could be saying a prayer instead. I expect full documentation after you return to us!


  15. Your post was the final sign! I gave up facebook last lent and never returned. It was a true time sucker for me. I told my hubby a few weeks ago that I wanted to shut my computer off on Ash Wed. Of course his hopes are different and said, "Oh great, you're going to start sewing again and you'll probably make all of my clothes." haha! Thanks for encouraging me and I'm glad I won't be the only one! :)

  16. I am going to try to do will be very hard for me, but I agree with you and want to do this for God and as an example to my kids...will try and get what we need done on the computer done before Lent starts so I am not as tempted...