It's a funny relationship we have with the internet, isn't it?
The information that is available at our fingertips. The entertainment we can access from our phone. The connections we can maintain with loved ones far away. The ability to work from home, shop amazon while waiting in the dentist's office, order pizza with a click, find definitions and facts in less than a moment. It's amazing, really, this crazy thing we have called the internet.
And yet, sometimes I have the feeling when I'm browsing the internet that is similar to the feeling of being stuffed full as you get up to take another round at the buffet. Too much already. Can't take in anything else. Guess I'll get more.
I've heard people refer to pinterest envy, the feeling that their lives should be as awesome and photo worthy as the items on their pinterest board.
I've had friends who had to get off facebook, said that they couldn't shake the feeling that, for them, facebook was a competition.
And then there's the time sucking element, the fact that you can hop on to pay a bill, and suddenly it's three hours and 21 youtube clips of BBC's Emma later, and you can't remember why you got on in the first place.
Each of those is reality, though they aren't my particular kryptonite I would explain my issue with the internet as discernment fatigue.
I'm kind of an idea junkie. I like to read about ideas and movements and controversies. I like to know the discussions that are going on, who is making what points, who is or isn't showing up to the debate.
I've also always enjoyed reading about current events. I like to know, in general, what's happening in the news. And I'm curious about the hot topics in evangelical Christianity. And there's parenting trends that I am keeping an eye on. Homeschool legislation that I feel like I should watch. I read author blogs, publishing trends, and other wannabe writer stuff. And pop culture- I'm always curious about what is in, and how to think about that.
It occurred to me a few days ago, that the reason I find the hobby of "keeping up on things" so exhausting is that I am constantly reading something, reading other sources on that same thing, and then asking myself this question: how should I think about this?
And for someone who finds decision making very difficult AND has a hard time knowing my own mind, this is a recipe for discernment fatigue. I am simply tired of thinking about what is best, what is wise, what is Christ-like in this moment.
And just a few days ago, I had to remind myself (again), that I don't need to know what I think on all these things.
It's OK if I can't weigh in on Jesus Feminist.
No one really cares what I think of the upcoming movie, Noah.
I can admit that I don't understand unschooling, and maybe I never will.
I also like to read about the Common Core, but the Today Show isn't going to call me for an interview.
I can stop trying to reconcile the fact that Christians like Rachel Held Evans and Mark Driscoll both believe they are seeking the Kingdom- in opposition to each other.
I feel the need to take a side, to know my mind, to have a statement ready.
The truth is, my opinions are a work in progress. And if there ever is a moment where what I think about something really does matter, I can trust that God will give me wisdom in that moment.
But for the time being, I can settle with being informed, being aware, and being connected to Christ. He's got this.
And truthfully, I'm not so sure that He is all that concerned with our well-thought out, concise and tweetable bullet points. Maybe He wants me to wrestle, to consider, to pray, to seek discernment. Maybe He leaves me in the dark a bit so that I will have compassion when others are there. Maybe He is more comfortable with the grey space, doesn't need the black-and-white for it all to make sense.
Or maybe, just maybe, He wants me to step away from the computer, turn off my phone, shut the laptop, and remember that real life is happening, right here and right now. Maybe the wearing out is a sign that I've maxed out, that I've taken in more than my made-from-dust brain can handle. That's it's time to let life happen and let my thoughts sort themselves out in the midst of that.
Either way, I've been very freed by the thought that I don't have to know, don't have to form rock-solid opinions, that I can be growing in my understanding of ideas.
What about you, do you have a certain downfall when it comes to the internet?