image courtesy D. Sharon Pruitt
There is much to love about Internet access at home. There is also much to monitor. As wives and mothers, our struggle is much more subtle than what many men face on the web, but it can become an addiction just as easily.
“…they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house.”
(1 Timothy 5:13)
While most of us do not literally go from house to house these days, the Internet provides an easy avenue of doing exactly what the apostle Paul warned women against. With a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse, we can instantly travel from “house to house”, blog by blog. When life within our home seems somewhat dull and ordinary (and let’s face it, that happens a lot), the Internet offers an easy and alluring way to lift our spirits.
As we go “house to house,” we can easily feel like life is more exciting in just about everyone else’s home, and ours is the only one that is so plain. This breeds discouragement and discontentment. The less confident we become in what we’re doing within our homes, the more we turn to blogs and other sites to provide encouragement, give us confidence, and an overall boost. The cycle perpetuates itself.
Unlike viewing certain sites (that rhyme with "corn"), visiting a tasteful blog or other helpful website is not in itself sinful. Quite the contrary. There are countless places providing great encouragement and resources for growing in Christ, marriage, motherhood, homemaking, homeschooling, budgeting and much more. They teach us how to shop wisely and save money; how to get a handle on schooling, housework, potty-training, temper tantrums, entertaining; and the list goes on. I have gleaned much wisdom from some high-quality blogs, and I hope to provide the same for you here at Moms In Need of Mercy.
The blessings of our online world can work against us, though, if we are not careful where we place our contentment. One can quickly realize just how addicted to the Internet she is by how difficult it is for her to go without it for a day or two, or more. I realize how addicted I am to it. (To be perfectly honest, checking email is the first thing I want to do in the morning. I discipline myself not to, but I can hardly get through breakfast dishes without feeling myself magnetically pulled to my laptop to check in for two minutes.)
“Modern inventions have provided a way for a woman to stay at home and still not be a keeper at home. We can sit at home in body while traveling in spirit by means of the telephone and the computer. You cannot keep your home and everybody else’s at the same time…
Keeping the home is more than staying at home; it is having a heart that is fixed on the home.”
So if you realize this is more of a struggle in your life than you’d like, what do you do?
-Begin by repenting of any specific sins caused by this struggle (lack of contentment, neglecting home or children, etc.) and ask God for His help.
-Discipline yourself to limit your time online. I always feel convicted when I feel like I am showing my computer more personal attention than my children at any given time.
-It’s truly a heart issue. Going to the computer to print a few coupons, check your bank balance, read a few fun blogs is not a problem. But if the real reason I’m going to my computer is to find a higher degree of excitement than I feel in the midst of my relatively ordinary day, then for me, I know I need to work on being more content in my circumstances.
-The goal we’re aiming for is finding our joy fully in our relationship with the Lord first and foremost; then with our families, and in our homes. If we’ve got that down, the Internet won’t compete for attention we should be providing to our husbands, children, home, and other relationships. I think it’s a process to learn to be fully content where God’s called us, without any outside influences. Yet Paul assures us, it is possible:
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Despite whatever impression we come away with from traveling "house to house," I am coming to believe--more and more--that few people feel like fairy dust falls at their house all day, every day. But we can make magical moments with our families--just not while we're on the Internet and they're off doing something else.