I believe that my cable bill with this past statement will get me service through July 2nd. That means that we are less than 15 days away from the amputation. It’s exciting. I am still spending too much time online, but it will all change shortly. I drove around a bit and I believe there are at least three places within three miles of my home that I will be able to send and receive emails and do whatever else I need to get done (download bank statements, check balances online, etc.) from the privacy of my car. Ha.
Total LIFE Makeover
I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey for the last three months now and I have begun to be brainwashed. This summer represents the beginning of a new life transformation for me in many regards. The finances and the internet/cable are a step, but they are by no means comprehensive. I have a renewed outlook on things. I am looking at things more from the long-range perspective. Something he mentions in the Total Money Makeover book is that so often in American society, we sacrifice the future for the present.
I Don’t Want To Retire And Eat Alpo!
It’s a dismal picture, but it represents the future of many Americans. Shopping for food in the pet food aisle. I am making dramatic changes now that will “change my family tree.” It is challenging, but I see it as a fun challenge. I should be completely debt free within two years and then begin to really pile money into retirement and give, give, give to people and ministries. It’s exciting. But it takes time. You see, the best way to get rich quick is to not get right quick. The best way to lose weight is to lose weight slowly. Anything challenging takes slow, methodical progress. Success is the result of consistently doing the right stuff. Quick results are frequently not that common with successful plans. I am able to see that in my job so easily, and yet I have failed thus far to see that in other aspects of my personal life.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Seek Ye First
Idolatry is placing anything between us and Christ. Why do I place so many things between us? Because I am human. But that is a lousy excuse. So why do I do it? Because I am not allowing the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct me. So sad. But I have been reading books the last two weeks. I have embarked on my plan to finish the New Testament by the end of June. I am in a much better place than I was. But I still allow distractions to creep in. I still allow myself to drift.
I will close out my internet and cable connections at the end of this month. I have discovered that the world of wireless internet connections outside my home is vast. The world of unsecured wireless internet connections is slightly less vast, and yet widely available. I am safer accessing the internet for brief periods of time to upload emails and download podcasts. I am excited about the prospect. This means much more focus time at home. This means much more time to spend with friends.
One of my friends is moving. He got another job. He will be going back to his hometown. I am sad.
It is difficult for me to establish good friendships and we have developed a very strong one since he moved her slightly less than a year ago. It is even more difficult for me to FIND single men around my age who are dedicated to serving Christ. But I know that this whole thing means that God has tremendous things in store for both of us. I am looking forward to continuing the friendship despite the distance. But I am scared.
I would say that he is easily one of less than four guys I have had good solid Christian friendships with. We work together, so we have that bond. We agree on some pretty strongly held theological points. We are both tremendous fans of grace. We have both come through and still confront some of the same struggles. But my God is bigger than this. My God shall supply all my need. I need a male friend who will hold me accountable. I need a guy with whom I can discuss deep spiritual things one minute and sit down and eat a pizza and play a board game with the next.
So much for society’s mold of a man who is completely independent. So much for Hollywood’s view of strength. I have heard it said that meekness is not weakness; it is God’s power under control. Heavenly Father, I pray that you make me meek. Make me a man of humility.
Posted by Joel at 9:50 PM
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The Time For Transformation Has Arrived
So here’s the deal. I have a great deal of areas in my life that I have been ignoring for too long. Way too many areas. It is high time to rectify those problem areas; time to rebuild altars to the Lord where the ungodly altars have been established for far too long. Some of these altars were torn down at one point or another, but they have all been in place for far too long and merely continue to grow. For when a problem is neglected, it ferments and becomes much more potent.
Cultural Detox Is The Beginning
For the remainder of June, my computer/internet time will consist of little more than checking emails in the morning and checking emails in the afternoon. No Instant Messenger. No hours spent squandering precious seconds into minutes and hours. No video games. No browsing myspace profiles. No downloading the hottest, latest, greatest programs. No web searches. Email.
Radical Change Demands Radical Changes
I have done it before and I will do it again. This time for real. Cable and internet go away on July 1st. I am sick of wasting time. You see, it is not simply my time that is wasted. It is not simply my innocence that is sacrificed through popup ads, over sexualized imagery, and reading horrible things that people type. It is a spiritual battle. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Life is a spiritual battle. I have allowed the internet to creep in once again and hinder my fighting the good fight.
Responsibility Ushers In Discipline
I am responsible for this, and I accept that responsibility. I must now take the responsibility to overcome these problems. As a result, I stand here at the brink of life-altering changes. When I did this once before, it was wonderful seeing the growth I experienced. Now I am committing to a much longer period of freedom from the net. It is definitely for at least a year. In June of 2007, I will reexamine to see where things stand and see if I want to bring it back in.
Discipline Leads To The Path Of Righteousness
As I become more disciplined in my life, I will spend more time seeking the Lord. This discipline will come in some key areas. Specifically, I envision becoming more disciplined in:
Spending/Saving Habits (Thank you Dave Ramsey)
Thought Patterns – specifically regarding lust issues
Sleep Habits (without television or internet, why not go to sleep earlier?)
Righteousness Leads To The Face of God
As I shed these things, I will outwardly demonstrate the inward change. Just as when Moses’ face shone after he spent time in communion with God on the Mount, so will my countenance become brighter. Additionally, I expect to lose weight as a result of being more attentive to the foods I eat and the amount of exercising that I do.
So Does This Mean Complete Internet Rejection?
Absolutely not. I am fortunate that I have a notebook computer that has a built in wireless receiver. I am also fortunate that I live in a place where there are a handful of free wireless networks lingering around town. I will experiment with them some over the next few weeks. Sending and receiving emails through Outlook (write and read offline, upload and download online), publishing occasional blog posts, and catching up on podcasts should all be things that minimal internet connectivity through free wireless networks will handle.
Posted by Joel at 12:10 AM