Monday, January 7, 2013
A Fast From the World
Just so you know, you will not be seeing much of me this month, with the exception of my weekly posts, which may be shorter than usual. (Stop sighing with relief, I can HEAR you!)
You see, the last Sunday of December (which happened to be my birthday, happybirthdaytome), our bishop extended an invitation to our ward. He invited us to participate in a “Fast From the World”. (When he said this, another mother who was standing out in the foyer with me said, “Did he say ‘a fast from the world’ or a ‘fast for the world’?” I said, “I think a ‘fast for the world.’ The other one doesn’t really make any sense.” Well, I was wrong.)
Our “Fast From the World” means that we are fasting from those things of the world that distract us from what is most important. He talked about TV, movies, video games, facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and gratuitous texting and e-mailing. He asked us to take the time we would normally spend on those things and use it instead to build relationships with our families, draw closer to the Lord, and improve our talents. He reminded us that missionaries live this lifestyle for two years, and it cultivates a mind and spirit prepared to receive promptings from the Holy Ghost. He promised us that we could receive similar blessings by doing the same.
When he explained all this, I got really excited (because I’m a nerd). This was something I’d been wanting to do for awhile. I could feel how Pinterest, facebook, and e-mailing were sucking up so much of my time, and how even though I used them to relax, I never felt relaxed after doing them. In fact, I often felt more stressed because they were really just a way to avoid my responsibilities, like cleaning and laundry. When my laptop closed or I switched the tv off, the piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and crumby floors were still there. Wasting my time watching tv or puttering away on the internet was keeping me from being the wife and mom I wanted to be. They were an addiction, plain and simple. I needed to go cold turkey.
So on January 1st, our whole world changed. My kids now have a mom who is present, who is reading to them (The Mysterious Benedict Society is a REALLY fun book, btw), playing games with them, teaching them how to cook and having them help me with chores. My husband and I are talking more than ever before, and each night we laugh over the games we play together. He helps me much more around the house because…well, he has nothing else to do! I have found time to read my scriptures each day, read church books that have been collecting dust on my shelves for years, and I have actually surprised myself with the quality of writing I’ve been able to achieve. I’ve also put significantly more time into my calling (Primary music chorister) and I know that I have been blessed for it, and that the children will be blessed as well.
Possibly the most significant change is that I have found that this fast has given me a constant sense of caution, and caused me to think carefully about everything I do, asking myself, Should I be doing this? Is this in keeping with the spirit of the fast? I think that this constant questioning and awareness is something we all need in all aspects of our lives. We should always be asking ourselves, Should I be doing this? Is this in keeping with the commandments of the Lord?
I’m sure this all sounds quite ideal, but let me assure you that it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Like last week when my littlest ones were still recovering from the flu- I was DESPERATE to just plunk my clingy, whining, snot-covered 3-year-old in front of the tv, but I resisted. I decided it was something I needed to figure out how to deal with, and that tv was a crutch both for me and for her. It wasn’t easy, but I survived, and I feel stronger for it.
So for the next few weeks at least, our world seems a little quieter, life runs a little slower, and I can think a little clearer. I will be sure to keep you updated as our “Fast from the World” progresses…