Russell and Duenes

What Is It About Digital Addictions that Make Us Think the Occasional Break Will Suffice?

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So asks Cal Newport, the blogger at Study Hacks. I love Newport, and particularly his book: So Good They Can’t Ignore You. In a post entitled, “Digital Sabbaticals Don’t Make Sense,” Newport observes,

“[F]or most any other behavior that lures you in with positive attributes, but then takes over your life and drives you to exhaustion, our standard response is that you need to radically and permanently reduce or eliminate that behavior. The same could and should apply to the world of the digital.”

My experience confirms Newport’s observation. I have gone on a few “internet fasts” in the past, and they are nice while I’m on them, but once I go off them, I’m back to feasting on blogs just as I did before. So I agree with Newport that if one is concerned about his or her internet usage, one needs a radical and permanent change in internet behavior.

I know I spend too much time reading blogs. It’s like a compulsion when I have free moments (and sometimes when I don’t). But how do I change my behavior? Simply decide to? Not without Christ’s help and a good dose of intentionality. I must intend, with God’s help, to repent of my disobedience to God’s command to “redeem the time.” And I must be intentional about creating and following through on a plan or strategy for radically and permanently altering my internet behavior.

I don’t want to rash about some alteration and then simply fail, but I don’t want to make excuses either. As with all things, I want any change to be based on the power of God’s grace and not simply on some “laws” I set up for myself. My affection for blogs must be replaced by a superior affection for other things. So I think instead of telling myself how I will “give up” the internet, I ought to think about what I’d like to pursue in its place, and then focus on that pursuit.

Those are my initial thoughts. I may write more as I implement a plan and find some success with it.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

September 12, 2015 at 8:30 pm

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