It is now 75 days since I committed myself to going iPod-free for 100 days. During that time I have only listened to a smattering of music and three sermons from my iPod, all while it was plugged into the speakers in our kitchen (which was permissible under my plan). What have I learned from this experience so far?
The iPod itself is neither good or bad, it is what and how I choose to listen to it that can be good or bad.
My thoughts can be just as distracted without any audio input! I need to limit all sources of trivial input into my life.
I actually need a lot more ‘down’ time than I thought.
I am reading and then thinking about what I have read. My thinking is going deeper than it had previously been.
It has taken a while, but my thought habits have changed, I am now able to recall what I was musing over yesterday while waiting at the bus stop and pick it up to continue chewing over. I consider this somewhat bovine habit to be beneficial as I think, pray and occasionally write about where I am at with God (2 Timothy 2:7).
Interestingly, two weeks ago I couldn’t wait for this experiment to be over, now I am not sure if I will bother carting an iPod around with me even once my 100 days are done!
As I considered the changes in my thinking I have realized how good it is to have ‘down’ time when my brain can just chill-out and not have to think about anything in particular, I can just let my thoughts wander. Coincidentally, I came across this blog post discussing why Being bored is a precious thing and was gratified that someone else shares my viewpoint (and a clever person at that!).
Maybe it is partly because my work requires me to be thinking and concentrating all day, but whatever the reason, I seem to need a lot of time to let my mind unwind before I can really re-focus upon God and living my faith. I do think about God and Christian stuff a lot, but generally on a fairly superficial, factual/informational level. I think it is important to go deeper, to wrestle with where I am at with God and what needs to be addressed in me. I want to know Christ, to get there I need to get real about whether I am obeying his call of ‘follow me’ (John 21:22). This requires quietness of heart so that I can notice as the Word of God addresses me. That might take five hours hauling firewood to get quiet enough internally to see what Christ is showing me.
I’m not talking about quiet time here — noise is fine, talking to the kids is fine, what is needed is freedom from having to concentrate on anything in particular, or needing to solve problems, or having my thoughts dragged off in a particular direction by whatever I happen to be listening to. Even if I am listening to sermons on my iPod for that time I miss what God is saying to me about me and Him. I might hear lots of other good stuff, yet miss what’s most important.