Gratitude Day 589

Genesis 35:2 – Jacob said to his household and to everyone who was with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you. Clean yourselves and change your clothes.

At least once a week, Hubby Rick comments about how much time I spend “staring into a computer screen.” He thinks it’s wayyyyyy too much.

He is right. Without a doubt.

Add in the time that I’m on my phone? Man, it’s depressing.

Some of it IS good. Helpful. Part of how I connect and share.

But some of the other stuff? Not so much.

The irony is not lost on me that you are staring into some type of screen right now as you read these words.

The question is valid: is the internet a net positive or a net negative for society?

If we had a conversation with our closest friends, I think the conclusion would be this: it depends.

It depends on how an individual chooses to use it. There are a lot of really good things out there. If he was completely honest, Hubby Rick would have to declare the benefits of being able to spend hours and hours and hours windowing shopping for just the right motorcycle … while still in his pj’s. (Sidenote … he’s STILL shopping.)

Yet, we need boundaries with the internet as well. If I don’t check e-mail for a one day, there are usually over 100 emails sitting there, waiting for my attention. A huge bunch of these are spam/junk emails. But mixed in with these are always a couple emails that I need to sort out.

When I look at my inbox of known senders, there are still way too many emails. These emails want your time and attention. They want you to purchase someone or click through so they can earn affiliate income. Sometimes, the click throughs are helpful. Other times, I get sucked into something that took way too much time without a lot of return on my investment.

I don’t have a good suggestion for dealing with the spam/junk emails that regularly show up. Earlier this winter, I became a more dedicated gmail user. But I still receive emails that I definitely did not request. I haven’t completely let go of my decades-long go-to Hotmail account which continues to be bombarded with spam email.

Recently, I have found myself unsubscribing from emails that I don’t need. Too often, I’ve allowed them to continue to clutter my inbox. I’m trying to be more discerning about what I keep showing up and demanding my time, energy and attention. If I don’t create boundaries and limit the time I spend in my email accounts, then it’s my own fault.

Spend a few minutes unsubscribing from those email lists that aren’t providing you benefit. (Yes, I know I run the risk of being one of those emails that gets unsubscribed!) Just stop them. See how it makes you feel when you have a little less stuff in your inbox.

A few other ideas about navigating the internet:

  1. Not everything on the internet is true. I know this is Captain Obvious but it needs saying. Nearly every piece of information, picture, video, etc. can be manipulated these days.  
  2. Social media is a stream. Information just keeps coming and coming. You shouldn’t experience it all. Don’t try to keep up. Hop in quickly and hop out just as quickly. Set a timer as a way to monitor how much time you spend on social media.
  3. Think creation over consumption. Be picky about where, how and why you check out on the internet. Choose the positive ways of internet consumption over hours of endless and mindless consumption.
  4. Choose which voices you listen to regularly. Let the rest go. There are folks who put out really, really good stuff. They fill my heart and soul and touch me. Subscribe to these folks. Enjoy them. Pick just a few and let the rest go.
  5. Avoid disagreeing and arguing with people on the internet. Especially strangers. It saddens my heart when I hear of friends who are no longer friends because of what was shared on social media. Public venues are not the place to air differences of opinion. Period.
  6. It’s easy to provide a persona online of ourselves that may or may not be completely true. Most people do this to some extent. Some more than others. We can’t keep up to an image that is not reality.  
  7. Know when to take a break. It’s OK to take internet Sabbaths. The emails and posts will be there later. Or not.

Before closing today … I also want to share our March One Monthly Resolution. It’s Harbor House Crisis Shelters. Based in Superior, WI, Harbor House Crisis Shelters provides hospitable shelter, transitional living and services for homeless women and families. They are committed to ending homelessness by providing direct services for homeless single women and families, conducting public education, analyzing model programs, creating permanent housing opportunities as well as shaping policies to find a long-term solution for homelessness.

Harbor House provides a multi-facet approach to help women and families:

  • Emergency Shelter – the provide 30-day emergency shelter for women and families. Open every day of the year, the shelter offers clothing, bedding, hygiene products, food, diapers and cleaning supplies.
  • Transitional Living Center (TLC) – allows additional housing assistance for homeless women and families that are struggling with permanent housing barriers. These might include poor credit, prior eviction and poor rental history, unpaid fines, mental illness and disability, domestic violence and lack of education and employment.
  • Holistic Case Management –includes coaching, setting life goals, life skill training, assessments, referrals, and community resources.
  • The SAMaritan Fund – assistance for rental and utility expenses, prescription co-pays and transportation.

Harbor House is one of the missions of the Superior Faith United Methodist Church. I have experienced Harbor House first-hand by chaperoning youth mission groups. These mission trips allow youth and adults the opportunity to assist at the shelters through a variety of ways. We always leave the week knowing that we’ve provided help to families and individuals who are truly in need.

How can you help Harbor House?

Donate online:

This is the online giving site for Faith UMC. Make sure and scroll down Harbor House Crisis Shelter.

Send a donation to: Harbor House Crisis Shelters, 1531 Hughitt Ave., Superior, WI  54880

Donate specific Items: twin and full-size bedding, blankets, towels, kid’s underwear and socks and diapers.

Amazon Wish List:

Please make sure and indicate that your donation is part of Our Monthly Resolution! While we suggest a $20 donation, any donation of any size is GREATLY appreciated! We are thankful to serve this great organization in northern Wisconsin. And we invite you to join in!

When we spend so much time online and with emails, it’s very easy for these things to be idols and little gods in our lives. When these take more time and energy and effort than our relationship with the One who created us, Houston, we have a problem. Let’s be mindful in how much time we allow for this and avoid letting it become a dominate god in our lives.

For the being aware of how little gods can creep into our lives, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – We think we’ll just hop online for a few minutes. And soon, it’s 40 minutes later. Or the never-ending amount of emails feels like it’s too much. Help us create healthy boundaries for our time online. Allow us to be directed to those people who can fill our cups and not just remove energy and time. Amen.

Stop by diannedeatonvielhuber on Instagram today for a few more thoughts about today’s Lenten topic.

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