Stone Soup for Five: When you're not excelling still more...

When you're not excelling still more...

Luddite: one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying labor-saving machinery as a protest, or one who is opposed to, especially, technological change.  


"...but we urge you brethren, to excel still more."  1 Thessolonians 4:10


You know what the hardest words in the Bible are for me right now? Those right up there.

Excel still more.

I've aced "fall behind farther."

I do okay at pretty consistent quiet time in the morning.  My house isn't a total mess (most of the time).  About 65% of the time I have a plan for dinner.  And I can usually eek out an hour or two of exercise a week.

But in no areas of my life am I excelling still more.

I am frustrated and confused as to why but have a pretty good idea it has to do with my time wasted browsing and scrolling online, so I did what any good internet addict would do and YouTubed what an internet addiction looks like, sure that it wouldn't describe me, because, come on, I'm not on social media all the time.  In fact, I'm not really on it much at all... I think... probably... compared to some people... right?

Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, hit me HARD with this great video.



Then this video by a landscape photographer hoofing it through a snowy forest was what clinched it for me.  When he said that he always had background static in his head, I realized my main struggle is a LOUD and distracted mind.  A thousand tabs open on my computer and in my head, and I can't control/alt/delete or restart to clean that problem up.



And I hate it.

So I borrowed the book Deep Work and read through it in a couple of days.  It helped me sort out what is going on in my head.  My lack of excelling still more is because at every hard thing, or every pause in my day, or every time I just don't want to do a thing, I check my social media or my inbox, or the weather, or which celebrity recently lost 150lbs and is killin' it.  Oh. My. Goodness! The noise I hate is all self-induced!

With that fresh in my mind, I made a list at everything I currently struggle with:
  • time management
  • home management
  • Bible reading and meditation
  • prayer
  • exercise
  • being an attentive wife
  • being an intentional mom
  • being a friend
  • blogging
  • writing
So, what am I doing?  I'm gonna get my focus back and excel still more.

Once a year, usually in August, I go off social media for the month.  I've done it for a couple years and it has been great and refreshing, but because I know I'm going back on in 30 days or less, it's not been a real struggle.  It's more of an temporary diet that if I can just get through for a few weeks, I can enjoy normal life again.  Also, I may or may not have just replaced the lack of scrolling social media to scrolling my inbox and blogs. *cough*  So, I have to be hard with myself until this addiction is dead and no longer controls me.

I've go to detox from the scrolling
(and I have decided, go big or go home)
...for a YEAR

When I first toyed with the idea of getting off Facebook and Instagram my immediate thought was that I can't.  I'm stuck.  I've got to keep churning away there in order to grow numbers to be successful because that's what everyone says.  And when those who say things, say things, you better listen, right?

But, as I thought more about it, I realized I really don't care about the numbers or building my platform, I just really want to share what God is doing in my life and encourage others... even if it is just a handful of women.

When I realized that I could shut down social media and I didn't have to be on there, it felt like huge elephant lifted off my chest.  I didn't realize until that moment what a burden social media was!

So, because I'm doing a year long experiment, here's what has to go... I'm closing down (archiving) the Journal and Doodle Facebook group, the Stone Soup for Five Facebook page, and shutting down the Meditation119 group (which was originally just a temporary page anyway).  I won't be posting any news or blog posts on Facebook or Instagram, and both of my accounts there will go silent.


But the good news is:
I will be blogging more and about things that are of more value.

I'll also be writing more Journal and Doodle Bible studies and the I Will Meditate guides.  I am currently working away on Volume Four and writing a new study to  be released around Christmas on Biblical hope.  (I am so excited about and learning so much from writing it!)

I will still post videos to YouTube, and in fact, have a new one going up soon of a Biblical Meditation session recorded with three friends working through Psalm 119!  YouTube doesn't suck my time or attention like FB and IG, so it will be safe for now.

Results so far:
So far I'm a month into being completely off Facebook and Instagram and I haven't died.  I was twitchy at first, and wondering what everyone was doing at the party I locked myself out of, but that passed in a couple weeks (and was easily replaced with neurotic email checking and blog reading, like I mentioned above).

After reading Deep Work, I cut all internet access off (even email) until 3:30pm every day.  I check it then, deal with what I need to, and get off until the next day.  It was extremely hard at first, but has already changed so much!  In fact, I've hit boredom a few times now (not bored because I have nothing to do, but bored because I don't want to do any of the things I have to do and wanted to be doing anything else.  I didn't care what I did, I just wanted to click the mouse around online!

But, I'm realizing that living like a Luddite, has its upside in quite a few areas of life, so I'll continue the experiment and check in with an update being completely honest on what has changed, what has gotten better, and what has been harder.  I'd love to chat with you in the comments here and hear what you think or if you've done something similar (or thought of doing it)!  (Oh, and I've actually hand written a couple of pen and paper snail-mail letters too! What?!)

Talk soon,
kari

40 comments:

  1. Thankyou Kari for all your hard work and being obedient to seek God and following through with His plan for you. I hope to stay connected , and will need to learn this blogging stuff .

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  2. I completely understand and have felt many times that I need to do the same. BUT I do teaching videos and have probably about 40-50 people who follow and beg me to keep doing them. Most of them are not attending church anywhere and are novices at bible study. I feel like I have to stay because of them.

    Maybe I could transition them over to YouTube? I KNOW I need off of social media!

    I feel like the addiction we all have is evil, if that makes sense :)

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    1. Ya, it's not an easy decision, for sure. And probably not even a decision that everyone needs. I just know that I really struggle with limiting things, so it's all or nothing. I know what you mean though, tough decision, and when you have people who are benefiting from things you do, it's really hard!

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  3. I AM going tot miss you but i understand IT is zo easy. Hope toch follow-up you here.

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    1. Thank you! I'll be right here though, you can leave a comment or send a note anytime!

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  4. This is so true, we are so distracted and minutes go by wasted. I have almost left Facebook, but have to keep a profile for a work-related page I manage for a client. Funnily enough I just requested Deep Work from the library, and really look forward to reading it. I need this. I work from home and it is easy to get distracted so that my work takes longer than it should and then I have less time for my home and even recreation.
    I also wanted to say thank you for the Psalm 119 study, It took me all summer to complete and it was so good. I had not been reading my Bible regularly and this study really convicted me to get back to it. Thank you! Since 4 September I have read daily with the I Will Meditate journal, which I originally started back in February. I am excited for the day when I need to order book 2! Thank you for all that you do!

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    1. I so hear you on struggling if it's beneficial to keep or not. Definitely not an easy decision. I'd love to hear what you think about Deep Work. SO GLAD you did Psalm 119 and are using the Meditate Journals! I just started Volume 3 last week!

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  5. This is not a bad idea. One can keep in touch here. I moved, (still moving/unpacking/selling old house) so I thought I was in trouble not posting on FB. I guess we all took our own sabbatical, in a sense. You can always post timed periodic updates (say a year break, so what three or six updates for example) on how your year long journey takes you on here and youtube. I know since I moved about 3 months ago, my first experience I've noticed is that I have to get used to using a mailbox again and it's been interesting. Will keep following this site (as I do anyway) for updates and youtube. <3 Keep up the great work, but remember as always - this is more for you and the Father. I will have to watch the video, when I get back from town, so very interesting. <3 Have a great day everyone. <3 Will be good to learn more ways to cut back and learn better time management. I already know my cell phone does not work, since we moved to the country. Made my husband mad, but I'm happier for it. I loathe the phone anyway. <3

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    1. I will definitely do updates. I'm taking notes and recording thoughts and feelings. Right now it's still hard... I realized I really miss the Instagram Stories the most... but, the trade off so far seems worth it. I actually wrote a hand-written letter, and got back to work on repainting the kitchen cabinets (which had been partially done for months!) So far, there's good and bad, but will definitely post updates.

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  6. Wow! Reading your post made me think about me. A few years ago when I was in HS, there were no IG,no FB, I didnt have a cellphone. And I remember myself seating still reading magazines. Now I cant do any of that, I can relate with you, when it comes to do things I dont want to do, I tend to take my phone and scroll up and down. But honestly it doesnt make me feel any better. It even affect my time with God, sometimes I am reading the Bible but Im just thinking 'when I finish I will check my phone', I feel I dont give God the attention he deserves. I feel like my brain need to rest. I really admire you for doing this ��������. Reading this and watching those videos made realize I need to do the same, I will start with a short period of time and so on. God bless you.

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    1. Reading magazines! Yes! I also know exactly what you're talking about with the Bible and focusing more on what I'm going to do next. I think it'll all take time and training our brains to focus. Keep me updated on what you choose. I'd love to hear!

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  7. This has been on my mind too.....THANK YOU for bringing it into focus! I just finished watching the two videos and well. Very powerful. I've removed my Facebook and Instagram Icons off my phone and replaced them with my kindle. I used to be a voracious reader....now when I'm in line, or board.....I'm going to READ. So excited.

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    1. YAY for replacing Social media with kindle! I've also downloaded Librivox (free public domain audio books) and Google Books (free public domain books) to my phone. Oh, and when I ABSOLUTELY need to click on something, I downloaded Scripture Typer, so I can practice memorizing verses! Keep it up! We can do this!!

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  8. Kari, Good for yuo! I am going to really miss the Psalm 119 page. Will you archive the pictures from that? I really enjoy reading the notes from the journals from everybody. Seaking of archiving, would you please blog about what that means, and how we can access them, if that will be still possible? I guess I am at a loss as to what that means. I will certainly follow here as always, and will continue to lift you and yours up....

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    1. Well, I think some people are thinking about helping me with it for a year, or combining it with another group... we'll figure something out. I don't want to be a jerk to you guys just because I can't handle myself, you know? But thank you for your encouragement!

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  9. SPEAK on it! Great post and it definitely spoke to me.

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  10. Way to go! I believe you are on a very wise journey and I am right there with you! I agree that Social Media is just not necessary and doing without is wise and healthy. I will be praying for and with you on this journey!

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  11. I rarely go on Facebook or Instagram, so I can assure you that it is possible, lol. (Don't ask me about the amount of time I spend on YouTube.) I hope your experiment blesses you and helps you connect with the Lord.

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    1. Yes, for most normal people, I know it's possible. Unfortunately, I'm very very not normal and just can't get it together enough to stay the heck off! Thank you!

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  12. Just watched both videos and they are very thought provoking. I've been easily distracted my whole life so I have had to learn to put things in place to "get things done" and stay on task. This makes it easy for me to understand your decision as what you need to do at this time. I am very grateful that you will continue to post blogs and YouTube videos because my bible study group and I learn so much from you.

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    1. Thank you Judy! Yes, I'll just be doing more and better work here on the blog! I'm actually really excited about all of it!

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  13. So inspired by your commitment to making a change. I watched the videos and am reconsidering my usage in this area. I've fasted from social media, but like you - I knew it was short term and it wasn't that big of deal. I feel like I need a complete detox.

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  14. I am proud of you for acknowledging the problem and taking ownership! We live in a distracted disconnected world. I pray this is life changing and refreshing for you. Thank you for your work!

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  15. Kari! You are such an inspiration! I always love how "real" you are with those of us who follow you! I having been going through some real emotional struggles lately - work, family, friends - and this blog was exactly what I needed to read to reprioritize things in my life! So glad I took time to open and read it and that you wrote it!

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    1. YAY! So neat to hear when God times things just perfectly!

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  16. Are you imagining going back to a more responsible use of technology at a future date, or are you on a twelve step program and will always be a tech junkie?

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    1. That's a good question... Right now I'm not planning beyond a year off. We'll see how it goes from there. LOL

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  17. So funny. I've watched that Ted talk before, but watched it again tonight... in a browsers with 22 tabs open! And that doesn't count the tabs in the other 3-5 browser windows I have open. And oh how much time I waste online. Many people don't believe me when I saw I have a problem because they see what I accomplish and they think it can't be that bad. But I know what really happens, how much time I really waste.

    I read an interesting article (that I probably wouldn't have stumbled across had I not been following rabbit trails) but it talked about the unconnectedness of people these days. And how for some people, social media makes it worse -- not because of the comparing yourself to others thing that I've heard about and is surely true, but because people are "connecting" with 100s of people online everyday, liking posts, commenting on pictures, etc and yet they still feel so lonely and unconnected. And then they feel worse because they think they SHOULDN'T feel lonely becuase look at all these people in their lives. ...The article said it much better. : ) I think one of their takeaways was that, even speaking in terms of dopamine levels or whatever the "happiness/connectedness" element is, "liking" a person's picture online is in no way as soul-satisfying as a face-to-face person showing you a picture (even one on their phone) and you verbally telling them you like it. I mean, typing that out, it seems obvious. But the article was saying how people have started to expect to feel the same level of connected from electronic connections, and in most cases, that just doesn't happen.

    And I do wonder if there's going to be another great shift soon. The girls program my girls are enrolled in (American Heritage Girls) has a one-word theme every year. This year's theme, launched in August: Connections. And my church just hired a new pastor. His title: Connections Pastor.

    OK, I got long-winded but you asked for comments and your post really struck a chord with what's been going on in my head over the past 6 months or so. Not sure yet what to do. I've recently (as in 1-2 weeks) joined some FB groups where I have some expertise and have really been able to help some people. I'm a teacher/trainer at heart, love to help people understand something they didn't understand before. So I feel like I'm using my God-given gifts in areas of passion when I post there. But then I get distracted by the other posts and soon I'm down a rabbit trail again. I don't know if there's a way -- either via FB itself, or via my willpower -- to keep myself just on the groups where I'm able to serve others and do something good and productive. But then again, by serving these strangers, as much as it helps them, if I'm not giving my family the attention they need from me as a result, then it's not really good after all, is it? OK, hasband told me 10 minutes ago he's going to bed. So to finish I'll just say again, thanks for posting this. Very timely, very good.

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  18. Kari, I am so thankful for all your hardwork you put into FB. I know I benefited from the fruit of your labor. I pray that you come out of the Luddite experience with a closer fellowship with God than you had. In the meantime I will visit your blog and keep in touch. In Godly fellowship...Terri

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  19. I have gotten off facebook a few times, and have thought about doing it again. But. (There always seems to be a "but") As a military wife I have friends all over the world and facebook is how we stay in touch. When I'm off it , I miss them. I have two children in college out of town/state and Instagram is how I keep us with what they are doing and Instagram is how my daughter and I message a lot of time. Trying to figure out how to stay in touch and off social media is still something I'm trying to figure out.

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    1. I know it gotta be hard with family all over but one has to ask to take look how it was done many yrs ago there still is the phone or even write a letter that's right pick up a pen and write when the last time any of us received a true letter I can say I received one from my mom just few weeks ago it was after she passed away it sad way to get a letter but I will always Cherish it there always away.

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    2. Just remember quitting social media isn't for everyone... I have no problem if others feel like they don't want to be on it, but for me, I connect so much with my family through it in ways I never would or could without it... my brothers in different states, my mom who I dont see nearly enough, and friends I've made who are all over the world I would never hear from otherwise. Yes, in the old days they would write but hoe many people did they stay connected with? Only a handful. I'm not willing to give up those relationships and I dont have an addiction so it's not a problem for me. If it isn't for you either, good for you, enjoy it without feeling like you have to get off. Just use it appropriately. It can be used for so much good.

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  20. I just found you recently from your podcast with Makenzie and I love your Psalms 119 meditation. Thank you! I was bummed to not be able to discuss with others in the Facebook group while I went through it. I understand your decision though. Thanks again.

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