It’s 9pm on a Tuesday. You’re exhausted. You barely found the energy to make dinner having almost succumbed to Miss Vickie’s and pickles as your meal, you did a load of laundry but folding it is a whole other story, and you really wanted to start working on that personal project tonight after work, but all you feel like doing now is curling up in your bed with Netflix and Instagram.
In case you missed it, I wrote a few weeks about avoiding procrastination.
Now, there’s a difference between mindful rest and procrastination. And with this post, I feel called to clarify that difference by sharing the number one thing, likely the only thing, that I believe it keeping you from achieving your goals: mindless consumption.
I have wrestled with my role as a both a content creator and consumer for many years now. Sometimes, I want to delete all of my social media, surround myself with books, and boycott the Internet. Other times, I’m in awe of the wealth of knowledge available to us online, excited about the other content creators I can support by reading their columns, and keen to write what I feel called to in this corner of the Internet.
So, here’s where I have landed. And please, do allow me the gift of your own opinion by commenting below.
Like books, online content can be incredibly useful and worthwhile. But that stops the moment the content becomes unlike a book.
Here is what I mean.
I don’t read books mindlessly. I don’t pick up a random book, turn to any ol’ page, and start reading. This is what I DO do with Instagram. I– sometimes instinctively– open the app, and allow my “feed” to chronologically– well– FEED me. Whether I care to admit it, or like the reality of it, or not, this is what my feed does. It feeds me information. So I am mindlessly, but still willingly, submitting myself to all sorts of content, without care for the truthfulness or merit of it.
When I choose to read a book for entertainment purposes, I am still choosing to read one story, carefully crafted by an author, that I can reflect on and learn from. When I scroll through random bits of content online for entertainment, I am not consuming anything meaningful or purposed, but most prominently a stacking of photos carefully curated to make individuals look their best. THAT is what our generation spends a lot of our time doing.
Yeesh. As a Christian, I personally believe I’m going to stand before my God one day and give an account for my life. The time I’ve spent mindlessly consuming is a deep conviction of mine.
Now, mindful consumption is a whole different story.
Again, like when I choose to read a book, if I set aside time to read a blog post, or curate an Instagram feed that contains accounts that post meaningful, relevant, worthwhile content that will help me to help others, I think it is a vital tool, given it does not become an idol in your heart, or a way to boost your own ego.
Mindful consumption– not just of social media, but anything and everything we consume– can lend itself to helping you, too, and your personal projects to thrive. I don’t mean I think we should shut people out of our lives, because “I hate people” is not an okay statement. It simply means being aware of the way we are spending our time, and the way that influences us and everything we do.
Think about it: how much time would you have on your hands if you didn’t own a cell phone? If the answer is “I don’t know what I’d do with my free time,” it’s time to wake up and see LIFE.
Part of mindful consumption for me has been understanding what I believe to be True.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
I am constantly discerning, through God, what is His will, and what is good, and what is useful, and what isn’t.
I don’t want to waste the time on this earth that is already a blink of eye-short.
- Do you discern what is true/worth your time?
- Do you ever feel “guilty” for time spent “scrolling?”