Monday, February 8, 2010

Beware the Lotus!

(This is not my words, but it speaks to my heart! I thought I would share it here and hope that you find encouragement and strength in it. - Christina )

February 4, 2010 by Melissa  

Our history read aloud for the day was from William Russell’s Classic Myths to Read Aloud. We were following the journey of Ulysses and his men on their return home after ten years at war with the Trojans. In this reading, they had just landed on an unknown shore and met a peaceful people that fed them a strange fruit they’d never tasted–the fruit of the lotus, an intoxicating flowering plant on the island. “Whoever tastes of that fruit has no longer any desire to return home or to do anything at all, but to sit and dream happy dreams and forget the troubles of the world, and even forget his home and family.” As I read it, the words jumped from the pages straight into my heart.

The Holy Spirit penetrated my lotus-loving heart with those words to show me something amiss in my own life. I was eating the fruit of the lotus. My modern-day lotus kept me from the chores of my home. It made it easy to ignore the cares within my world and tune out my family, all while sitting and dreaming happy dreams. My personal lotus was the Internet.

I’m not writing to warn you of the perils of the Internet. I’m a fan (although one who must beware). This piercing reminder led me to examine my own life for things that wasted my time and energy. Things that turned my desires from God’s best to the world’s cheap imitations. For me, this is the Internet, but what about you? Is there a lotus in your life leading you astray? A ‘fruit’ whose sweetness pulls you away from the very home and family that should be the focus of your journey.

Often this is something that starts out in balance, but when it falls out of balance it pulls us in the wrong direction. Perhaps its the television, a hobby, a friendship, a computer game, Facebook, a great fiction book, a job, a message board or even a ministry. Any number of things, even good things, can lead us astray.

The Lord was showing me a pattern in my life where I was looking for escape on the Internet. Whether it was reading an inspiring blog (albeit a Christian one), researching homeschool curricula and ideas, or finding a great deal online, I was spending more time ’searching’ online than I was implementing the great things I found. I was Googling more ways to do my job of mom, homeschooler, wife, homemaker and money saver than I was praying to the Lord to show my His ways to do my job. The Internet is a great tool when kept in check, but the distortion of its place in my life led to its sweet tasting fruit zapping my desire for home and family, and ultimately the Lord.

It’s ironic that time wasters abound in our ever-efficient age. But it’s really a matter of the heart that allows us to slip under the power of something that will ultimately rob us of our time, energy and focus. I’ve found it’s easiest to get ‘lost in the lotus’ when I’m not steadfast in my vision of the Lord’s priorities for my life. After the Lord revealed this to my heart, I knew my vision was what needed to get back on track. Proverbs 29:18 says it best, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

So I made it a priority to set my alarm (instead of waking whenever) and spend time praying and reading my Bible BEFORE chaos awoke in my home. I made it a point to talk to God all day long about all my concerns, both big and small, instead of looking for answers outside of Him.

I also forced myself to get to work on the work of my home. Whether it’s the kitchen piled high with dishes or the discipline issues I see in my children, I stopped trying to ignore it and look past it (not like this was an effective technique anyway). The more attentive and intentional I was in my home and with my family the less I had need of escape.

I also knew that for a time, I needed to take a break from my Internet indulgence. I had to stop eating the lotus, if you will. Or as Hebrews 12:1b puts it “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.” I needed to strip from my life that which was slowing me down and hindering my progress. No getting lost online before my day starts. No searching without purpose. No blog hopping for me.

So I pulled back until I felt the pull lessen. I can’t live life without the Internet, but I know I have to keep it in check. Accountability in this area can really help. Whatever your struggle, share it with someone who can help you stay on track and will encourage you along the way. Change up your routine and your habits. It takes time to break old habits and more time to start new ones, but these changes can help tremendously.

As a Christian, I know I have the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my heart and my life, but it was funny (yet comforting) to me that the Lord used the tale of the mythical lotus-eaters to grab my attention. I think of Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Even our Greek mythology read aloud.

Melissa Morgner is a happy wife of 16 years to her college sweetheart and mother to six loud, but lovable children ranging in age from twelve to one. After eight years of homeschooling and sampling way too much curriculum, she takes an eclectic approach in their little schoolroom, choosing resources that best suit the children and the teacher. Her busy household puts her gifts of juggling and winging it to the test each day. She steals moments here and there to write on her blog, Day In Day Out, about the lessons she’s learning from the Lord in the routine but privileged tasks of mothering and homeschooling.

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