New Year’s resolution time is here, and I am again tempted to be overly ambitious.
In moments of passion, I find myself wanting to make extreme changes to my habits that I know will not survive the first week of the New Year. Upon reflection, I have resolved to do something that is both possible and practical this year: Make my Sundays internet-free.
I chose this resolution because, like most people, I am frustrated by how the internet tends to waste countless hours of life. Whether it be e-mails, web sites or social media, there is always the obsession to spend an extra nanosecond to deal with the latest notification that quickly stretches into an hour.
In response, my overambitious side tells me to break off my connections with the web. And yet I know that this is impossible because so much depends upon these connections both socially and professionally.
But what I can do, and I suspect many others can also do, is curtail my exposure to it. Hence, my resolution to spend my Sundays internet-free. I really do not need to be connected on Sunday. The world will survive quite well without me being online. A mutual separation is quite in order. And so I propose to cut myself off completely. That means neither a peek at a screen, nor a jot or title of text. The break must be total.
For this resolution to be effective, I must outline the reasons why I am doing it. When the passion of my pledge passes, those reasons need to be handy to steady me in my resolve.
And so, the first reason to spend Sunday internet-free is to because it is the Lord’s day. The day is not mine; it is His. It is only right that on this day dedicated to God we spend time thinking, praying, praising and giving glory to God. In the frenetic intemperance of our days, people do not stop to address God. They do not listen for God’s words. God does not text message. He is to be found in the silence of our hearts. An internet-free Sunday is a good beginning to increase in the love of God.
The second reason to spend Sunday internet-free is because it is traditionally a day of rest. It is proper that we step outside the frantic rhythm of our daily rat-race and take time to reflect, rest and regenerate ourselves for the week ahead. The body is not a machine that can be constantly in motion. It needs time to stop and disconnect. One excellent way to disconnect is to literally disconnect by observing an internet-free Sunday.
Sunday should also be a time together with others. It is the perfect occasion for people to visit and converse. There is no substitute for such face-to-face contact. In our individualistic age, where everyone is tethered to their machines, it would do us all good to look up from our devices and get together with others to quell our insatiable thirst for community.
Finally, I believe that true culture can only come from those who engage in leisure and take the time to contemplate the meaning of life. The failure to seek or even desire a psychological repose leads to much anxiety and stress. Many have come to disregard tranquility, recollection, and true leisure in favor of the exhaustion of constant activity. An internet-free Sunday can be a time for those proportional spiritual pleasures—joys like conversation, art, and silence—that are part of a culture and which need to be developed.
One is forced to admit that an internet-free Sunday is hardly something that will radically change the world, but it is a good beginning. It is something practical and doable. It will have a good effect upon me and those around me. Why not give it a try?
And if I fail? I can always push the reset button and try again.