May 9, 2012

Confessions of a Waffle: aka How My SmartPhone Makes Me Stupid


Early in our marriage, we read the book by Bill and Pam Farrell, Men are Like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti. We laughed over the differences in men and women–we learned, too, that not all those traits applied those directions for us. Then, there were all the personality tests–all created to help us interact with others and with each other, as a couple.

My test results were a bit odd in that I was very strong on two opposite points, mediocre on one and non-existent on the last one. The results show that I am equally and strongly an otter (extrovert, people person) and a beaver (introvert, task-oriented person) with a little lion and not at all a golden retriever. One friend told me that is called masking.  It means I am really one of those and the other is a learned behavior I accumulated over the years to be who others thought I should be. It’s not really that important which is which for this article.  The point is I have unique traits that encompass who I am–so do you!

From those unique traits, I find that I am really more waffle than spaghetti.

  • I don’t multi-task well.
  • I cannot talk on the phone while driving. Even a blue-tooth would be too much for my attention span.
  • I have to block out sound, even now with the kids home, while writing this.
  • I need to sit toward the front in large events or I get totally distracted and miss much of the event.
  • If you call me on the phone (or I call you), I will find the quietest place to go, so I can truly listen to you.  If I cannot find a quiet place, I will say the most inane things, because I am half-listening to you.
  • I get easily overwhelmed by many activities planned.
  • I secretly wish those activities will be cancelled–most of the time.
  • A group of people together is fun, but it sucks energy out of me — I get exhausted from that time.
  • I prefer to meet with one friend at a time. From these times, I have an indelible memory from our conversation. I even remember expressions, hand gestures, and other impressions. I tend to remember conversations like this for a very long time. Yet, I will forget a thousand other things.
  • Also in a large group, I tend to be over-stimulated to the point where I find that I say the most foolish things out of discomfort.
  • My SmartPhone is TOO MUCH for me.  So many choices! So many choices! So I get sucked into a time-loss vortex trying to get ONE task done. I can not focus with a SmartPhone. It makes me utterly stupid.
  • My Kindle is OVERWHELMING, too!  So many choices! So many choices! I want to read THEM ALL–AT ONCE!
  • I prefer a single book in hand, a single hand-craft, a single child with a book–one activity and person at a time.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule–I LOVE and enjoy a large group of kids to feed and entertain. In fact, I love hosting large groups of all ages.  It exhausts me, but also makes me inordinately happy. In a few weeks, I am leading crafts at our women’s retreat.  I equally look forward to teaching the large group AND sitting alone outside with my Bible. Another exception is music, which settles me–I can do nearly anything, any two things even!, if music is playing (calms the savage beast, I guess).

At the beginning of this year, I prayed for my one word for 2012–and the Lord prompted TWO. Simple Focus.  I knew they were for me.  I knew that I was spinning like a pinball and self-destructing on TILT. I could feel it.  My normally laid-back ease was replaced with anxiety and stress, using harsher words and tones with my dear family.  This was not what the Lord intended for me.

In striving for one goal (to help our family financially), I have gotten myself into too much and over-my-head trying to be every-woman and multi-tasking mama (ha!).  For a time, I have sacrificed some important priorities in the process.  Looking down the road, I have come to the conclusion that the trade-off (financial help for family time) is not worth it.  I will not be glad in twenty years that I spent 75% of my day behind the screen of the computer. I simply won’t.

So I began to make steps toward simple focus–even taking steps backwards! I truly believe that God not only gives us second and third chances, but also, He sets our feet back at the beginning to try it again.  His Word says He sets our feet in spacious places.  And I had worked myself into a helpless/hapless corner, from which He needed to extricate me. It was a painful process, during which I endured many sleepless nights–causing pain to others I care about in the ordeal.

But it’s done now. I feel a release to walk wisely and well from this point.

I still have some steps to make–for the goals and priorities the Lord has placed before me during this season in my journey. He has still provided work for financial help–that is still a need and priority for our family. I am still spending time behind the computer screen or on my smart phone–some wasted and some not.  There needs to be a better balance still.

The past three days, God has prompted a Lenten fast for me.  Now, I am not in a liturgical church.  Our church is inter-denominational. Some years, I fast for lent.  Some years, I fast weekly for other set-apart times.  Some times, I do not fast at all. I believe that the Holy Spirit will prompt each of us in fasting, and He will most certainly teach us and prompt us toward fasting. A Lenten fast is a good practice, though.

Last year I fasted from sugar–from the time Joanne entered the hospital on January 11th, til the time she went home from Spalding (longer than Lent, but my Lenten fast nonetheless).

This year, I have prayed and heard one thing from the Lord–social media, meaning Facebook, Twitter and (gulp!) Pinterest.  As a writer (something I love to do and want to spend many years focusing, honing and pouring out this way), I will be spending more time journaling thoughts and prayers. Also, I hope to spend more time writing here at A Martha Heart. I hope you will stop by for a nice two-way conversation with me here in the comment section. I will greatly MISS YOU around internet-town. I intend to make reading your blogs a priority, too. I have missed reading your hearts in the busy-ness of my spin-balling, upside-down life.

My main priority is to spend less time distracted by the many things and more time focused on the simple things.  For me, it is life-giving, rejuvenating and restorative. I believe in the process, I am giving myself a gift. I know the Lord will meet with me here. He will make it a place of springs–a place of purpose, peace and joy–and an investment for high returns!

What is your priority right now? Does it line up with the goals in your life? Take time to take stock. It is a FOR YOU kind of decision that will leave you without regret many years down the road. What is holding you back?

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