Make Room for Joy: Quit Something Every Thursday

“Every Thursday I quit something.”
-Bob Goff

Bob Goff was being sarcastic when he said that at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit this summer, but I wrote it down because I thought I might give it a try.  I’ve been looking for things I can give up.  Remember I gave up Candy Crush? Yep it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t want any of my child’s memories to include me with an iPad glued to my face, and each time I chose Candy Crush over spending time with my daughter or husband the message was:

Candy Crush is more important than you.

Each time I take a phone call while having lunch with a friend or family member the message is:

This phone call is more important than you.

Each time I walk and scroll through my phone and pass closely by a stranger the message is:

You are invisible to me.

Yuck. And I know how annoying it is but sometimes I do it anyway. I don’t want to be that person.

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.
-Alfred Adler

I’ve started to keep my phone on silent for most of the day and I’ve deleted all the apps that are time fillers.  It’s a good start. I try to put away my phone while I’m walking on the street or while a store clerk is checking me out.  There are still too many things competing for my attention and I’m working on that.  The more I give up things, the more I realize how those things were diluting my real experiences.

I see more.

I listen more.

I read more.

I sleep better.

My joy is richer.

I love the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. There’s a chapter where he outlines seven principles for simplicity…and he talks about the importance of rejecting anything that produces an addiction in you. I think addiction is when I check my phone before I get in the shower, and then re-check it as soon as I step back out.  I’m not sure I can reject my phone, but I can distance myself from it as much as possible.

Simplicity is freedom, not slavery.
-Robert Foster

I’m slowly re-discovering the things the modern world has stored away and forgotten about. I’m still looking for the perfect rotary phone with the super long cord.  I love my “new” typewriters. I see the words pop up on the page and it feels like I’m making them permanent. You should see how frustrated Boo gets when she realizes she can’t backspace. Yikes: I’ve learned how dependent I am on spell check.  I can’t spell anymore and that scares me.

Instead of spending time on my phone the other day in the Costco Pharmacy, I picked up a magazine. The first article I flipped to was “This is Your Brain on Gadgets.”  Pick it up next time you are there or let me summarize in a nutshell: frequent use of technology changes your brain, and not in a good way. And imagine what it is doing to young, child-sized brains…sad and scary.



A desperate need for deep people #theyearofjoy A 31 day series on joy #quote #discipline


So how do we become deep people?

Begin to look for the time fillers in your life.  Find ways to unplug from them. Don’t let them dilute your life, intrude and thin out your joy.

And don’t let time fillers be more important than the things that are really important.

Don’t just fill time just to fill time.

Make room for joy.



What I love:

1. The Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster: An Christian manual on how to navigate this crazy world by returning to simplicity and discipline. I wish the whole world would read this book (and only watch Little House on the Prairie).

Celebration of Discipline: A great book for navigating this crazy world. #christianity #book


The Year of Joy Recap:

Day 1: The Year of Joy: You are deserving of joy. Many times we confuse joy with happiness. They are two separate things. Happiness comes from circumstances, but joy is an attitude that defies circumstances.

Day 2: A Bigger Target: Focus changes everything. Our goal in life should be to be much, not to have much.


  1. Jenn says

    Love this!! I never got into Candy Crush, but I definitely am pretty into Instagram. Will be making some changes moving forward.

  2. says

    We went through Foster’s Celebration of Discipline years ago as a Sunday School class. Thanks for the reminder about his books. I’ll have to read them again. You might enjoy Freedom of Simplicity, too.

  3. says

    I wonder if you could ever know how much this quest for joy means to me right now… stream in the desert, Ashley. Thanks.

  4. Jenni says

    I LOVE this! I start every year with a media cleanse. No Facebook or people magazine on line. I always make it about 3 months and it’s always funny to me how I really don’t miss it. I’ll start dabbling small but then I go overboard. Thanks for the book recommendation! I can’t wait to read it!

  5. says

    Your post on Choosing Joy have been so good! I have been sharing them with my husband and will be sharing with my blog readers as well. Can’t wait to see what is to come! I choose joy!!!

  6. says

    Just today I was talking on the phone with my mom as I walked in to Target. I was distracted and it wasn’t fair to her. I’m also super annoyed by people who walk around stores on their phones and never acknowledge the presence of anyone around them – especially the check out clerks. As I peroused the spices (and chose the wrong one as I realized at check out) I said, “Mom, I need to hang up now. It’s annoying when people walk around Target talking on their phone.” She said, “OK, love you, talk to you later.” I saw two people around my physically stop and take notice of what I had just said. They weren’t on their phones but my words were clearly shocking.

    Oh, our world of looking at screens and not people. It’s not going to get better but I want to do my little part to engage with those around me and in my presence.

  7. jyot says

    Thank you for writing this article. It has put into words what was going in my mind since sometime, but my mind was never ‘free’ to realise it.
    I have been cutting back on some websites (shopping sites, gossip sites etc). And now spend less time on my ‘routine’ browsing. But the same time goes into checking out top blogs in Bloglovin’.
    That’s how I came across this entry.
    So many things in your article ring true- the way we have become slaves of our cell phones, the way I check my phone before and after bath, while eating, as soon as I open my eyes. The way I have become bad at spellings. I just don’t push my brain to figure them out and depend on spellcheck.
    Thank you again for this article. Our lives need constant decluttering. And I’ve a serious case of gadget brain. Maybe that’s why nothing from my text books penetrate my brain. Will check that article out right now!

  8. Joy T. says

    I have several rotary phones, but I need to figure out how to convert the old plugs to work with the new telephone wires. One of these phones dates back to a cord that has four metal prongs that used to plug into a wall… I should take a picture of it and post it for you – wild and crazy stuff! It was from my grandfather’s house. I wish I knew if it would work if I rewire it? I have another two someplace – one that actually works on the current wires but I broke it when my first was a baby (at 8 months we had to do sleep training – she didn’t know how to sleep anywhere but with mommy and lets just say the phone took care of my frustrations, along with an innocent tupperware and a 9×13 cake pan) – so I think that one has perma-toy status now. Now I’m curious what happened to the third…. hmmmm…. I might need to go hunting 😛

  9. says

    Oh how you have captured my heart with this post! Whenever life gets overwhelming for me, I always want to return to basics. I want to separate myself for the things that occupy my mind and appreciate the things that make my hands and feet move they way they still can. I want to love and play and all of the those things are hard when you have your back turned to the person you are supposed to be engaged with because you are sitting at your desk. I want to be looked at and not from around the edges of a phone. So it’s time to get back to basics again, and truly do the things that we enjoy with the ones that we love. Today!

  10. says

    I thought originally that this post was about Quilting something on Thursdays which sounded really interesting and like something I want to try.

    Then I read it, and I am really going to try this. I am addicted to checking fb on my phone and get frustrated when there isn’t something new. It is crazy. My kids are getting into playing Temple Run when we are at sports events. It is so hard to say no when it keeps them busy and quiet for the hour of the game so we can watch whoever is participating. I need to get better about bring art supplies so that they will want to do that instead. I encourage them to watch their sister play but it doesn’t really work for long.

    Thanks for the post. I love your blog and really am enjoying your spiritual journey. I can relate.