Help Me Unplug!
Key Verses: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 (NASB)
I need to unplug.
It seems as if my brain is on constant drive. My feet hit the floor in the morning and my eyes have not quite adjusted to the light before I hit the home button of my smart phone. The screen glares at me as if to say: “Take a breath, woman. I’ll be here after breakfast. You are not the President.” I cannot stop at a traffic light without being tempted to reach out to my phone and check if anything has changed from… uh… 30 seconds before.
It’s pitiful, I admit. But judging from what I see around me, this is certainly not my personal issue. It’s an epidemic.
I went out for dinner with my family last week. As we settled at our table, I scanned the territory around: A group of teenagers, a young couple seemingly on a date and another couple and their 5 year old son. They were all holding on to their gadgets as if the air that they breathed was only released at the push of a button on their thingamajigs. The young couple seemed to exchange only a couple of sentences all evening. Long sentences seemed to be reserved to whoever was reading their social media pages or texts.
I don’t mean to sound overreacting, much less judgmental, since I am often guilty of the same flaw, but I am afraid technology owns too much of our time. I don’t read as much as I used to. Or play with my children like I should. Truthfully, life was already very busy before these niceties came along claiming our attention 24/7, but now it seems as if we have allowed them to rob our attention from just about anything we do. Shamefully, I heard my oldest daughter ask me if I was listening, because I had to grab my phone in the midst of our conversation. Gizmo buzzed and mom went to it. I’ve been treating it like a colicky baby.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we drive a hammer onto anything we own with an LCD screen. But I think we have a growing problem in the western world: not only is technology impersonalizing our relationships, it is also dividing our thoughts. It is claiming our attention when we should be plugged into more important matters.
Worse yet, I’m afraid our gadgets are robbing us from precious time with God.
If Only God Would Text Me!
“If we are weak in communion with God we are weak everywhere.” Charles Spurgeon
With the overflow of technology in our days, many of us are guilty of spending less time with God. Nevertheless, our hyperactive minds are flooded with information that is at best unimportant. We’re able to waste time nosing around or inflating our egos on social media walls and yet have a hard time finding 15 minutes of quietness before our God. And as cool as it would be to receive a text from the Almighty, we know it won’t happen. If we are to listen to what He has to say to us, we must learn to unplug. Be still. And patiently wait.
The difference between spending quality time with God or not may just mean the difference between a purpose-filled life and a wasted one. That sounds harsh. But it is true.
Learning to Unplug
The first step in learning how to better connect with God and the people we love is to realize and admit that we are indeed “over plugged”. Next, I would like to share some changes that I have implemented to my routine in order to realign my priorities and learn to unplug:
- While studying Scriptures or praying, I am keeping my phone on the other side of the house.
- While tending to my children, I will not check my phone.
- While dining with my family or friends, Gizmo shall stay in the purse. Or in the car. I’m reminding myself I am not that important.
- I am committing to pick up the phone and call my friends more. And text less.
Lastly, my weekends shall now be called “Electronic Sabbath”. I will check my emails in the morning and then again in the evening. That’s it. The rest of my weekend will be dedicated to rest my soul from the cares of this world: the news, business matters and whatever the Joneses are parading to the world on social media.
Electronic Sabbath will be reserved to enjoy my greatest treasures in life: my family and my God.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (NIV)
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