I always look forward to our family vacations at the beach. During these times, I am very fortunate to be able to “shelve” my smartphone. This allows me to truly unplug and focus solely on my family and our time together, without distractions, or interruptions. I realize not everyone can detach in such a way. However, I also couldn’t help but notice how many at the beach were glued to their phones. Folks were sitting in a beautiful location, but not noticing it. They were sitting at tables with others, but not talking. They were walking along the beach, but not looking around. Kids were anxious to play, but parents were too distracted to join in. I’m sure some of this was work related, but how much of it wasn’t? How much was simply social media, or habitual phone toggling?
Thus, I am reminded to the vital importance “unplugging” has in our lives. Not that we are to boycott technological conveniences, but I do believe we have great opportunity to lessen our obsession and perhaps even our addiction to them in order to reap even greater benefits:
Reconnect: When we allow ourselves to periodically disconnect from the outlets of this world, we open our opportunities to reconnect with God and His blessings. If we can find a quiet place to sit outside, we begin to hear the birds singing once again (Psalm 19:1). We observe the butterflies, bees, squirrels and all the harmonious aspects of life we so quickly miss when we are glued to our devices. We also find time to speak with God, to pray, to meditate on His word and simply allow ourselves to rest in His presence.
Replenish: After a vacation, do you come back replenished, or drained? One of the most powerful replenishing moments I had during my vacation was paddling a kayak out on the ocean and mediating on Psalm 23. I allowed myself to drift far from shore as I reflected and digested every word. It truly replenished my soul, and I couldn’t wait to race back to shore to share with my wife all God revealed to me out there on the water. How thankful I am for taking the time to unplug that day!
Reenergize: If and when we discover the power unplugging can have on reenergizing our minds, bodies and souls, we won’t be so naive to neglect it. We will find the time to shelve the phones, turn off the radios and televisions, and simply enjoy an old fashioned game of checkers with loved ones. This energizes us in ways that propels our productivity more than we can imagine. Better yet, my soul is still on fire from that conversation I had with God out on the water! Why? Because the profound blessings of His word, creation and grace compounded in one grand unplugged moment that I willingly and eagerly pursued. However, this can thankfully occur anytime and anyplace – the question is are we available to pursue them (Isaiah 40:31)?
Application: “Music To My Ears” – Deuteronomy 4:29
As I listened to the ocean waves, the seagulls and the silence created by being away from my devices, my soul was rejuvenated. Stresses dissipated and lingering conversations with those I love reignited. It was all heavenly music to my ears, and a precious reminder to always be bold enough and wise enough to take time to unplug from the devices and to plug into the Divine.