In our days of being technology driven, we often hear people who choose to become unplugged for a period of time in order to refocus, to capture lost time spent on the internet, re-prioritize what is more valuable, and slow down and unwind. While being in China for this time, my technology break has been a forced break rather than a self-induced break. None the less, I have allowed it to be a positive thing in my life. I have enjoyed most of the benefits of this break. The only thing I can do is text.
No Facebook. No Instagram. No emails. No Pinterest. There are times I cannot even send pictures with my texts.
So the times that I normally look at these things, I have been given time to do something else. I find when others pull out their phones to do any number of functions, I pull mine out and memorize Scripture. It has helped me to focus my mind on things “above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2).
This has helped me to work on one of my goals: memorize a verse a week. I used to be able to memorize verses, and have so many committed to my memory from the days of memorizing Scripture as a child. Now my mind does not seem to hold onto Scripture as easily. It takes me more work, more repetition to etch God’s Word into my memory cells. I hope that if I review them enough they become permanently fixed and ready for recall when needed in the future. I hope that during this time of unplugging, I am developing a new habit: pull out my phone and review the verses I am memorizing rather than plug into the media scene.
If I developed this habit and spent 50% of the time I am usually plugged in to media to memorizing Scripture, my mind would be more filled with the wisdom of my Lord.
A second positive to this is that I have more time to “notice.” When my eyes are not glued to my phone all the time, I can notice more things and more people. I connect via media to stay connected to people, but how many times do I look at the same things or see the same posts. I do like the new way Instagram shares its feed and it alerts you to when you are “all caught up.” That is helpful and quite the time saver.
As I look up, I can see the needs people may have that they may not express, but have etched on their faces. Noticing people and their needs may provide me an opportunity to serve others.
The third thing I have been able to do is have more time to read books. This has encouraged me anew that I need to read a chapter in a book every day. There is great wisdom in books. Things to be learned or contemplated. I am currently reading a book by Andy Andrews “The Traveler’s Summit.” I have already read this book, but did not fully realize it while packing my bags. I decided to read it again, and sure enough I have not been disappointed. Part of the book talks about what we feed ourselves (not food) results in how we think and feel. So if I am anxious or afraid or down, do I continue to dwell on the things that are making me feel this way? When we are feeling this way, we seldom feel like doing things that will change how we feel. We would rather brood, or take a nap, or sequester ourselves, or continue to contemplate the situation that made us feel this way. Rather than these negative behaviors, we must discipline ourselves to respond differently. Our flesh longs to brood, or nap, or hide. Self-discipline requires us to change these habits and integrate healthy ones into our lives. We must find a friend who brings us joy. We must go for a walk in the sunshine rather than hide. Maybe we find someone else to serve and bring joy to their lives rather hide away from the world that made us feel this way. Every situation demands a response. There are always two paths before us and it is our choice in how we respond. It takes self-discipline to respond above our emotions. We must choose to respond in a positive and therapeutic way knowing that our emotions will soon catch up and joy can be our friend rather than sorrow.
Being unplugged and being intentional about how I spend this time has been very positive for me. It has brought rest to my soul. It has brought an opportunity to be more contemplative. It has allowed me to observe things in others that I would not have taken the time to see.
If you choose to unplug, be intentional in the time you recover. If not, the time you recover will be wasted along with the activity. Decide how those extra moments will be spent. Sometimes it is just looking out the window when you are driving down the road. Who knows what beautiful site you may see.