Seven Spiritual Practices for Busy People
We have been talking about the challenge of keeping our priorities straight in this busy world. We have looked at David, “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), a true “Renaissance Man” who made spending time with God his number one priority:
One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple (Psalm 27:4).
The “one thing” above every other thing David pursued was to live daily in God’s presence and beauty. Up to this point we have looked at four spiritual practices that I have found helpful in living each day in the awareness of God’s presence:
The Daily God Hunt
Palms Down/Palms Up
Today I want to commend to you a spiritual practice that many people find to be spiritually refreshing, and helpful as well in keeping other spiritual practices: the spiritual practice is UNPLUGGING.
PRACTICE FIVE: UNPLUGGING
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
“The world is too much with us; late and soon”, lamented the poet William Wordsworth, almost two centuries ago. What might Wordsworth say about how the world crowds in on us today! While Americans continue spending 26-28 hours a week in front of the television, our time on the Internet has increased 121% over the last five years. How many times do I catch myself going online just to check my email and an hour later have forgotten why I went online in the first place! Many of us are left feeling the need for time just to think, to talk, to feel, to listen, to pray, and just be.
From the earliest times the people of God have practiced fasting as a way of spiritual cleansing, renewal, and to symbolize their need for repentance and change of direction. Today many people are also feeling the need to ‘fast’ from the media for a while and pull off the great information highway. In order to better center their lives, they are temporarily pulling the plug on the TV, Internet, email, text-messaging, and the itch to always feel plugged in.
Our Lord Jesus forever remains the model for unplugging and taking time away from the very world He came to save. Consider His example in the following scene from the Gospels:
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ (Mark 1:35-36)
Even with everyone searching for Jesus and trying to get in touch with Him, He recognized His need to take time away. Consider the following ways in which you might want to occasionally unplug so that you might be fully present to God and to others:
Set aside one day a week to be as media free as possible (i.e. unplugging from the TV, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
My son Rhett suggests creating a physical space where you put aside high-tech devises as a way of saying to one another, “I am present”. Rhett has a tray in which he puts his phone, computer and other devices when he walks in the door of his house. Those items remain there for the night unless he has some “good reason” to access them.
Listen to music as you drive in the car rather than the news or talk radio.
Don’t always turn on the radio or TV when you get up in the morning, but listen for God instead.
Go for a walk; read a poem; talk to your spouse. Even when “everyone is searching for you”, just let yourself be.
Try some of these suggestions and then reflect on how they work for you. Talk as a family about your use of the media, and the media’s use of you. Ask the Holy Spirit to help and guide you as you follow our Lord’s example of unplugging for a while from a world that is “too much with us”.
Grace and peace,
photo by pigpogm