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UNPLUGGING

UNPLUGGING

SEVEN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES FOR BUSY PEOPLE

In previous weeks 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) and a true “Renaissance Man”, who made spending time with God his first 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. We have looked at four spiritual practices that you might find helpful in living each day in the awareness of God’s presence with you:

  1. The Daily God Hunt
  2. Palms Down/Palms Up
  3. Praying Scripture
  4. Prayer Walking.

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
Psalm 46:10

“The world is too much with us; late and soon”, lamented poet William Wordsworth, almost two centuries ago. What might Wordsworth have to 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 I catch myself going online just to check my email, and an hour later I’m web searching, forgetting why I had even gone online in the first place. Many of us are feeling the need for time to think, to talk, to feel, to listen, to pray and to just be.

From earliest times the people of God have practiced fasting as a way of spiritual cleansing and renewal, symbolizing their need for repentance and change in direction. Today, many people are also feeling the need to “fast” from social media and the Internet for a while, pulling 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 need to always be plugged in.

Our Lord remains the model for unplugging and taking time away from the world He had come 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 reach 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 devices 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 after a busy day. Those items remain there for the night unless he has some “good reason” to access them.
  • Listen to silence or 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,
Tim

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