UNPLUG – I Double Dare You

DSCN3057Unplug…all of it for a few precious minutes each day and be quiet.  No phone.  No radio or podcast.  No email or social media.  Just be quiet and tell God you want to hear Him.  It would be a good idea to actually hear what your spouse and/or children are saying too!

We get so caught up in the hustle of our days, and the proverbial “to-do” list that even when we do stop physically we still aren’t   Q. U. I. E. T.  We stop and plop down in front of the television, computer, or smart phone that’s stuck in our hand like another appendage.

We all know Psalm 46:10:

Be still and know that I am God;…”

Yet we are never still and quiet enough to hear His still, small voice.  I like the NASB translation of this verse.  It reads;

Cease striving and know that I am God;…” 

The meaning is: Let go, relax.  I’m thinking….”Let go of your device!!!”

Maybe we take a few minutes to read a verse or two or three in our Bible, but we close it and dash off to the next thing without listening to what God…the Holy Spirit wants to speak into our hearts about it.  We aren’t listening to what He wants to teach us, or what He desires for us to do about what we just read.

Not only is listening for, and to God important in our lives, but so is actively listening to our families.  Do we actually look at them when they are speaking to us?

Whether we have been at work all day or working at home, we need to look into our spouses’ eyes when they talk to us.  We need to actively look at our children as they are telling us about their day.  Because believe me, if parents do not actively listen to, and look at their children when they are young, there will come a day when they will quit trying to tell you anything…and that is a tragedy.

Okay, so maybe you don’t have a spouse or children.  Maybe your children are grown.  That’s fine, because we all need to apply this, no matter who the people are in our lives.  We all need to unplug…silence the phone for awhile and put it down.  Enjoy the blessings of silence, and time to read and think.  Be thankful for the blessing of time with God, family, and others in our lives by making the most of the time we have together.

Yes, there are many benefits to the internet and these devices of ours.  However…..there are also dangers and risks.  Some dangers I’m sure come immediately to your mind.  Though there are conflicting statistics, a brief internet search shows that there is a very real “internet addiction”.  I get it.  If someone struggles with a drug or alcohol addiction, they need to completely avoid the addictive substance.  But the internet and our devices, I think would be more like a food addiction.  We need food to live, so one cannot completely avoid the addictive substance – food.  The addiction has to be brought under control through various means.  So it is with the internet and our devices.  We shop online, pay bills on line, check tons of email…important and…not so much.  Many of our jobs and ministries require a good bit of online time.  Then there’s social media.  But is it really that important to scroll through the entire several hours of statuses since we last logged in to see what we’ve missed?!

We have to draw the line somewhere.  That line is going to be different for each of us.  But I think we can agree that it’s all too easy to become so connected to all of our devices, that we become very disconnected in our relationships.

Here are links to two very good articles on how our screen time is seriously affecting our marriages and our children.  One is Christian, one is not.  But both give some concise and very eye opening information on the subject.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/04/ways-screens-are-ruining-your-familys-life_n_3860927.html

http://www.marriagetoday.com/unplug-your-marriage/

I want to share just a few thoughts from scripture, but lest I appear as a big, fat hypocrite…….I am convicted.  I am in the rut myself and need to make some changes.  I too, need to learn how to set limits for myself on online time…especially in the evenings.  At least once a week, like tonight, I’m working on finishing a blog post.  But all the other evenings there’s far too much time spent on social media and “just browsing”.  Time that could be spent reading or talking with my husband when he’s home, not to mention getting to bed at a much earlier hour.

I am so ashamed to admit this, but a typical evening, after the dinner clean-up and evening walk is this;  Hubs on one end of the couch with the tablet, me on the other end with my laptop, in front of the television with our phones nearby to catch the occasional text or email.  Next to each other, connected….yet disconnected.  Lord have mercy!  It’s scary how easily these things can become a distraction…then a habit.

In 1 Peter 3:7, husbands are told to;

“…live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”

Men, how can you learn to understand your wives if you are not “observing” them….seeing the heart behind the words or behavior?  Be a student of your wife…learning what makes her tick.  Learn to know and understand her heart.

Wives, we too need to “observe” our husbands, be sensitive to their needs, be their helper, and treat them respectfully.  Proverbs 31:11-12 tells us;

“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Finally, Psalm 127:1a, 3a, 4 says;

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…”  “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord…”   “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.”

If God says our children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior…where are you aiming your children?  Every day, every moment is shaping them, and pointing them….somewhere.  Live in your home in such a way that you are pointing yourself first to Jesus….then making every effort to point your children to Him

Kind David said in Psalm 101:2;

“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…..I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”

Colossians 3:17 tells us;

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus….”

Let’s live our lives within our homes, as well as outside of them in such a way that honors Christ and blesses our families.  Take time to unplug and plug in to the True Power Source.  You will find a peace and calm amidst the daily hustle.  You will find a joy and happiness in your days that has been missing.

My prayer is that we will be reminded to invest the time we are given in people, in our relationships, and not waste so much of that time being distracted on our phones, computers and televisions.

Let’s encourage one another to do exactly that!  Will any of you take the challenge to unplug from your devices and connect a bit more with your families….with God?!  Let me know in the comments what changes you need to make, and how it’s going!  My first step is to spend no more than 20 minutes of screen time evenings (unless I’m writing!), and stop carrying my phone with me almost continually.

I think this one is to be continued!  I need to be held accountable myself!

All for His Glory!

Debbie

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