I love electricity. I love the internet. I love watching movies. I love email. I love blogging.
But sometimes I feel like these things occupy too much of my time.
I also love peace and quiet. I love a god book. I love quiet walks in the woods.
So it was with mixed feelings that I responded to Ben’s announcement that he would be “unplugging” for a day for his Spiritual Disciplines assignment, and I was welcome to join him. No internet, TV, or Blackberry. Our family doesn’t watch much TV, and Ben’s the only one with a Blackberry, but our computer is used a lot. I knew that a day without touching it would be great, even though a part of me didn’t feel like taking a break.
Because we live far away from everything, we use email a lot. I often look up recipes on the internet, I spend a lot of time working on this blog, organizing photos, and reading other blogs. I fit all of that in throughout the day, when I have a few minutes here and there.
What I found out on our day of being unplugged was that over and over, I would think, “Oh, I should look that up on the internet,” only to remember that I couldn’t. Phone numbers, health related information, anything I’d saved on the computer would just have to wait.
And it did wait. Nothing was an emergency. I was just stuff that I wanted to do now. It was an inconvenience to have to wait. I couldn’t believe how often it came up.
So I started a list of things I needed to do the next day, and then I went and sat on the couch with my Bible, a good book, and a book of Sudoku puzzles.
It was a very relaxing, quiet, enjoyable day, once I got myself to switch to a slower pace.
It was so enjoyable, in fact, that the next weekend, I told Ben that we should do it again. So we did.
We haven’t done it every Sunday since then, but I definitely want to do it quite regularly.
Here are my reasons why:
1) It does wonderful things for my list of “priorities”. It gives me more perspective on how we spend our time, what is a healthy balance, and what role we want our computer to play in our lives.
2) It is an excellent reminder of what a privilege it is to have these conveniences, and going without them is a good way to remember that I could survive without them (but thank goodness I don’t have to), and many people in the world do survive without them. So treat it like a gift.
3) Being unplugged gave me extra time for reading my Bible, praying, etc. It forced me to get back to some of the other things that I really enjoy doing, but take more effort than sitting down at the computer.
4) The whole day felt slower, more relaxed, and left me feeling very refreshed.
5) It helped to make Sunday really feel like a day of rest, and different from all the other regular days of the week. I like it when Sundays are special.
6) It was a continual reminder for me to refocus my thoughts. Every time I wanted to be busy, and go get some work done on the computer, and remember that I couldn’t, it was a reminder to slow down, be quiet and more at rest, and focus on God.
We live in a culture that is very loud, busy, and involved. There are many things fighting for our attention, and sometimes I think it’s easy to get so used to the noise that we don’t even realize how loud it is. For our family, our computer was the biggest challenge to give up, but I think it would be different for different people.
If you would unplug for a day, what would you need to do to get some extra peace and quiet?