I’m still processing all the benefits I experienced this past week of being unplugged and off social media, personally and professionally. Some seasons absolutely require more intense engagement with social media, and I’m grateful for the opportunities various platforms bring, but if you - like me - are feeling worn down with mental and emotional fatigue, and feeling anxiously connected to your phone for various reasons, I encourage you to consider whatever a respite might look like for you. Here are 10 immediate things I learned this past week, unplugged:
- I can learn a lot more through meaningful conversations than reading comments.
- I have more capacity to enjoy the people right in front of me when I’m not distracted.
- There’s really no hurry, after all.
- Arguing a different point of view is much more productive in-person.
- We don’t have to give ourselves 24/7 access to headlines meant to cause alarm.
- Almost everything can wait with communication/notice. There’s not one decision, email, text, or meeting that MUST happen immediately. Give yourself time to think, to pray, to rest. Constant information trains us to constantly react… until overstimulation causes us to feel paralyzed.
- It’s easier to look up and out at the amazing nuances of God’s handiwork when I’m not continually drawn back to my phone.
- I take really good mental pictures even when I don’t capture or share moments on my phone.
- I’m overly influenced by social media and it’s affect on my sense of approval, work, worth, relevancy, escape, entertainment... the list goes on.
- If I want to have ministry longevity and long-term vision for Kingdom work, I must choose carefully what I’m steeped in daily —and how much time I allow social media to take my attention — especially in this new COVID-impacted reality.
Last week I took one full week off social media, unplugged, and spent time with my people, and I have to admit: it was unbelievably good for my soul. My phone isn’t inherently evil, but it sure can dictate patterns in my life if I let it. Putting it in its proper place freed up my heart and mind to listen to long stories, to capture memories in my mind, and to invest in conversations happening right around my kitchen table. No longer in a prison of scrolling and double-clicking, my hands were available for spontaneous back rubbing, shrimp peeling, seashell finding, and uninterrupted hand-holding.
Friend, we don’t live to produce; we’re made for His presence. We are image-bearers...not image-brokers. When we’re filled up, we overflow. And that is one of my biggest takeaways this week: I shouldn’t - I must not - create any other way.
My desire is always to be a blessing to you and to share with you what the Lord is teaching me. There is a lot I learned through this experience that I hope you can benefit from so that we can together preach truth to our own hearts.
(Speaking of blessings, we were unexpectedly gifted a week at a family beach house where we could rest, play, socially distance as needed, and where I could write this next book I’m working on. We also watched the Christopher Robin movie together, and well: Pooh is sure a wise bear.)
Resources to Help You Unplug
- 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You book by Tony Reinke
- Raising Boys in a Digital World Boymom podcast with guest Ruth Chou Simons
- The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction book by Justin Whitmel Earley
- Competing Spectacles: Treasuring Christ in the Media Age book by Tony Reinke
- Beholding and Becoming: The Art of Everyday Worship book by Ruth Chou Simons. This can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, and you can find signed copies in GraceLaced Shoppe.
I'm praying for you today, friend. I'm praying that you take time to rest. That you put down your phone, step away from your computer and your tv, and rest in the Lord, and that as you are filled up by Him then you overflow.
Because of grace,