Disconnecting to Connect

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Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus,

My family recently returned from a week’s vacation. As is the case for many, this was our first time away from our house and day-to-day life in well over a year. Before we left, Cory and I made the decision that we would be extra diligent in disconnecting from much of our typical daily consumption of media and news. I turned off notifications on my phone and determined not to check my email inboxes (yes, I have three!) or connect to social media during our vacation.

I wasn’t perfect at this. There were a couple of times early on when, out of habit, I opened my Facebook app. As the week went on, however, I gradually fell into a practice of not checking my phone. (I was surprised by how much longer the phone battery lasted!)

The result was one of the most relaxing weeks I have experienced in a long time. It was truly a restorative week. My mind wasn’t consumed with the goings on of the world. I was more present for my family—not just physically, but mentally, too.

It is good to rest, to take time off from our daily tasks. God invites, even commands, us to rest:

“Six days you shall do your work,

but on the seventh day you shall rest,

so that your ox and your donkey may have relief,

and your homeborn slave

and the resident alien may be refreshed.”

– Exodus 23:12

God modeled this rest when He completed the work of creation:

“For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

but rested the seventh day;

therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day

and consecrated it.”

– Exodus 20:11

One of the things that happens when we cease from working and observe a time of rest is that we realize that the world doesn’t revolve around us. We become aware of the fact that we’re not in control. We begin to see that God is the one taking care of us, providing for us—and not only us, but the whole world.

Perhaps you’re not inclined or in a position to take a week’s vacation to the lake or the beach or the mountains; however, you can still take a break. God commands, even invites, you to “remember the sabbath day and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). Rest and remember that God (not you) is the One running the show. Trust Him to take care of you.

When resting, I’d encourage you to turn off the notifications on your phone. Also, refrain from picking up the newspaper or turning on the television to catch the morning or evening reports. The news will still be there tomorrow or next week; and besides, what will you do with the news anyway? You’ll think about it, worry about it, get worked up about it. What good will that do?

Follow God’s lead: rest. Disconnect from the news cycle and the demands of the job so that you can connect with God who created you and your family and friends and neighbors among whom God has placed you. Take the time to be present—in mind, body, and spirit—with those closest to you.

The Lord be with you.

Pastor Mike