Here’s a paragraph I wrote back in July for a blog that I never published:
How do you unplug? I’ve just joined facebook. I’m also a member of two business online networking groups. I’m a little addicted to e-mail.  I maintain my work and personal calendar online using Google Calendar. And after a morning of updating my various “in touch” media, I’m sitting down to study and my head feels a bit buzzed. I realize my significant need to unplug before I turn my attention to studying. Hence, the question, “how do you unplug?”

Why do I bring this up now? Here’s a few paragraphs I wrote this morning:
It’s 11am –  I started reading my Bible an hour ago…and I’ve just finished my first chapter. Not because it was a long chapter, mind you, or because I stopped often to reflect on what God was saying, or even because I stopped after reading a single verse or two to write a blog. Nope. It took me so long because it was interrupted so often by my brain misfiring in other directions.

Usually I ignore the misfires – mentally set them aside until I’ve finished reading. Sometimes I sense that they aren’t really misfires – sure, they’re headed in a different direction than my planned journey, but they seem to be a “God direction.” Those can be great misfires (obviously making the term “misfire” a misnomer, but I’m going with it just the same). Then there are times like today when it seems that each misfire “needs” to be acted upon, or acting upon a God-directed misfire, I get distracted with other things.

Here’s today’s example: I’m reading along in Ezekiel and I come to this great verse:

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Ezekiel 18:23 – What a gracious God we serve!

I knew I wanted to post it in Facebook. I don’t typically post Scripture in FB, but I suspected this was a God-directed misfire, so I went with it. I made my post, then of course, glanced over the page. There was a comment from one cousin to another about some pictures of her skydiving adventure.  Wow! Of course I had to go look at them – twice! Then I had to add a note to her FB page. I returned to my FB page and saw another entry about a “God-moment.” I had to respond to that. Then I checked e-mail (because, hey, I was in an on-line moment…). That reminded me that I’m going to be out of my office a lot more than usual during the coming week so I sent an e-mail to employees about my crazy schedule. After that I glanced at the time and saw it was getting later, so I did a quick calculation about when I needed to put dinner in the slow cooker (pork roast tonight – yum – but only if I get it in the slow cooker!). Finally, I went back to Ezekiel. A few verses later and I realized that I’ve read…one chapter in one hour! And trying to start the next chapter, my brain is still misfiring. Aargh. So I remembered the blog I started back in July and it seems to be time to revisit it. (While typing this my computer kept clicking – turns out I hadn’t left FB and a friend was IM-ing me from her vacation. I stopped to visit…then closed FB.)

Do you suffer from a misfiring brain when you want to spend time with God?
I imagine we all do at times and sometimes those times are God-ordained (God-directed misfires, as I’ve called them). Most of the time, though, it’s a result of our frantic lifestyle and patterns – slowing down and stopping are things we learn with practice. They do not come naturally to most of us.

How do you unplug?
I unplug in a number of ways, not the least of which is writing. It helps to clear and to clarify my jumbled thoughts. It also provides a record that helps me to see how I ended up where I am. I like that.

I also unplug by becoming a vegetable in front of the television. I don’t like that so much, but obviously haven’t made the decision to change it. Writing has way more benefits than television, but it also requires that I use my mind and sometimes my mind just doesn’t want to be used! Even so, vegging in front of the tube isn’t very edifying and it’s not going to put me in a place to hear from God (usually).

I love to worship and would like to develop the pattern of releasing my mind with worship music in the background – but I’m not very good at that…yet.

Obviously, my cousin unplugs by jumping out of airplanes! Hmmm….I don’t think so.

Purposes of Unplugging
It occurs to me that there are multiple purposes in unplugging and that we might have different methods of unplugging for each purpose.

  • To enter God’s presence.
  • To focus on any task at hand.
  • To release the tensions of the day.

OK, this blog is certainly a reflection of my scattered brain this morning. Unlike my attempt in July, I’m going to publish the blog this time, as a starting point for the blog I’m trusting God will give me to publish on Monday. I’ll pick up with purposes for and approaches to unplugging (I think.) In the meantime, feel free to leave your own suggestions here and I’ll include them in the next blog.

Now I think I’m going to go put the pork roast in the slow cooker.

Oh, BTW, the title of this blog – “Unplugging! Part 1” – that’s a “by faith” title – I don’t have “Part 2” yet, but I’m trusting God has a “Part 2” in mind. Pray that I’ll be able to hear it!

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