Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life Unplugged

Living in 21st century America is synonymous with being busy. Too busy. Our calendars are full of activities - business appointments and deadlines, family matters, church involvement, community service, entertainment options, consumer pursuits - the list goes on. While the world has become so much smaller due to technology, that doesn't equate to intimacy. You would think with so much available at our finger tips that makes life so much easier than it has ever been before that we would have gained more time by the conveniences that we have today. But that has proven to not be the case. We have become poor stewards of such gifts. We are enslaved to a lifestyle that is always on Play. And the strangest thing about this is very few of us are probably doing what we really want to do anyway - something we're gifted at. A lot of talent and opportunity gets wasted because "life gets in the way", but we often allow that to happen to ourselves with wrong - or not quite right - choices. Our life gets completely cluttered by things that really don't matter that have nothing to do with who we are.

I spoke to a dear lady earlier this morning and she was talking about how she needed to go through her attic, her basement, and her house in general and remove "all the clutter". "But it takes so much time and effort to do so!" It's true. It does take time and effort. It takes a conscious choice to remove clutter from ones life. But it is the right thing to do and well worth it. She said that she'll have plenty to give to the Goodwill - which is great! Not only will her house be clean and clear of clutter, but others will benefit from this as well. We all have good things in our life that aren't the best things because they aren't the right things.

Later I reconnected with a dear friend who called me out of the blue. It was great to catch up with him. I'm trying very hard to do those types of things these days - catch up with people from different places and time periods in my life. It was a great blessing. He mentioned how he and his wife decided to "unplug" the cable television. The goal was to devote more time to their marriage and their children. They also made a commitment to join a gym and take the time to get in better physical shape. This really struck me and was coincidental with an event that happened at my house just last evening. My cable and internet went out. Time Warner couldn't figure it out. They told me the earliest they could have someone out was Saturday - four days away! To think that I would have to go without cable and internet for four days! My wife and I freaked out a bit. The prospect of not watching "our shows", or my games (which does not include World Cup by the way!), or movies on demand - the thought was almost unbearable! Plus - no internet?! Life is cruel sometimes. Now, to be fair, I have trimmed back my television quite a bit of late, and I work from home a great deal and require the internet as part of my livelihood. But to think that it would all be down for four days - what ever would we do? It ended up being exactly what I needed. Erin and I had great conversation. I read. We took a walk. I went to bed earlier and slept like a baby. It was actually nice. Time Warner was able to get out today - three days earlier than expected - and they took care of the problem (which is why I can write and publish this now). So the catastrophe was averted! Only, it wasn't a catastrophe. It was nice to hit the Pause button - though unintentional. Life kind of caused it in an unexpected way. Our busy routine was thrown off - a routine filled with unrecognized wasted time and clutter. And I wouldn't say our life is full of bad things. Quite the opposite. But to have life unplugged - to be still - I found this to be very rewarding. But that's not the best part. I allowed my self to not rush through my quiet time with God in order to complete the usual practice. I didn't worry or think about what happened before or what was coming just after that scheduled time. I just got in the moment and stayed there a while until true communion was achieved - a two-way communication with my heavenly Father through prayer and reading. It was wonderful.

Psalm 46:10 says it better than I ever could, "Be still and know that I am God." Mary found this to be true in Luke 10:39. She had a sister Martha, who was very busy trying to do things just right for their house guest Jesus, but Mary "sat at His feet and heard His word". Jesus told Martha that she was troubled about many things, but Mary had chosen the better part - which would never be taken away from her. Our choice to be with God, to stop all else and not worry about the business of the moment and remove all the clutter around us - that is an eternal choice. That is how we truly know God - in the stillness. God is more interested in who we are not what we do - in our being and not our doing. First comes the worship; then comes the walk; then comes the work. To try any of those steps out of sequence will cause our lives - even the best of lives full of good things and activities - to be weighed down with troubles and cares. First things first.

So my cable went out and it was great. I had great conversation with friends who reminded me of what's truly important. And I had a real, personal quiet time with God.

Life unplugged - it's highly underrated.

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