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I issue a warning to myself

Machines are great, but there are too many of them in my life. I wrote over the weekend about the need to unplug. The irony of a message like that going out over a blog is rich. Today I take my own advice. My son and I drove (granted, in a machine powered by fuel delivered by machines on a roa…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Machines are great, but there are too many of them in my life. I wrote over the weekend about the need to unplug. The irony of a message like that going out over a blog is rich.

Today I take my own advice. My son and I drove (granted, in a machine powered by fuel delivered by machines on a road made by machines) four hours into the mountains of Tennessee to go on a personal retreat. I’m posting this at an Applebees before we go off-line and I’ll get my daughter to “take it live” tomorrow.

Cell phones don’t work up there, so life slows down to a human pace. You’ve got time to reconnect with the parts of you that have been dormant for too long.

And if the side of you that machines helped create goes dark, maybe that’s not so bad. The Facebook-self, the Twitter-self will wait.

When I return after a few days, I will again Facebook my friends. I may type “LOL”, but it won’t be the same as as if they heard my laughter. And maybe my little act of unplugging will cause a few of them to look at their emoticon-existence and ponder the question, “Am I tweeting myself into oblivion?”

These next few days of tramping about in the woods, praying and journal-writing should breathe life to my spirit. And I’ll be praying that people I love (like you) find some space in their machine-enabled worlds to do the same.

In a way I’m typing my digital-self a warning with this post. When I return to the machine world, I need a better strategy for unplugging lest I lose that part of me that others like the most. When I return, I need to change my habits.

And that raises a question worth considering: Have you lost touch with the part of you that others like most? What do you need to unplug? The world will wait.

Comments (8)

  • Wow, now I feel bad for all the NFL texting I did yesterday regarding the Redskins. I was wondering why I wasn’t getting responses from the both of you!

  • I’m learning to unplug. Didn’t check email all weekend. I’m finding that intentional time away from my computer and smartphone bring me more peace. It also helps me focus on the present and not feel so distracted. I’m reading zenhabits.net a lot and pulling some good nuggets on managing technology instead of it managing me. A good book on this topic is Flickering Pixels by Shane Hipps.

  • A wonderful way to spend a few days, Seth! You sum up one reason why I don’t have or want a smartphone. I have to be able to walk away from technology when I choose. Too much of it in my house; I don’t want it following me around when I’m out!

  • what i really wanted to do for lent was fast from technology (especially social media), which was just not possible in my line of work. i’m on vacation next week. i’m pretty sure my inboxes won’t be as slammed as i think it will.

  • This has been on my heart–I need to reconnect and disconnect. I need to reconnect to the part of me that’s slipped into the oblivion and disconnect from some things that have robbed me of precious time that could actually be spent WITH a friend, instead of “following” them. Thank you for your encouragement through this blog and reminding us the importance of getting away from it all every once and a while. It is so needed! A refreshment of the soul! LOVE it! Praying you and Seth are refreshed too! Blessings!

  • Good word. Will be praying for you. This is 1 reason I don’t tweet. I have an account and check in on 3 or 4 people once or twice a month- but otherwise, I don’t need those interruptions taking me away from real people in real live time.

    One thing I see with Americans who are on mission trips without internet, they become more human. They become alive, engaged and more aware of what is in front of them rather than what they are ‘missing.’

    I’m not knocking internet…as a missionary, it’s been a helpful tool for prayer and connection- but I’ve seen it enslave people too. I’ve seen fear take over those who have to be unplugged for a short while when they RELY on these things for their marketing success, promotion…as they think if they don’t compete by keeping up with other’s tweets/blogs/websites/FB…that they will fall behind or fail. Wonder where God figures in to their equation?

    Glad you and your son are getting into nature unplugged. I think God smiles on that and I think those memories are more lasting than blog entries.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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