From within reach from where I am sitting right now I have a cell phone, a land line, a fax machine and color printer, a black and white laser printer, stereo, MP3 recorder, and of course, a computer. My cell phone alone, has the internet, e-mail, calendar, games, note pad, and oh ya – a phone. Talk about plugged in and over-stimulated; I’ve got it all and it makes me wonder sometimes – if God tried to reach me, would I hear the call?
This week I wanted to talk about healthy ways to escape "the swirl" that life can become so we leave room for God. One very simple way to make room for God, to hear the “whisper” (1 Kings 19:12), is to unplug.
“The desert is a place where we are deliberately under stimulated” - Richard Rohr, “Everything Belongs.”
A while back we got a new Sports Radio station in town and I got hooked. I LOVE sports, and now I could listen 24-7 in my car, and even on the Internet at work, if I wanted too. And then there was a hockey strike. Now Vancouver, BC, CANADA, where I live is a hockey town, and this town without hockey is like Boston without the Red Sox – a lot of people were going nuts.
I began to get a little depressed. Not because I missed hockey so much, but because the end of the strike was like the proverbial dangling carrot, and the talk was so negative. Several times it looked as if the strike might end and all the fans hopes would rise, and then another deadline would pass, or promise would go unfulfilled, and everyone would be down again. Unfortunately, because of my attachment to the local team and to talk radio in general, I rode this rollercoaster of emotion along with all of the other fans.
Eventually, I just had to turn the radio off. I didn’t switch to another station, I didn’t start listening to CD’s; I just unplugged and sat in a silent car wherever I drove.
A funny thing happened. I began to pray whenever I was in the car, I began to feel better about life in general, and I began to feel more, and more at peace.
There’s a spiritual desert that people sometimes go through, I’m not talking about that here, per se, but what I am talking about is intentionally unplugging, so we can hear God and abide in his loving presence. We could go a lot deeper than this with the desert principle, but let’s leave it there for now.
learning to pray: What can you unplug?