The Most Important Time to Unplug

Years ago during a long, snowy, Minnesota winter, our girls built a luge run over our deck stairs ten feet high, down through the back yard to the pond below.

As Maggie prepped for her initial run on a plastic sled, she asked John to stand at the edge of the pond and promise to catch her if she was going so fast that she might slide onto the ice which was thin.

John reassured her over and over again. No problem. He would catch her no matter what.

You can guess what’s coming, right?

Maggie zipped down the luge and flew right past her father’s outstretched arms so fast that he actually jumped back instead of catching her and into the slushy pond she went.

Shocked, scared, mad, betrayed, sad, wounded…WET.

We all have ice-crashing moments when there is a tumult of emotion and our first reaction is often to reach for a security blanket that may look like our phone, TV, or computer. 

If you’re like me, maybe you do this because our drive in emotional turmoil is either to escape or to vent.

However, ice-crashing moments are the exact time that it is most important to unplug. I write this because I experienced an ice-crashing moment last week and in the aftermath I learned some things about myself that may be true for you too.

Texting, TV, or social media is dangerous in emotional times because it:

  • Distracts from issues that need to be faced. I don’t think a Netflix marathon with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is always a bad thing at all, but if we don’t do the hard work of being still with God alone, we will default to emotion and letting unhealthy tapes play over and over in our head.

We need to look hard at the emotion and interrogate it. Ask where it is coming from. Where is the truth? What would the Enemy like me to believe? What is the most life-giving response I can embrace?

  • Demands that we DO something too quickly. The relentless 24/7 access to information, noise, voices tends to amp up our sense of urgency. There is a word in scripture translated “terrified” that is the Greek word, “tarasso” which means “to set in motion what needs to remain still”.

Betrayal + quickly written emails = disaster.

Anger + quickly posted tweet = disaster.

Fear + quickly posted FB warning = disaster.

When we stay plugged in we may be tempted to set something in motion when instead we need to remain still.

  • Distances us from Jesus. How often is my phone the first thing I reach for – to vent to a friend when I have an ice-crashing moment? How often do I put an electronic device between me and Jesus, thinking, I’ll get around to talking to Him at some point, but really I’m obsessed with strategizing my way out of the discomfort? My goal isn’t really getting His perspective, but controlling the situation instead.
  • Discourages us through comparison. Turning to social media after an ice-crashing moment will do one of two things. It will make us proud because we will see others who are much “losier” that we are, or it will make us feel defeated because EVERYONE we look at has it all together. Neither is a great option.

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My phone is my security blanket. The best decisions I made last week were the times I distanced myself from it and left it at home. Maybe that’s not true for you. Maybe it’s something else that needs to be unplugged or left alone when you have an ice-crashing moment. What’s your experience been?

4 Comments

  1. Great observation Laura. Days can be so fast-paced and chaotic. Taking time to live in the moment and reflect….alone…is necessary and a chance to re-set.

  2. Wow, what a nice word of advice on such a bright morning! You know, for about two years, my phone (or laptop at times) has been where i run to in case of anything. Be it boredom, anger or distress and it was becoming addictive. Recently, i thought about running to the Bible instead and though it was challenging at the start, i think its now working. The Bible has the best answers to all human concerns. Now my phone is just like any other thing i own. Not given priority, and i think this is bringing me closer to God!!!

    • Precious Mike, seeing your words from Uganda this morning brought tears to my eyes. We are so proud of you. You have many challenges and stress and escape in any form must be a huge temptation. I am praying for you this morning – that you would remember Jesus’ words, “Come to Me…” and that you would see His gracious hand in your life today.

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