The Power of Unplugging. (So You Can Enjoy Your Life More)

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So, I’m kinda addicted to the internet machine. Because I really like Facebook. And email. And my favorite blogs. And there’s always something entertaining on the Youtube device. And Pinterest is intriguing but then it always makes me really hungry. And angry. Because I never seem to have all those ingredients in my kitchen.

And there’s this thing I’ve noticed about myself. This thing that I do that I don’t like when I notice myself doing it. I often come to the computer looking for love or fulfillment or something.

I know that sounds strange, but do you know what I mean? Like, I click on my email box to see if there’s anything in there that will help me feel significant. And then I check my Facebook to see if someone has posted something that’ll make me laugh or if enough people have “liked” something I’ve said. And then I click on a couple blogs to see if those words will encourage me and fill me up.

And then sometimes, I hate to admit it, but I just keep sitting there, with the laptop open, going,

“Is that it? Is this all there is? Maybe I should browse Pinterest again. So, I can get hungry again. And mad. No wait, I’ll check the news now. Great. Now, I’m freaked out. Well, perhaps there’s something out there on the Twittersphere that will help. Surely. Surely, if I sit here long enough, something will jump out at me and make me feel completely loved and entirely whole and all filled up and then I’ll be happy in the most satisfied way.”

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I know. It’s ridiculous. That’s kinda a lot to expect from the internet.

Before long, I don’t like the person I’ve become. The way I’ve turned selfish and conceited, really, and come to the computer with these outlandish expectations. And the thing is, it never fails, when I’m in that sort of mode– I always walk away feeling depleted and disappointed and empty, still.

Because I know, deep down, that the internet can’t make me feel loved. And social media isn’t just a bunch of “icons” on my screen–those are real people with blood pumping through their veins who are either having a good day or a bad day, and they’ve got thoughts and feelings and sincere needs.

So, what can I do to break this mentality? And how can I curb the addiction to keep clicking away while the day disappears and there are other things to get done and a life to live that doesn’t involve a screen glowing in front of my face?

About four months ago, I began a new rhythm in my life. For one week out of every month, I unplug from social media. Instead of adding to the ruckus, I choose to be quiet. I walk away from  the noise of Facebook and Twitter and remember again what it was like before the days when I had access to all this constant interaction and information.

Basically, I give my soul a break.

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And on my break, I intentionally tune in to God. Because sometimes the world around me grows so loud that it’s hard to hear Him anymore. And it’s certainly hard to hear Him when I’m constantly connected to this steady stream of random information and when I’m posting away and adding to all the noise.

I also go outside and just peer up into trees. Or sit a spell and watch the ants. Or admire a mushroom that I’ve never before seen. And I play with my kids more. And breathe deeply more.

I’ve noticed that if I want a more peaceful, enjoyable existence, I’ve just got to unplug.

Let me tell you, it’s been the very best thing. This saying no, even though it feels like I’m missing out on some things, because I don’t want to miss the main thing–namely, my life!

And when I come back from a break, I like the person I’ve become a whole lot better. I step into the community of social media again, looking to give instead of to get.

So, here’s to unplugging!

And enjoying life more.
And carving out space to listen to God.
And going outside and peering up into trees!
And to looking full in the faces around me.
To breathing deep.
And being free!

Maybe you’d want to unplug, too?

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Speaking of enjoying your life, I wanted to share a free download with you. (Click here!) Print this off for your fridge or tape it to your bathroom mirror or stick it in a frame. Some place to remind you that there’s God-glory is all around. Since the heaven’s are always shouting it out, maybe we should get outside! Go on a beauty-hunt. Gather up some glory. Enjoy your life!

 

8 Comments

  1. by meg on August 25, 2014  8:40 pm Reply

    We went on vacation and I totally unplugged this weekend... and read your book! LOVE it! And it held so many things my soul needed to hear! Thank you!

    • by Maggie on August 26, 2014  8:31 pm Reply

      Happy vacation to you, Meg. I visited your blog last night. It's beautiful! You're a great photographer! And I love your "hippie" looking dress. I think you said you found it at a thrift store? Man, Brent and I LOVE thrift stores. That's what we do on vacation. Ha! Bless you.

  2. by Michelle DeRusha on August 29, 2014  11:48 am Reply

    Hi Maggie, It's lovely to meet you here - I'm coming over from Ann Voskamp's place, and I just have to say, this post resonates with me so, so much. So let me ask: do you simply use willpower to step away from social media/the internet all week, or is there a way you physically disconnect so you are free of the temptation? And do you not blog or check email during that time? I apologize for all my nosy questions -- clearly I am curious and in need of a similar approach, but don't quite know how to go about it. Your book looks beautiful, Maggie - I'm going to put it on my must-read list for sure.

    • by Maggie on August 30, 2014  12:19 pm Reply

      Hi dear Michelle! It's so good to meet you here too!

      I've found that I don't have enough self-control in myself to just step away. (I'm praying about that. I know God wants me to have self-control.) Facebook is my biggest struggle, so that's what I get away from the most. I was deactivating my account completely, but since we recently published a book, I wasn't sure if I should keep doing that, because when you deactivate, then no one can find you at all. So, this last time, I just asked my husband to change the password on my account so I couldn't log back in. And then, of course, I asked him to keep me accountable. (And I promised not to kick him in shins for hiding the password from me.) :) I do still check my email. And I do still read Ann Voskamp's blog because that's restorative for me.

      I think the biggest thing is just to start somewhere. The point (for me) isn't to set a bunch of rules and regulations on myself. The point is for me to come away and carve out time to be with Jesus. To get my priorities back in check and to practice self-control so I can grow stronger in this area. I just prayed and asked God for help. Shutting off facebook for a week was the thought that I had. And now, I'm sticking with it! It's been the best thing!!!

      Prayed for you just now. May the Lord bless you with wisdom and creativity so you can know the best thing for you! Bless you, Michelle. Thanks so much for reading here.

  3. by Connie on August 29, 2014  10:17 pm Reply

    I so enjoyed this post as I do the same thing. I too will try being unplugged for a week.

    • by Maggie on August 30, 2014  12:20 pm Reply

      Bless you, dear Connie! It's been the best thing for me.

  4. by Jen Pogue on August 30, 2014  4:40 pm Reply

    This post was just what I needed to read! I go through phases of social media addiction and then a healthy phase where I can take it or leave it. I'm praying about how to find a more balanced approach. I like your idea of taking one week off per month! Also, I'm reading your book right now and I love it!

    • by Maggie on September 1, 2014  10:27 am Reply

      Jen, thanks so much for reading here and for reading my book! (Lord, please help all Your followers to know how to manage these things. We want to walk with You here. To be led by Your Spirit.)

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