What Happened When I Turned off My Phone, Computer and Television for 24 Hours

Following  a message at our Saturday night service on taking Sabbath seriously, I made good on my commitment to turn off my phone, computer and television for 24 hours. I’m a little embarrassed that such action is a radical move for me, but here’s what happened.

  1. I had to wonder about things.  What yogurt chain was the first one to start the self-serve craze? No idea.  Who voiced the fluffy white fru fru dog in the movie, The Secret Life of Pets? Don’t know.  How much is the continuing ed conference I want to attend going to cost? Have to wait to find out. All of these questions could have been easily answered by picking up my phone or my computer, but I spent the day like it was the early 90s and just wondered. It was actually kind of nice.
  2. I missed something. Isn’t that one of the things that keeps us keeping our devices on at all times? There was a quickly organized protest against the new immigration ban that targets Muslims. Had I known, I would have attended…but I didn’t know. Did the lack of my presence stop anything? No. Were there plenty of white female Presbyterian pastors there to represent? Yes. Do events rise and fall with my presence? Absolutely not.
  3. My family was slightly, but not terribly, annoyed that I was not easily accessible at all times.
  4. I got more done. That’s right, I was actually more productive on my day of rest than I am when I’m working. I read more. I thought more. I prayed more. My house is cleaner. When I had 10 minutes or before I had to be somewhere, I folded laundry or unloaded the dishwasher instead of thumbing through Facebook posts.
  5. I was really relaxed. There was no pressure to check emails or texts to make sure no one needed anything from me (I mean, how important do I really think I am?), there was no outrage over what our President did because I didn’t know, and I didn’t get overwhelmed by my to-do list because I didn’t see it all day.

I started off my Monday in a good place–ready to re-engage and work and do ministry.   If Sabbath is a time in which one does not answer to anyone but God, turning off those devices that constantly demand  attention is a must.  Obviously, most Sundays will not be a good day for me to shut down (except on our Saturday worship weekends), but I’m going to try to find one day every week to do so. A little sabbath can go a long way toward one’s peace of mind and nurturing one’s “inner root of wisdom.”



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