Lessons from a Technology Outage: A Technology Fast

There is no question technology makes things easier and faster, when it’s working… but does it make life better?  What would happen if we lost all cell and internet service?

Over the last couple days this is exactly what I encountered.  Our home is out of the range of cell service so we rely on internet access for just about everything.  News, shopping, e-mail, entertainment and texting. Then it went out.  At first we were told it would be back in 6 hours. When that past they said it would be another 18 hours and still the outage goes on for the entire area so my mom is out as well.

What made this so interesting for me was observing myself and what that reflection taught me.

  1. I still live too much for what others think.
  2. The stress associated with technology is more real than we think.
  3. It is easier to draw close to God when we are not in control.
  4. Relationships benefit from being disconnected.

What Did I Learn From My Technology Break?

At first when the internet went down I was frustrated, the plans to get the prayer update out, and my plans to be trained on Hootsuite for our social media were being derailed. I could not check my email and wifi texting was out. All my plans to try to catch up on a number of important tasks were gone and I was falling further behind.  I thought about jumping in the car and going to a coffee shop but realized I had workmen coming to the house and that everybody in the area would be doing the same thing slowing any access to a crawl.

Then my mind wandered to what a board member would think when the social media was not up again given and the conclusions he would draw. So my frustration with the outage increased. I thought about calling the board member to tell him, but realized that it would likely just be viewed as an excuse.

When you find yourself in these thought patterns, stress and anxiety increase and you realize you are focused on the wrong things… smile!

After 90 minutes or so I realized I was tying myself in knots over what others would do and think if I didn’t get things done or respond to them in a timely fashion. God and His plan or desire for this time had been pushed from my consciousness.

It was then that it struck me that after all these years I was still focused on others and myself and not on the Lord when I was bumped.  All too quickly I lost the kingdom perspective and the fact that He has my back and knew this would happen before it occurred. That is when I began to refocus on the fact that the Lord likely had a plan for this time.

When I began to pray and ask God what He wanted, my heart rate slowed, my mind cleared and I began to trust the Lord with the outage. That’s when I found He wanted me to spend more time preparing for the radio series ‘The Jesus Your Kids Will Follow’ and with two 21 year old coaching clients who I was not going to talk to this week to try to catch up.  It turned out they had both encountered some bumps this week.  One, Nichole had actually encountered a breakthrough but wasn’t seeing it in the positive light it truly was. The progress made in the time with her was amazing as she requested a list of verses, something she hasn’t sought for some time in her life.

As the outage extended I found myself praying more and worrying less, I had time that was empty which gave me time to ponder some of the issues the ministry and my family face while more in tune with the Lord.  I found myself beginning to call people instead of emailing or texting, leading to conversations that added to the relationships.

Last night, without technology, we spent more time talking as a family, hearing things we would not have heard if the technology were pressing in on us.

As the outage continues today the tasks that can not get done are piling up, but I am enjoying life more and God is speaking more clearly because I was forced to slow down and clear my mind and heart. I look forward to what will come from this extended absence from the world.

There is no question technology makes things easier and faster, when it’s working… but does it make life better?

I am pondering the concept of a technology fast where everyone in the family agrees to turn off their phones, computers and tablets when at home for an extended time, say 48 to 72 hours.  The challenge with this that my kids have found that all their homework is online and so they have not gotten it done.  So if you do a technology fast I would suggest letting the teachers know in advance and even pull that pressure off the plate and see what God teaches you and your kids.

Blessings,

Jeff

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