Why you need to learn to switch off
It was a real challenge for Mark Pugh when he was given a prophetic word about where God wanted him to go for his holiday over the summer.
Last year I was given a challenging prophetic word. Apparently God wanted us to take our family holidays in places where there were no mobile phone signals.
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At first my wife was thinking this must mean some remote tropical island, and at the same time my mind recalled the slightly less exotic (and cheaper) places I have visited in Cornwall which often seemed to be devoid of mobile coverage!
Well, this summer, for the first time, I made this word happen. Not because of ‘where’ I holidayed but ‘how’ I holidayed. I’m sure, like many people, trying to work out the best strategy of managing the constant flow of communications from e-mails, Whatsapp, social media and phone calls when on holiday has often been a challenge.
I’ve often tried to address this dilemma by dipping in and out of my inboxes while on vacation and filtering them as either urgent or non-urgent. Then I would try and find appropriate moments to reply to the urgent ones between sightseeing and family time. The remaining emails would simply just need to wait until my ‘out of office’ automated reply informed them I would return.
Whilst this strategy allowed me to avoid too much of an inbox ‘mountain’ to climb once my holiday was over, it also meant that my mind was regularly being triggered while on holiday by a wide range of issues.
Even the messages I marked as non-urgent would get me thinking about work-related matters when I should have been fully present with my family. It felt like my family and my mind were being deprived of the rest they needed.
So this year, I holidayed where there was no mobile phone signal – well what I really mean is there was no signal on my phone. I switched off all my apps and notifications and didn’t switch them back on for the entire duration of my time away. I also stayed logged out of all my social media accounts and only allowed myself to use a news app and Google Maps.
So how did I find the experience? I wasn’t sure I could do it but I found it surprisingly refreshing on a number of levels.
I concluded the following:
We’re not indispensable – teams can and should be empowered to run things well in our absence.
If we feel guilty about switching off, then we have some skewed values which need addressing in our lives.
Our mind deserves and requires a break – the rhythms of rest and sabbath are commands not suggestions.
Our families deserve us to be fully present. I found switching off to be very helpful, and from now on I intend to holiday with no mobile phone signal.
So, what about you? Have you found strategies that work well for you and if you’ve tried switching ‘everything off’, how did you find it?
Mark Pugh is Lead Pastor at rediscoverchurch.com
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