UNPLUGGED | March 23-28
As we acclimate to our new normal, we wanted to challenge and empower you with some spiritual practices. We might think of these as prayer, reading the bible, devotions...but it's SO MUCH MORE than that (as you'll soon find out)!
We also may think that these things are things that God tells us to do because He needs us to do them. After all, He's God! But He didn't tell us do these things as behaviors for us to keep. Rather, He actually gave us these practices as a gift to keep us. Keep us what? ...Keep us healthy, keep us well, keep us content, keep us connected, keep us at peace... Kind of sounds nice, huh?
So, how is "Unplugged" a spiritual practice that's suppose to "keep us"? Honestly, going "unplugged" sounds like it could keep us bored if anything...
Unplugged | Unplugging calls us to leave the virtual world in order to become present with God and the people in our real world.
So, the question is, what could be waiting for us on the other side of deciding to unplug, focus and be present with God and the people we're with?
DAY 1: Let's Start With You
The following questions are NOT test questions. They really aren't for anyone but you! So, today, start by taking some time to either write down, draw, or think through the following questions.
- How do you think tech influences your relationships (family, friends)? Do friends or family ever complain about the amount of time you spend in front of a screen? What do you think is their real concern? (if you don't know...ask!)
- List out some pros and cons about tech (screen-time, internet, social media, even electronics in general).
- Where and how often do you use tech to avoid face-to-face encounters or boredom?
- What excites/inspires you about this practice of unplugging? What makes you nervous?
Day 2-5: Give It A Try
Choose one of the following expressions of this practice to act on throughout the week. Do one, some, all or create your own, but give it a try and see what you learn about yourself, God or others.
- Tech Assessment: How much time do you think you spend in front of a screen each week...each day? We often think of tech as limitless…the very expression of freedom, especially when cooped up indoors during a pandemic. But spend at least 1 hour today with no tech, not even a toaster. Nothing electronic. But, are there things in life (relationships, experiences, skills, experiences) that tech is keeping you from? How will you spend this hour? What do you notice about yourself, others, and God during this time? Make a list at the end of the hour each time you do this.
- Plan a no-tech day: Let friends and family know that you will be tech-free for a day. What do you notice about your day? Where is it most frustrating? Where is it most freeing?
- Write a letter: What is it like for you to receive a handwritten letter from a friend or family member? Write a letter (like with an actual pen and paper) to a friend. What surfaces in you while you take the time to do this? What is gained and what is lost in electronic communication? What do you think of the trade-offs?
- Face-time: which relationships in your life needs some literal face time? Since we’re all about social-distancing right now, you may be confined to a limited number of faces you can spend time with. But, try and plan some non-electronic face-to-face time with at least 1 person today. Do not let this time be interrupted by anything electronic.
Day 6: Reflect
If you wrote down some thoughts or ideas on Day 1, or can recall them, how does your experience compare to some of the things you were excited or nervous about with regards to unplugging? What is one thing you feel God showed you about Himself, one thing about others, and one thing about you?
Got a story or reflection to share? Hop onto our campus-wide student ministry instagram page and post it to @wearegracestudents.
*** Some ideas of how to spend your time "unplugged"***
Practice/play an instruments, read, study/read your bible (I bet your campus Student Ministry Director or small group leader would love to help you with this), go for a walk, spend time with a sibling, help out around the house, board games, card games, craft, bake, ride your bike, go for a run, journal, write a letter, etc.