I was on vacation the week of July 7th. In a recent post I described some goals for the month of July. Lori and I had a GREAT time going to Chicago and taking in the beauty of the city as well as catching two (yes, two) wonderful baseball games at Wrigley Field. Lori enjoys baseball almost as much as I do so it was a blast for us to experience such a historic ballpark. Since arriving back I have been deep in planning, working out the sermon and church calendar for the next 12 months.
I have to admit that disconnecting has been an extremely difficult thing for me over the years. Although I knew better intellectually and theologically, when I began this journey I felt like any absence brought a risk of failure. I was overwhelmed by the questions of who would do ‘this’ or who would take care of ‘that.’ That underlying mentality eventually brought me to a pretty bad place. I’ll spare you the details of that but God led me to rethink everything.
There have been two separate growth points for me in this area. The first one that God brought me through was that of trust. It went something like this: God planted Crossings Community Church and He will sustain it. God called me and gifted me and He will use His gifts and calling through my faithful obedience. Therefore, as I am faithfully and intensely pursuing the callings He has given me (as husband, father, and pastor), He will have me where He wants me. Also, His planting of CCC was not dependent upon me but rather a blessing for me to be used in that way. He will do with His church as He pleases. Therefore, I am to be faithful and obedient to His calling and trust completely His sovereign hand around me.
None of the above ideas were new to me but they had not journeyed to the place of belief which truly brings peace in my life. I finally came to that place of peace and trust and it was very freeing in many ways. The second growth point has been more recent in my journey. This one is the practical acts of truly learning how to disconnect.
Due to the way God wired me, everything is 120% or zero for me. I am very driven and, typically, I can figure out a way to overcome any obstacle that might arise on my path. This is a strength in many areas of my life. However, it is not a characteristic that is very conducive to balance.
Learning how to disconnect has been and still is a very steep learning curve for me. We are so deeply connected to everything today. It is our phones which not only bring calls and text messages but our email too. It is all the social media outlets which grab at our attention constantly. We are intoxicated by our connectivity.
I’ve learned that I can be ‘away’ from work on ‘vacation’ and yet be every bit as mentally present at work as I would be any other day of the year. Not only applied during a time of vacation, these same truths can become evident each evening when I have some small window of time to be with my family. Although I may be physically present with them, am I truly connected to them or am I lost in the circumstances of my day or distracted by the flood of messages on my phone?
Yes, the hours we are at the office can be a significant battle. However, we can also lie to ourselves by thinking that we have some type of balance when in reality we never truly leave the office in our minds.
To be intoxicated, most simply stated, is to be consumed and controlled by something. Are you intoxicated by connectivity? Have you persuaded yourself that you are pursuing balance and yet your time with your family is essentially worthless because your are still consumed with everything else? What if we committed ourselves to the process of learning to disconnect?
I’ll share a few of the things I am learning next week….
Matt Powell serves as teaching pastor at Crossings Community Church, a body of believers whose mission is to engage, equip, and empower homes for gospel transformation in Katy, TX.