Did you hear Pastor Jon’s first sermon in the Rockin’ Relationships series, “Putting Priorities First”? If not, you can listen to it here. At the end, he challenged us to unplug with him for 30 days. It’s all about priorities, hence the title. What are we filling our time with first? It’s a great sermon with a challenge that we should probably all do at one time or another. I sort of did this a few months ago and I want to tell you how it has changed my life!
I did not have any spiritual or holy reasons for removing myself from Facebook three months ago. It was done in frustration. And I’m a bit of a rebel, so I stuck to my guns. I did create a “fake” profile on Facebook just for connecting with the Vineyard women and for the buy/sell groups (although I would be lying if I said I didn’t browse around sometimes). Once I did this, I still found myself instinctively picking up my phone to “do” something. So I tried to put the phone down and read a book or the Bible instead. It wasn’t easy for me, but the more I did resist the temptation to pick up my phone, the more I connected with God in a way that I haven’t for a long time.
Removing myself from the sometimes good, sometimes negative thoughts and opinions of my Facebook feed and replacing it with books full of Godly wisdom, the Bible, and prayer has been eye opening and life changing. I have sooo much work to do, so much dying to self, and so much letting God do His work, but I am for once in a long time giving God the place in my life to do that. My priorities now versus four months ago are worlds apart. And it has not been forced. God has given me the grace and desire for it, and I believe it is because 1) I was willing to sacrifice something and resist temptation, and 2) God in His grace has opened my eyes to see what is good and right and holy. This second reason is something I’m so thankful for. Sometimes we have to persevere and wait patiently and expectantly for God to do that.
In these months, I have rediscovered my love for God’s Word. It is so, so good! It calms my thoughts and redirects me to His truth and grace. Psalm 19 sums it up so perfectly. My Bible app is set to the International Children’s Bible version because, well, I have a few kids. The simplicity of this version can make God’s Word so clear to me.
“The Lord’s teachings are perfect.
They give new strength.
The Lord’s rules can be trusted.
They make plain people wise.
The Lord’s orders are right.
They make people happy.
The Lord’s commands are pure.
They light up the way.
It is good to respect the Lord.
That respect will last forever.
The Lord’s judgements are true.
They are completely right.
They are worth more than gold,
Even the purest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
Even the finest honey.
They tell your servant what to do.
Keeping them brings great reward.”
– Psalm 19:7-11, ICB
Did you catch all that?? God’s Word gives strength, wisdom, happiness, direction, truth, and blessings! I think sometimes we forget that. We get consumed with our own thoughts and feelings and fail to look to the one place that can speak to our life the most. His Word is sweeter than honey! I used to eat sugar under the kitchen table as a kid…and get in trouble for it. But I have never liked honey…it’s too sweet! God’s Word is sweeter than the sweetest honey! Don’t take my word for it, take His word for it and open your Bible and see for yourself.
I say all this to say, as I unplugged, God plugged me in to Him! And it’s beautiful and amazing and challenging, and I’m so, so very grateful for His grace to meet me where I am and lovingly draw me to Him. I encourage you to unplug something in your life and plug in to the Word. It might not be something electronic that you need to unplug from. Maybe it’s busyness or excessive time spent on hobbies, activities, or even sleep. Ask God to show you if it’s not clear to you what is keeping you from connecting with Him, if anything at all.
If you are like me and need to rediscover the sweetness of God’s Word, I suggest you start in the gospels or Psalms. I started with the book of John when our church did the 40-day All In series and it was a great book for rediscovering the goodness of His Word!
Also, if you need help unplugging from your phone, like I did, this article, “Distracted in 2016? Reboot Your Phone with Mindfulness,” helped me set up my iPhone apps and notifications to be less of a problem in my life. It has really helped! Check it out if you feel like you are attached to your phone too much! (Although I’m not sure this will help if you don’t have an iPhone.) We don’t realize how much our devices beckon our attention!
I’ll leave you with this prayer that I have been praying before I read my Bible. I pray the same for you. I love you all!
“Open my eyes to see the wonderful things in your teachings.” – Psalm 119:18, ICB
About the Author:
Emerson Marino is a part-time editor, full-time mom to five kids, and wife to Kevin. She’s passionate about faith and family and loves a good conversation as much as she loves some quality alone time. She and her family have been attending the Vineyard since 2013.