In a world completely consumed with technology, it can be hard to separate ourselves from its ever-increasing grip. From in-car navigation to submitting assignments through an online learning platform, to ordering takeout - where some stores ONLY facilitate your order via a touch screen ordering system, or a trip to the local supermarket means you have to self-checkout.
It is hard to distance ourselves from using technology in the day-to-day activities of our life! But in the home, well, that may be a space in which we can turn off the switch a little. Perhaps in the home we can take a tech break.
Reflect upon the Psalm 46 (NIV):
"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress."
It is in God that we can find calm in the midst of the storm, peace amongst the frenetic pace of life. What a change in mindset to turn our attention towards God and focus on the wonder of His majesty instead of the glow of a screen. Take time to engage with the wonder of God, to see the beauty of His majesty, to converse with Him allowing His spirit to minister to ours. Take a tech break and see with eyes fixed on the creator, instead of what the created has made.
And within society there are subtle shifts to take a tech break. UK supermarket chain, Booths, have recently made a shift to remove most of their self-checkouts and revert back to checkouts staffed with people, recognising that interaction with a person can be far more beneficial than a machine.
So how do we take a tech break? It can feel odd to pause the tech and be still. When the noise is quiet and the flicker of a screen is dulled, it may make us feel unease. It might take some getting used to, the art of being still. But being still does not mean that we can not be stimulated.
Max Lucado, in his book ‘Anxious for Nothing’, says,
‘Isolation creates a downward cycle of fret. Choose instead to be the person who clutches the presence of God with both hands.’
Our world feels far from ‘still’.
The Psalm mentioned earlier is a fascinating passage, in that it almost works better to look at it in reverse! There is the encouragement to ‘Be still and know that I am God’; what does that even mean?
First of all, who here is good at being still? Did you ever play the game 'statues' as a child, or have you watched your kids try to freeze on the spot? Being still does not just have to do with remaining physically still, but also about stilling the business of what’s going on inside; the busy thoughts, the anxious heart, the worries and concerns, the excitement or challenge. I like to call those things distractions.
Now sometimes it can be really hard to be still, to keep the volume down, to have quiet hands and listening ears; especially when we are excited or with friends and having fun. But sometimes it can be even harder if, on the inside we are full of distractions; you know, you lie in bed unable to sleep because your mind is anxious or consumed with tomorrow's schedule, or your heart is full of concern for self or others.
Yet we are encouraged to ‘be still’ before God.
We can only do this:
How do we put this into practice?
Find a space in which you can do this. In front of the TV might not be that best place. Maybe it is as you go to sleep, or out in the garden, or sitting on your favourite chair inside sipping a cup of tea; warm and content.
Well, here’s my three. Read. Pray. Trust.
Wash, rinse, and repeat this process:
Read: continue to read the scriptures. The more that you get these passages and verses from the Bible into your Spirit the more they will be in your thoughts, in your heart.
Pray: ask God for the strength to do this. Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed or if you feel that you can’t do it. He will give you strength.
Trust: believe that God will be there for you. Believe that it is possible to still yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually before Him. And that as you do so, you will experience His peace, comfort and joy.
Director of Faith Formation & Wellbeing
Take a Tech Break. Give it a go.
 Max Lucado, ‘Anxious for Nothing – Finding Calm in a Chaotic World’, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2017), p71