The constant ping from my laptop, the little buzz on my smartwatch, all the red notification circles on my cell phone—the constant connectivity of my life sometimes makes everything feel chaotic and out of balance. As we move toward the holiday season, I find myself longing for more “silent nights.”
Perhaps you’re like me in feeling tied to technology because it is a way of life. (I mean social media is my job after all.) It can be easy to think that remaining online, always available, and constantly connected is just a part of life these days. I’ve found my reliance on technology is exacerbating the lack of calm in my life.
We live in a world where so many things feel instant and important; however, there is so much calm that can be found by unplugging and tuning in to the people around you. I think we could all benefit from a “silent night.”
When was the last time you powered down your laptop, turned off your tablet, put your phone on airplane mode, and spent time 100% present with your loved ones? The way we use technology around our loved ones will affect our relationships. Being constantly connected with the world but disconnected from those in the room will decrease the quality of interaction and your connection.
Technology has not only distracted me from the people in the room but also from my relationship with Christ. I’m often consumed by the Instagram comments and latest emails rather than consumed by growing in my understanding of Scripture and living out God’s calling for my life.
I’ve often been convicted by my constant phone usage and mindless scrolling. Perhaps you are like me and you’ve found yourself desiring the things of the world over the things of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to “lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us.” We are called to keep our eyes on JESUS (v. 2). I want to “delight in the LORD” (Ps. 37:4), and I want my relationships with others to glorify Him.
But how do we unplug? With the chaos and stress of life, is it possible to disconnect from technology and reconnect with people face to face? I invite you to join me in a “silent night,” or perhaps an entire weekend, away from our devices. Unplugging, even for a few hours or days, can have a big impact on your relationships and the time you spend sitting in the Lord’s presence.
Here are my tips for unplugging and reconnecting:
- Unplug after work. Once work is done for the day, power off your laptop and turn off your notifications. Avoid making yourself constantly available. Be sure to communicate your plans to your boss and coworkers and perhaps encourage them to set technology boundaries as well.
- Create no-phone zones. Set up a location to drop devices so you’re not tempted to check in so frequently. Enforce this rule with family members and house guests as well, explaining that you want to be mentally and physically present with everyone in your home.
- Keep the phone out of the bedroom. This will improve your sleep, and you won’t begin your day with a social media morning scroll. Get an alarm clock and put your Bible on your nightstand instead.
- Take time to unwind. Remember the hobbies you had before scrolling through the internet took over your time? Pick up that paintbrush, dive into a new book, go for a hike, take a prayer walk through your neighborhood, or spend time in worship (whatever makes you feel recharged and refreshed).
- Go old school. Rather than sitting around on the couch watching TV and scrolling through social media, turn to new traditions like baking together, hosting game nights, or giving gifts like books, board games, art supplies, and musical instruments. Consider going on a date with your spouse or friends and leaving the phones at home. (It’s a simple idea, but if you’re a millennial like me, it feels very retro.)
- Be fully engaged in the moment. It’s easy to miss things when you’re looking at your phone or texting people who aren’t with you.
- Pick up your Bible instead of your phone. This one seems almost obvious to say but difficult to apply. I found this became a lot easier when I started leaving my phone in the kitchen at night and putting my Bible on my nightstand instead.
Don’t miss out on what’s happening in front of you. Be present this holiday season and invite your loved ones to do the same.
Juliana Wilson is the social media and influencer marketing specialist for Lifeway Women; she’s planning to unplug for a few days this Christmas. She is passionate about encouraging women and girls to dig into God’s Word and pursue an active relationship with Christ every day. Juliana loves Instagram-worthy ice cream, coffee dates, and traveling with her husband, Ben. Look for them on the 2021 season of NBC’s show, American Ninja Warrior! You can follow their journey on Instagram with #WhereInTheWorldAreTheWilsons