Turn It Off

Turn It Off

Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
March 16, 2021

I tried something different last weekend. My days off have traditionally been Friday and Saturday, since I work on Sundays and would like to have two days off in a row. However, I worked the previous seven weekends without a day off.

Not that my work is all that hard, but everyone needs time to unwind, decompress, or just relax and renew; Sabbath time. I find my creative spirit weakening if I don’t have some down time, and it is creative spirit that keeps me alert and clear-headed.

I have previously made it a point to never turn my phone off. I felt like I should always be accessible. That may have been a mistake. The phone was encroaching on my Sabbath time and I was beginning to sense too much stress related to instantly receiving e-mails, messages, and relentless sales calls.

I am confident my vehicle warranty is in effect, I don’t need a Medicare review, and I don’t have any student loan debt, but they keep calling. So I turned it off. The next two days proved very interesting.

I found myself feeling guilty; “What if someone needs me?”, “What if there is an emergency?”, “Will everyone stops talking to me because I didn’t answer my phone?” Those and other rampant thoughts occupied my mind for the first half of the day.

The second half of Friday was productive at home. I finished a few small projects that had been dragging-on. It felt relaxing to see these tasks completed, and I went to bed satisfied with my day, yet still suffering withdrawal from phone use. But, I did not turn it back on.

On Saturday I experienced a feeling that had become foreign to me; I was present in the moment. I realized how much of my time and attention had been devoted to this little device. It is not like this self-inflicted dependency happened all at once. It developed over several years.

The immediate availability of information is a two-edged sword. We feel the need to be instantly-informed and we develop a dependency on instant fulfilment. However, problems develop over time, such as: shortened attention span, constant preoccupation with the device, inability to think for yourself, reduced personal interaction, and many more.

Sleep-depravation is another side-effect of excessive device usage. This leads to numerous problems, including: mood swings, fits of anger and depression, phobias, and numerous health problems.

We all need time away from electronic devices. We all need a break, which by the way, is also known as Sabbath, a day of rest; perhaps even two days of rest. I have discovered one of the simplest and most accessible forms of rest and relaxation; TURN IT OFF!

“Seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything you need will be provided to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Blessings and Peace to You All,
Fr. David+


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