A close friend of mine, and fellow youth leader, spoke tonight at youth group. His talk was about unplugging from the world in order to hear God. He did a fantastic job, and it’s been rolling around in my head so I thought I would write a few quick thoughts.
It’s perfect timing. We are leaving for our annual youth camp trip on Sunday. We will be up in the mountains of Tennessee for a whole week. About 30-45 minutes before we get there we lose cell service. That’s also about the time we start collecting all the electronics from the kids. And, that’s when I will be shutting my phone off for a week.
I love camp for a lot of reasons. I could write a few blog posts just on summer camp, maybe even a book, but one of the things that I love about camp is the concept of unplugging.
Even when I was a kid and we didn’t have social networks and cell phones; when the internet wasn’t much more than BBS boards, and Prodigy and AOL were just on the horizon, it was nice to get away from what we had. No phones ringing, no TV…that’s about it really. We did take our music with us to camp, but that’s it. For 8 weeks we left the world and were part of our own little ecosystem. One camp day equalled roughly 3 real world weeks. By the time we left, we had made and lost best friends. We had made and lost girlfriends. We had learned more about life than we ever imagined. Driving home was always a mystery. We never knew what new shopping centers, and stores had been opened since we left. It took a few days to reacclimate to the real world, and even longer to get the dirt from camp off our feet.
Next week is just a week. The difference is, this week is a week with God. I had never done camp with God as a kid. Now, I can’t see doing it any other way. We get to go up in the mountains, leave all the technology behind; no cell phones, no computers, no internet, no TV, no work, no beeping flashing lights indicating we just missed something. It’s just us, each other, and the Lord. It’s a time to get away. It’s a time to reflect. It’s a time to listen. It’s a time to draw a line in the sand and start fresh. It’s a time to reboot (coincidentally that is the theme for our camp this year).
My friend challenged the kids tonight to take 10 minutes a day to unplug; to get away from all the distractions in their lives and just be still. I think this is a challenge we should all accept. Our God is a patient God. If we don’t want to listen to him, then he isn’t going to try to talk over our lives. But if we can be still, and focus for a moment, then we can hear him, and we can know how much he loves us. We can feel how much he wants to be a part of our lives. We can hear his voice saying, “I love you. You don’t have to run from me. I forgive you.”
Have you unplugged lately?