Everyone Needs to Unplug Every Now and Then

Wayne Stocks —  August 10, 2010

image As I write this, I am less than 100 hours from an event that has quickly become a summer tradition in my life.  I call it “Go Dark Week.” It is a week where I unplug from all the technology that pervades our daily lives.  From 12:00 AM August 14th until 12:00 AM August 21st, I will:

  • Turn off the TV
  • Shut down the computer
  • Put away the cell phone
  • Turn down the music
  • Put away electronic games

I have set out very specific instructions for myself to help assist me in reaching this goal.  So, why did I ever start Go Dark week in the first place?  It is actually something I considered a number of times before I, quite literally, pulled the plug and went ahead and planned it.  I hatched the idea for the Go Dark challenge last year on a drive home from dropping my son off at horse camp.  One of my favorite songs came on the radio – Stop the World by Matthew West:

A portion of the lyrics read:

Stop the world I wanna get out
I need an escape away from this crowd
Just to hear You speak to me

I need to be still before I make a move
I need to be humble with nothing to prove
I need Your Word to show me the truth
And I need time, precious time

In the world that we live in, we are absolutely saturated with electronics.  It seems like everywhere you turn there is something.  Between my job, blogging, social networks and everything else, I spend countless hours on the computer each week.  I have a phone that lives attached to my belt, and not only does it allow me to call people but to check my e-mail, play on twitter and search the internet as well.  I don’t leave home without my Ipod, and TV has become tantamount to white noise in our house.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not planning a move to a shack anywhere in Montana, and I haven’t written a manifesto, I am quite fond of electronics, and I think they offer a world of wonderful possibilities.  I am a huge proponent of using technology to reach people for the cause of Christ, and I think kids are so used to technology that to not use it in our children’s ministries would be a mistake.  All that to say that I am not against technology.  However, like other good things, it is possible to let technology become an idol.  One way to prevent that is to live without it, and that is why I chose to let it go – to give it up for a week to focus on other things.  To eliminate some of the noise that comes with electronics so that I can “be still.”

Every year, I invite other people to join me for Go Dark week, and each year I get a small number of takers.  I am please to say that fellow Kidmin1124 contributor, Jared Massey, has decided to jump on board this year and give it a shot.

What do I plan to do during this week?  Well, last year I learned quite a bit from the experience, and I hope for the same this year.  I am certain that I will spend more time with my family.  I already have some books lined up to read, and I hope to have some new ideas for articles by the time it is all over.  Most of all though, I just want to slow down a little bit and make time and space for God to speak into my life.  I don’t really want to stop the world, I just want to slow it down enough to let those things that are most important in my life assume their rightful place.

S0, what does that mean for this website?  I serve as editor of this site and am responsible for scheduling the articles that you read here each day.  To the extent that there are enough articles in the queue on Friday afternoon, I will schedule them for the following week before I turn things off.  If not, there may be some days next week were there is no new content.  I am quite certain that the world will not stop turning if that is the case, and I promise that I will schedule all the articles written during my Go Dark week to be published starting the following week.  The principal difference you may notice is that if you leave a comment on an article, and you haven’t had a comment approved prior on this site, I won’t be moderating comments until Saturday August 21st.  Feel free to leave them, they just won’t show up for a while.

Wayne Stocks

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Wayne is married to a wonderful woman and has four kids whom God uses to teach him on an almost daily basis. He is blessed to volunteer in a wonderful children's ministry at New Life Church Gahanna. He established Kidmin1124 for those who give their time to kids and feel passionately about children's ministry. When he isn't working on Kidmin1124, he maintains another blog at WayneStocks.com and contributes articles on a regular basis to Ministry-to-Children.com.

2 responses to Everyone Needs to Unplug Every Now and Then

  1. I think this is a great idea! I love my “connections” but agree that it’s all to easy to become caught up in it all. I will take your offer to Go Dark for a week, but I will just need to schedule mine later in the fall. Just getting back from a summer of complete craziness, I need all the tech help I can get to get everything back in order and on track!

    Enjoy your time and your family! I’ll be praying that it’s a great week for you!

  2. I’ll admit that this is something I have tried before. Yes, I said tried. I was unsuccessful. You’ve inspired me to try again. I think it’s critical that we as FAMILIES have time where everyone is “unplugged”. Our children are practically born knowing how to plug in electronics these days- it’s nice to show them there are other ways to enjoy life and connect with each other that don’t involve texting or the computer.

    Have a great week Wayne!