Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SkyMom Holly Shiver's experiences "Unplugged" while at Sky Ranch Family Camp in Ute Trail, Colorado!


I just returned with my family from a week long vacation trip to Colorado(Of course, you call it a “trip” when the munchkins are with you!) We spent the week at a Christian family camp there and had such an amazing experience. While the scenery was breathtaking, weather absolutely perfect, activities so fun and adventurous, and the people very delightful, those were not the things that had such an impact on us as a family.  Rather, it was what we like to call, “unplugging.” It is as if someone reached down, picked up our family and transported us to some far away land where there is no such thing as email, cell phones, TV, itouches, video games…you get the picture. It was just us. Just us. Certainly, every family in ministry rarely finds the time or opportunity to truly disconnect from everyone and everything in order to focus on family and feel spiritually refreshed. What if we were more deliberate in making that happen?

As we began our drive back to Texas and got closer and closer to an actual town, we began our re-entry into the all too familiar world of technology. In those moments, I felt a sadness come over me. That strong, powerful force that is too much to resist was headed right toward us, and ready to steal away what we had come to know so intimately throughout the week – really being together.  

Now, I am not saying that I think “Talking Tom” is the anti-Christ, or that there is not a time and place for being “plugged in” to technology in this day and age. But I can say, however, that you leave a lot more room for the Holy Spirit to move and speak when you are less distracted by it all. Not to mention the irrefutable rewards of undivided attention on your kids and spouse.

As a child, I remember my Dad preaching a sermon entitled “Being comes before doing.” This is the familiar idea that we need to focus on being who God wants us to be, before we turn all of our efforts toward doing the things that we think make us look good.  In the same way, I believe there are times when a family just needs to be. And it’s very hard to be when you are reading emails, returning texts, playing Angry Birds or tuned into your favorite show.  My struggle is often doing all of the things that need to get done as a wife and mom, but neglecting to take the time to just be with my family.  {Confession coming…} I often hear myself repeating phrases like “In a minute” or “Not right now” when asked to play a game, go outside, or read a book. This past week reminded me of the need to take more opportunities to be, and cease, for awhile anyway, to do. 

The question becomes, will your children look back one day and remember all the clean clothes they had, how the house was in order, all the dishes you washed and how good you were at staying on top of those emails…or will they remember you looking into their eyes, playing on the floor with them and just being together?  

So, you ask, “How?” How, in today’s society, do I say “No” to all of these things that pull me away from true quality time with my family? Especially when so much of it is necessary? And even more so, how do I encourage my kids to do the same? I for one like small goals. One way my husband and I have decided to implement this idea is from now on, when we enter a restaurant as a family, we do not even allow ourselves to take our phones inside. This is an easy way to have an automatic built in time of unplugging. Maybe you choose one hour every day when as a family, you unplug. I have a friend who has made a commitment to only check her email two times every day. This was challenging at first, but guess what? It turned out that the world did not stop spinning when she did not send immediate responses to her emails! Who knew?!

In what ways do you unplug in order to focus on what’s in front of you? Leave us a comment and let us know…then take some time to just “be” today.

~Holly Shivers

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