Coffee Chat 11 – A tech sabbath

coffee chat

Read previous coffee chats under the “discussion” category or click here.

students & selfies

I’ve seen various discussions about technology taking over our lives. I saw a hilarious (and disturbing video) of around 8 girls sitting in the stands of a sporting event taking selfies and remaining absorbed in their phone. The sports commentators were getting a good laugh out of it… I’ll admit that I did too, but not because they were girls. I would have laughed if it had been anybody. Time to disconnect!!!

While I’m not in the habit of taking “selfies,” I’ll admit that I look at my phone a little too much. I’ve actually started leaving it in a different room while I’m home so that I can have an intentional break from technology.

Numerous studies have been conducted that demonstrate the deleterious effects cell phones have on our sleep (not to mention other things like our brains…). There is an article discussing this at WebMD (click here) and another at Chris Kesser’s blog (click here). I personally use my phone as an alarm clock, but now I’m thinking about buying a real clock…

The fact of the matter is, we may be getting too much of a good thing. Like so many things in life, it may be unwittingly overused.

One theme that is present throughout the bible is the need to rest or cease from certain activities for a time. God rested on the 7th day from His work (Genesis 2.2). The sabbath was instituted so the people would rest (Exodus 20.8-11). The land was supposed to enjoy a sabbath once every seven years (Leviticus 25.1-7). I’ve even read that it is currently a good farming practice to let the soil rest every few years. Rest is important. A break from worldly activities is important. We probably wouldn’t want to be at the office 24/7 or driving 24/7. We like to get a break, right? It’s ingrained in us to change activities or take a break.

We don’t really know how to “rest” in our society. Vacations are usually filled with an itinerary of activities; Sundays are often used to squeeze in whatever we didn’t finish on our Saturdays, evenings are used to wash dishes, do homework, watch TV conduct some sort of business… we have very little quiet time. And now, with technology providing us constant access to the latest news, entertainment and games, we don’t even have the opportunity to get bored while sitting at the doctor’s office.

We need rest. God designed us to sleep once a day for a reason. Our brains need a chance to process information. We need a break from the constant inundation…

What do you suggest as a way to let your mind have a break? What do you think about some sort of “tech sabbath?”

Do you think that it would be wise to have a day of rest from all information technology (i.e. TV, phones, tablets, computers, etcetera)? I tried turning my phone off one Sunday and just ignoring it from the time I woke up until that evening. It was a bit challenging at first, but it was an excellent break for my mind. I chose Sunday I already ignore my phone for at least 4 hours on Sunday while getting ready for worship, traveling to worship or sitting in worship. It was the perfect day to disconnect. Each person has to take into account their own situation of course; you may be waiting for an important call (or on-call for work). You still might consider turning up the ringer and putting the phone in another location within earshot in case it does ring, but allow yourself a break from picking it up and checking it.

What do you think?

Do you think we should try taking a “sabbath” (rest) from technology? How would you implement it?

Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts!

26 thoughts on “Coffee Chat 11 – A tech sabbath

  1. Man, I am about to show my age and generation here, I think. (Though I’m 33, so I consider myself an Older Person…)

    I think the idea of keeping the Sabbath in general is excellent. And I also think that what intrudes on people’s lives to prevent them from “rest” probably varies according to the person. For some people (yourself!) technology might be that intrusive thing. For others (my husband and I) it’s the temptation to work non-stop – we try on weekends to “leave the office at the office.”

    For me, though, a sabbath from technology in particular would be counter-productive. I use technology as a HUGE part of my relationship with God. My Bible studies, my prayer journal, my study reminders…all of it is technology-related. Those are things that feed me spiritually and help me “rest,” so I would feel strange abandoning them. In addition, my husband and I are pretty avid gamers – it’s something we do to “relax” so we don’t perceive it as getting in the way of rest. In fact, we “save” gaming to do on the weekend and it brings us closer together!

    I say this all with the caveat that my husband and I balance technology in our lives as a general rule. Neither of us have Facebook; we’re not glued to our phones 24-7; and we take off time from work-related technology on the weekends.

    I picked up on something you said in your post – that taking a rest from “worldly” activities is important. And I think that’s dead-on. Inasmuch as technology can be a “worldly” thing that removes you from God or prevents you from rest or family time, it’s important to take whatever steps are necessary to have a Sabbath from it – even little ones. (And actually I think that’d be a good way to implement a technology sabbath: just cut out whatever isn’t God-related or family-blessing, and go from there.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent thoughts, as always! I love hearing from you.

      Technology helps me tremendously in my bible study as well. I actually listen to the Bible on my iPad or iPhone nearly every morning. The trouble I run into every once in awhile is that I can get easily distracted with push notifications etcetera. I also listen to audiobooks… If I didn’t, I would hardly ever make it through my reading stack. I absolutely love to read, but I tend to get so wrapped up in reading that I will literally tune out the world and put off important things… I don’t have that luxury at this point in life. 🙂

      I really do love technology, I just want to approach it like everything—with balance and in a way that honors the Lord.

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!

      God be with you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. I skip checking email every other day or so because it leads to FB, then my blog, then reading other blogs after which 2 hours have disappeared. So I skip my PC altogether in order to get things done. I need tech breaks bec I am an addict. Ask my husband LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for your candor. I’m amazed that you can have such great restraint. I have a hard time not checking daily because I’m worried that I’ll have 100+ emails to sift through the next day.

        Great job!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. totally agree. Did anyone catch the Cubs -Pirates game last night? Guy sitting right behind home plate missed the entire first inning looking down and texting/emailing on his phone. The only time he looked up was when the bat hit the ball. Put the phone away, enjoy the game. Put the phone away. Live a life with the people right beside you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. I missed that.

      I agree. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and tune in to the souls around you that have needs. Needs include companionship, conversation, and concern.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think rest is very important, so this month I am disconnecting. I stopped posting on my blog, deactivated my Facebook, but forgot Twitter because I do not normally use it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you made a wise choice, Edmond.

      While I will miss your posts, your choice will surely help and heal you. Enjoy the break and the rejuvenation of spirit!

      May the Lord be with you and bless you both in seasons of activity and seasons of rest.


  4. Elihu–I like what you have written.
    All things created by God are good and yet can be used wrongly. Fire has many benefits, but can hurt and destroy. Water is necessary but can drown. Your idea of a Sabbath from technology is a good idea. God has given us the intelligence to create and use technology, but harm can come from misuse or overuse of that gift as well.
    Where I am going with this, though, is that God gave us the Sabbath so we could rest and draw closer to him. That is good. He created the Sabbath even before evil entered creation through sin, so the Sabbath rest is good. Yet Jesus saw the Pharisees taking the day of rest and changing it into a burden. More than once he challenged them on this point. I will gladly take a Sabbath rest from technology when and how I please, but let no one else tell me when and how I shall rest. J.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s right! We have to self-regulate that sort of rest. I just know that—for myself—I feel like I also have to be doing something. It’s ok to take a break. 🙂 thank you for your excellent comment. God be with you.


  5. “we don’t even have the opportunity to get bored while sitting at the doctor’s office.”

    Hilarious! I love the idea and have thought of it often. It’s definitely doable. I have to confess that I do take solace the occasional times my phone battery dies or my data plan expires, and then I’m liberated from checking it round the clock. There’s a strange silence. It’s refreshing…


    1. Those moments of silence are wonderful. 😊 I’ve noticed that in many things—not just tech—it’s healthy to take a break.

      Thanks for your liking the post & commenting! I’m very thankful. God be with you!


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