“And don’t forget to bring a powerstrip!”
That excellent advice from my father-in-law, Lee, rung through my head the night before Steph and I went on our first cruise last week. Sure enough, as we checked out our room, there was only one power outlet. One!
Being happily prepared, I pulled out the powerstrip that we had packed and plugged it in. Now we could charge everything we needed! But there’s only one problem. On a cruise, there’s no cell service — and the rates for internet access are crazy. It was an obtuse feeling to see my phone turn from an everything-device to an overpriced paperweight simply due to its lack of internet connection.
Lacking internet, my first confused instinct was to google what to do without internet. Oh, that’s right. No internet. Staring at the wall was a great alternative. As I studied the room, I began to realize something about the powerstrip.
Wall outlets are designed to have something plugged into them. Without plugging various things into the powerstrip, I felt as if I wasn’t maximizing its potential or something.
It annoyed me to see an empty outlet.
I brushed off this weird thought line and went to the top deck of the boat with Steph to go get sunburned. I never thought much more of it until today.
Here Comes the Cool Analogy
We’re like a wall outlet. You know, the ones with two sets of three-pronged holes. Electricity is dancing just on the other side of the wall (well, if the electric bill is paid) waiting to have its purpose fulfilled.
It’s designed to be used — it’s designed to be filled.
So we do just that. We maximize our abilities beyond what was intended. We add powerstrips and the like so that more can be attached. We think we are plugging into more things, and by extension (no pun intended), we are more useful and we are more fulfilled. The more we do this, the higher chance there is of us being overwhelmed and having an explosive burnout.
By having so many things plugged in, whenever (or even if) we decide to plug Jesus in, He becomes just another plug. The massive current of the other things, which may even be inherently good (like ministry), draws our attention and energy away.
Are You Capturing or Enjoying Life?
When my family and I went to Disney World yesterday, I realized something that really made me wonder how I think of experiences.
As the ecstatic parade circled us next to Cinderella’s castle, I took out my phone to send snaps and take pictures. It’s the thing to do, right? How else would I be able to remember the moment if not through taking a picture?
As I was furiously recording everything around me, I noticed something. All of the adults had their phones out and were staring at tiny screens rather than enjoying what was literally right in front of them.
Contrastively, the children were running around giggling with their eyes full of joy as they pranced around their favorite Disney characters. They were unplugged and truly enjoying the moment! It was beautiful. Their eyes were full of wonder, and mine were full of Instagram. Rather than enjoying the moment, I was enjoying the idea of other people seeing my enjoyment of the moment.
What does that even mean?
What use is remembering something if you didn’t really experience it in the first place?
I do this all the time. Honestly, it’s quite stressful.
But why? Do you struggle with this too?
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that we should go into complete isolation against social media, games, Netflix, or whatever it is that you find your time constantly sinking into. These things aren’t bad in themselves.
What makes them have a detrimental effect on you is when you plug as many of them as possible into the powerstrip of your life in an attempt to maximize your output. There’s this necessity to constantly be doing, doing doing. With this mindset, I find it so difficult to unplug everything, or even anything for that matter.
This is where the outlet analogy breaks down. We are a wall outlet, but when we plug in Jesus (and keep Him plugged in!), He does the opposite of what we’d expect. He does the opposite of what we think we need. He doesn’t take our energy, He provides it.
Because after all, even wall outlets need power from somewhere.
I challenge you today. Yes, today — not someday soon! Take 10 minutes, just 10 minutes of your day and unplug everything except our Creator-Friend. And I don’t mean leave Him hanging way far out on some extension cord — give Him the best spot. The one plug that’s closest to your bed, you know, the one that your phone charger always takes.
Create the habit, and you will be rewarded! Trust me. Being charged up by the Maker of all things is much more important than charging your iPhone.
Original article written by Jonny Wilczynski here.
Jonny has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2009. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.