Why Unplugging Is Essential For Healthy Ministry

God designed us with the need to regularly unplug, disconnect, and lay low. Rest is not a bug, it's a feature.

When something goes wrong with an electronic device, what is the first thing an I.T. expert will suggest? Unplug it, then plug it back in again.

It’s not that way with non-computerized electrical items like a lamp, toaster, or fan, so why does it work that way with “smart” devices?

It’s one of the great ideas from the early days of computer design. They were programmed so that when you power up a device, the first thing it does is run a thorough diagnosis of all its essential functions, then it fixes itself.

Yes, it fixes itself!

So do we.

God designed us to do the same thing, long before computer programmers came along. We regularly need to unplug, disconnect, and lay low. Then, when we re-enter the world of work, we have a greater ability to fix ourselves.

Resting Is Not A Weakness

In the lingo of the computer programmer, rest is not a bug, it’s a feature. Too many of us treat recovery time like it’s a flaw to overcome, a weakness to defeat, or a sin to avoid.

It’s none of those.

God rested. And he commanded that we follow his example.

Most of us are exhausted from constant thought and activity, sleeping less than we should, praying less than we’d like, and living inside a digital space for more hours than is healthy. This makes us incapable of the honest self-evaluation required to assess our needs, let alone be a blessing to others.

As Anne Lamott said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

So, I’m taking Anne’s advice. And my own. And, mostly, God’s. I’m unplugging for a while.

While I’m Gone…

I’m taking the next 50 days off for a short sabbatical. You’ll still see some articles, podcasts, newsletters, and social media posts during that time, because they’ve been scheduled in advance. But I won’t be creating anything new, answering emails, or engaging online until the end of August, 2023.

The last time I took this many days away was about 15 years ago. That was because of burnout. This time, I’m getting ahead of the burnout to keep myself healthy. This is about maintenance, not repair.

I also recorded a podcast episode about my sabbatical with a lot more information, details, and some important content about the value of sabbaticals. Check it at How To Plan A Sabbatical, coming soon.

I’ll be journaling daily, so after it’s over I’ll be back with another article and a new podcast about how it went, lessons learned, advice for your sabbatical, and whatever else comes up during these 50 days.

If you must reach out to me, you can use the Contact Me page, which will be monitored by my daughter Veronica, who will only pass it along if it’s an absolute emergency. Otherwise, she’ll respond on my behalf.

In the meantime, be well. I’m gonna take a nap now.

(Photo by trenttsd | Flickr)


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