The sun slips from behind the trees, marking the end of another week.
Another light tries to get my attention in its place.
The blink of my laptop says, “Come here. Check that message. Post that status. Send that tweet.”
I move toward the keys, then stop. I push away my endless electronic to-do list and embrace this day instead.
I even smile.
It’s Cyber Sabbath.
I don’t even remember how I started doing this–taking a 24 hours break from all things electronic once a week, unplugging, renewing, letting go.
I’m certain it was in the middle of the frantic year when it seemed that I raced nonstop until, hanging a weary head in my hands, I begged God to help me live differently.
He made it clear part of the change needed to be on my part too. And for me, that meant unplugging once a week.
I love how God creates the world in six days and then rests. I love even more that the word “rest” in that biblical story is actually similar to celebrate.
God takes a break, declares what He’s done is good, and stops to find the JOY in it.
Bonnie Gray says JOY is actually closely related to confidence in God. It’s a bold trust.
And how will I ever really know I can put my confidence, my trust, in God if I never stop trying to do it all myself?
I confess: Cyber Sabbath scared the socks off me when I started doing it. I was sure I would miss something. I felt restless and unproductive.
I went through some electronic withdrawals. Yes, ma’am.
But as this has slowly become part of the rhythm of my life, I see how much I need it.
In this upside-down Kingdom, it turns out the best way to recharge just might be to unplug.
What about you? Do you practice a Cyber Sabbath or have another way of unplugging?
by Holley Gerth, Heart to Heart with Holley
Leave a Comment
I am a graphic designer and I spend sooooo much of my time on the PC. I recently felt the tug to turn off the computer over the weekend and spend more time in the Word. It’s such a blessing to just let go of that mouse and enjoy a rest. I notice I come back to my work so much more refreshed and with a renewed creativity which is vital for my job. Such a wonderful post Holley! Wishing you a very blessed weekend 🙂
reminds me of the Orthodox Jews here in Israel. 🙂 I don’t completely unplug from everything electronic, but I definitely observe Shabbat as well with complete rest!
Vicki Fourie says
This is a little wierd. When I woke up this morning, I felt God saying I need to take a much needed break from the Internet. But here I am, reading blogs!
Thanks for reminding me. I’m gonna plug out for the rest of the day (and hopefully, for the rest of next week…)
Lisa H says
I don’t unplug purposefully. When I need a break I like to go outside and sit with a journal and pen. I needed it bad the last few days and yesterday was the prettiest day of the year so far. I headed to the local park, sat by a waterfall and wrote to God for almost an hour. It felt so good!
“And how will I ever really know I can put my confidence, my trust, in God if I never stop trying to do it all myself?”
You’ve hit the nail right on the head….Sabbath is so much about surrendering to God and trusting him to provide joy and rest in that space….
This is a great idea. Over the past few years, God has been helping me to learn discipline in the area of electronic attachments….some days are better than others. An electronic free sabbath would be GREAT for me….and I am fairly certain the world won’t fall apart while I am away! 🙂
I started doing Internet fast Sundays over a year ago – some weeks I’m not so good at it, but I definitely notice feeling more stressed when I skip it!
Missy June says
Yes, I enjoy a “media” fast including computer and television. It helps me to have great perspective of living in my reality and in the present. I practice this weekly.
I’ve felt this ping on my heart for awhile now – to be more deliberate about turning off the clutter and distraction of the internet world, even my cell phone (which is my only phone!)…I’m seeking God about this today, Holley, and appreciate how He’s used your post to reach my heart today.
Rich blessings as you *keep on*…
Tina Thompson says
I try to stay off the computer on the weekends. Sometimes I do have to work on Saturdays, but Sundays for sure is my “cyber sabbath”. I do a lot of work on the computer so I find myself turning to it a lot during the day. My husband suggested setting adequate morning and afternoon time to complete my work…shutting it down in between. I find myself jumping on when it’s just left open throughout the day. I honestly feel that my computer has become an idol in my life, and when I label it as such…it puts a nasty taste in my mouth which is making it easier to stay off and focus on what the Lord would have me be doing. Very good post, thank you!
For several years I have kept my computer off on Sundays. Over this last year, that has not happened as consistently. Health problems have kept me from church much more than normal, so I have been turning the computer on to “attend” a webcast. And then there have been Sunday posts from a certain book club. . . 🙂
I have missed that break, though, and need to implement it again. It is restorative to have a break from answering e-mail, online reading, shopping, research, and generally being productive, and to make space for other things the weekdays crowd out.
What a wonderful and Timely post for me as well!! I can get carried away from my morning and spend it checking emails and following up and reading wonderful blogs like yours, that my morning is over. I have deactivated my Facebook account for Lent, but it seems like it would wise to implement and day of COMPLETE unplugging!! thank you for sharing this urge too!!
I’l give it a go!!
This is great! Lovin’ your cyber-Saturday… I started doing this on Sundays and few years ago.. and I love it! sometimes I fall back and sneak a peak at my email… but most Sundays I am very content to stay away from the computer and all that electronic stuff.
so.. u go girl! enjoy the break!
As usual, your note “hits a spot” today. For some time I have been feeling stressed, rushed, etc. and I have been seriously looking at my life, thinking WHAT can I do
differently to SLOW DOWN ? ? ? This might be the answer. I am going to try this
and I bet I will be feeling a LOT better. Have a GREAT week-end.
Angie W. says
i’m not sure if the cyber thing is my issue – but it is being oober responsible “doing the right thing”. I fear that if I do nothing – God will be upset with me. I do desire for this gift though – to know he loves me even if i do nothing at all…i want to be trustworthy and faithful and all that stuff – but sometimes/somehow – I allow fear to influence that – i think it would be nice to practice sabbath – without making a rule about that either…:) I went to Bible Study yesterday and we talked about how Jesus warned his Disciples to guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Our homework was to learn about that and about yeast in general (the good, bad and general)…I think learning about this might help me understand more about being his follower. I went through a time in 2008 was I got really sick and what was happening emotionally affected my body. During that time I learned that God supported me and carried me when i had no steam – i HAD to do nothing. May i trust the lesson from that time that He is capable when I’m not. Lord, help me take a break today and each week. Today’s my day off – help me with this. Thank you, in Jesus name – Amen.
Paola Troz says
We need so much to refresh our souls and rest in Jesus. I normally jog with my Ipod and sing all the christian music I have on it. That is a way in which I unplug myself from the world and connect directly with GOD. 🙂
( I am from Costa Rica , so.. sorry in case I misspelled a word ) jejeje. Blessings.
Wow, thanks Holley for delivering exactly what I needed to hear from God at this very moment. Thanks God for meeting me every time and guiding me, sometimes halting me completely before I tire of spinning my wheels again. Thanks God for reminding me that your yoke is easy and mine is not!
This is the first time I’ve commented although I’ve been receiving your blogs for some months now. You so often “hit the nail on the head!” Certainly days have passed where I haven’t had the time to even look at my emails (more and more it seems we get junk mail) but so often, when I do make it a point to read your blog, I can totally identify with it. I have forwarded a number of them on to my closest friends. It has to be difficult to try to come up with something fresh on a daily basis, but obviously the Holy Spirit loves your blog because I believe you do much more good than you realize. So many days you say just the right words!
Question: by website do you mean Facebook or twitter, etc? I once inadvertently registered for Facebook but rarely use it. I guess I’m old fashioned; I prefer emails and phone calls. Sadly, fewer and fewer people seem to do that and sometimes I feel we are keeping each other more and more at “arm’s length” when we post one or two liners about the weather, glad it’s Friday, etc. I don’t think we’re meant to communicate with each other that way.
I realize I’m totally off topic, but will write again. I hope my enjoyment of your blog will help you enjoy your well-deserved day of rest.
thanks holley…i haven’t started a regular unplugging though it keeps coming up, hmmm…i think there’s something there;) I also have sensed the Lord calling me for more discipline daily in my cyber time–only being on the computer a certain number of hours, etc.
i think i will start that now and get off!
WOW!! Holley!! What an idea! So simple … Thank you so much for all your insights. I love “Heart to Heart,” and I’m so thankful for YOUR heart and how you share it with all of us blessed to find these bits of Word and Knowledge right on our own computer. You ALWAYS bless my heart – in ALL WAYS! God keep you.
I usually stay off the internet on Sunday’s all together, but have recently slipped up a bit. I am really feeling the tug to stay off of it completely on Sunday’s, as well as my cell phone! Please pray for me, as I am a texting maniac and my cell is my personal form of communication. Thanks for the inspiration and reminder : )
When I have had the ‘unintentional’ chances to have a cyber shut off it was so nice. Definitely something that I need to start doing on a regular, intentional basis! Thank you Holley!
~Grace & Peace says
Aaack! Convicted. My husband jokes (at least I think he’s joking) that I am always tethered to my phone. But there’s a good reason. Really. Our older son is in college 7 hours away. If there’s an emergency, I need to be reachable right? Although I admit I can do away with checking websites and just let my phone be a phone. (Reminder: turn off the LED feature that blinks when I get an email)
Morning Holley, “Up side down World” we live in is well put….. I myself go back and forth since my divorce within cyber time… Way more and an admitted addict yet Praise The Lord I do Love the outdoors and my friends in both!
I so enjoy the mix in facebook of Christians to friends made while playing an online game to get me thru the toughest time of my divorce last year. Now I have had them for so long allll, Christians or not it is a ministry in itself!
Found the most wonderful Christian friends and friends in the days I was playing the sillie games…Haven’t lost but one I can recall for being a Christian and posting you…smile or other scriptures/devotionals!!! Incredibly wonderful!!!
Take more breaks at least to honor the Father is such a fabulous idea… I begin my day with you and a couple of other devotionals and “use to” go from there to open the word and have time w hearing one on one with the Lord…. moved, don’t do it, am going to start again!!!
Thank you Thank you!!! You are an inspiration and cozy part of my life safe within The Lord my Sister In Christ!!!
I LOVE how transparent you are with us, Holley! You’ve given me something pretty big to think about with Cyber Sabbath! As I realize I spend too much time on my computer and could definitely be more productive taking Cyber Sabbath off.
Thank You for sharing a piece of your heart and your life with us once again!
Love & Hugs,
This is right on target for me. I just posted a blog about Sabbeth rest, how the Lord convicted me of trying to go full blast 24/7. I made a change in 2005. We need to hear this message often to remind us we are not invincible. Only God is! I hope you don’t mind if I follow up my post by tagging your post to my blog. It follows just perfectly. My few readers (and me) need to be (in)couraged to unplug and rest.
Holley,i have found that place once a week for a little over a year now. The disconnect is a great rejuvination. For me it takes several forms depending on what my week entailed. This week I spoke less on the phone, other times I fast Facebook or television in favor of real connecting with the Lord and or the valuable people in my life embody the essence of his heart .
It is wise to balance …… it does the heart good !
Blessings to you always,
Brigitte McCormack says
Your message inspires me. I get so wrapped up in housework, errands, checking gmail, and trying to look my best. I want the house to look perfect and I set high standards for myself. Part of this comes from being raised by a demanding mother who expected perfection. I noticed lately that i was completely devoid of music in my life, something I enjoy immensely. Taking time out, maybe an hour here and there, just to listen to favorite music and tap into something I’ve never heard before helps me unwind, rest, chill-out, let my thoughts wander, worship God, fellowship with Jesus, and refuel. I find my thoughts come in more clearly after listening to music, and my imagination leads to creativity. I am an artist and musician, but I still seem to put mundane activities first, not acknowledging that the real ” work” God has given me, my ministry, is to create inspiring artwork and play soothing music on the piano. Thank you for your gentle reminder.
Katie @ Imperfect People says
We just had this discussion in my small group. I am going to try it this Sunday. I think it will do me some good. Thanks!
Linda Connors says
Your message is a confirmation for me to “take a break!” For me it is not really “electronic” stuff but simply taking a break from the hectic pace of daily life. I love the outdoors and I have been so “called” lately to return to the simplicity of being outside. I am a Dental Hygienist full-time and a weekend part-time Nanny. (Single parent trying to pay those bills). I ache to be a “child” again….being outside, camping with my family, riding horses, etc., etc. These days even to sit outside or walk the dog is peace for my brain!! I have to force myself because if I get a “break” I want to head for the bed for a nap! Sleep deprived, I guess or is it the ultimate escape to sleep??!!
Thanks for your reminder message that I am not alone in this rat race but I need to disconnect and get alone with God in a place that is peaceful and restful for me to hear Him. I pray that for you and all the ladies answering your message. As it says in the Word, “Be still and know that I am God.”
God bless you..
j. r. says
Unplugging from our daily requirements is a wonderful treat to body and soul. Just spend that time with Jesus and our Lord God and you/we/I will be ready to face the next week blessed.
Thank you Holley. I was doing a Sabbath rest a while ago, but I somehow let it slip (feeling all those “I’m missing something” feelings. I feel that gentle nudge of the Spirit in your words. I’m joining you in resting.
P.S. I haven’t been very good about commenting on your blog in recent weeks, but I have been there reading. You never fail to bless and encourage. You are such a sweet, gentle presence. Thank you.
Melinda McCray says
I started this yesterday. Today I am starting 15 on Friday. I will only be online for 15 minutes! Glad i caught this! Being an online student makes it even harder to stay off the web, Facebook, email! God’s impeccable timing is so precious. Blessings of renewal I pray for you today! It is 80 degrees and beeeeeautiful out her in Va! Yay!
Holley Gerth says
Hey Sistahs! Love hearing your thoughts and hearts about rest and unplugging. It encourages me to go deeper and ask God to show me even more of what all of this is about. I see Him in you, through you, and I’m so thankful you’re here! XOXO
as my Mom used to say, it will all be there when you come back; no one is going to do it for you, and it isn’t magically going away on its own.
We really have to get some time off from things and being in the cyber world should be one of them. I am grateful tho for this creation because I have a dear son in far away Alabama while I am in across -the -big-pond New Zealand so I keep him in good spirits especially on his down days through skype and facebook. Balance is the key. Have a fruitful weekend everyone!
blind response; yes God said rest and even assigned a time for it. man had choosen not to follow the rule And now willreap the results. Ask any farmer. B.
Bonnie Gray | FaithBarista says
I love how your heart is always leaning to God’s voice, even when that blink beckons you come hither. A scene from Eden popped in my mind, and there you are, inviting us to rest, as you stroll with God hand in hand on Cyber Sabbath. Love how we’re on this journey of rest together. Love you, friend! xxoo…
As ussual Gods’ timing is perfect. I have been struggling to put asside my computer long enough to take time to worship and pray . I am now more determined to start my day acknowledging God first rather than my e-mail…
God bless you and yours
sandy joy says
thank you for your post today; it hit home. i do take breaks away from the computer; these happen to be most evenings during the work week. i arrive home and simply refuse to sit down in front of my computer because i am on the computer every day and all day at work. i don’t have the type of cell phone that texts and while i still have a land line, i turn my cell off during the evenings also. we really need this time off so we can be open and quiet and hear god speaking to us.
thank you for your encouragement, holly. i am new to your website and this is only my 2nd post – i normally do not spend my time doing this sort of thing – but wanted to tell you that since i discovered your site thru daysprings, i enjoy receiving your notes.
have a great sunny weekend!
peace and love, sandy joy
Valli Adams says
Hi Holley … THIS IS SOOO ENCOURAGING! I have been struggling with this for quite awhile … and so, this week, one of the things I have done is Deactivate my Facebook … sounds drastic??? Maybe, but when I looked at the time I was spending on FB, my afternoons at home were slipping away on the computer. I am at home, on a medical leave … I need to be resting and doing other things to take care of myself, but found I was so absorbed with keeping FB updated, that I was forgetting to do my part in taking care of me!!! Like your thinking … maybe I’ll miss something? … I was checking both my emails and FB daily … I’m not a journalist or writer, like yourself … so truly, especially with my FB, probably not having much influence or impact on anyone … as I haven’t seen much of a response. BUT … I still like the idea of CYBER SABBATH … you couldn’t have put it any better. I will plan a day to NOT TOUCH MY COMPUTER ONCE A WEEK … what an excellent idea … and to know that others are doing it as well is a real incentive for me (like fasting one day a week). I am on my own, so my phone doesn’t ring alot while others are away at work; email is one way of connecting for me … but FB was becoming a way of ‘playing’ (no, I don’t play the games, I just post quotes, news items, music, or videos, in hope that they touch someone … but not to be). I thought it might keep me in closer communication with my grandchildren … but they are early to late teens, and their lives are pretty busy (and the little ones are too young to be on the computer anyway). I was hurt for awhile, but not anymore … I need more time with the LORD, and had probably given Him the backseat on too many occasions. SO, thanks, again, for the ‘RED FLAG’ to keep things in perspective … really, really appreciate your post today (actually every time you post … I look forward to your words of encouragement and wisdom and your pics). May God richly bless you … today, tomorrow and always … and trust you are feeling better each day. Not sure if it was you, or if I saw it on a Christian TV Program … but have ordered a book by Wayne Cordeiro, titled “Leading on Empty”, and hopefully, when I am well enough to get out (or have a friend pick it up), it will be a book of encouragement for where I am at right now … and will help me in the ministry I facilitate called “DivorceCare” … which is a healing group for those going through separation, divorce, or are already divorced, that runs 13 weeks and I facilitate it twice a year … I have had the privilege of facilitating 11 groups, not consecutive as there are times I’ve needed a break, or there are times when the LORD gives me a break with ‘a no interest’ response. Thanks, again, Holley … for your emails and encouragement … I literally SCAN my emails for yours first … and forward them onto women I know who I feel could use your encouraging words. Again … God Bless!
Anna Augustine says
Yes, Holly I do have a time when I unplug also….usually on Sunday as that is my day to do nothing but rest and meditate on Gods goodness. I try not to do electronic stuff till late evenning. Thank you for all your encouraging words that I also share with friends that are needing them.
What a beautiful idea.
I’ve gotten into the routine of not touching the computer or anything else like it until my Bible study time is done. I don’t even eat breakfast until I’ve feasted on the Word. And it’s made a HUGE difference. Going 24 hours unplugged is sounding good, too!
Another great way to pull yourself away from the noise and tune into His whispers is by turning the ipod/radio off when you run or workout. He’ll meet you in this!
Great post! Love it.
Have a blessed weekend!
– Kate 🙂
Love this post…thank you..
I took about 6 weeks off from Facebook–and it was such a good time of rest and evaluation.
All I can say is WOW!!! Usually, once or twice a week I don’t turn on my computer preferring to catch-up on bible reading, other reading materials or decluttering; it clears the mind too. I’m not very technological- do not have Face Book or Twitter accounts or own an Ipad. This is probably my way of prcticing (cyber) Sabbeth. I have no interest in these technologies and feel that email or the telephone, are good ways to communicate when I can’t be face-to-face with friends and family. My cell phone is mostly for emergencies unless I need to contact someone about where to meet when travelling. Being a “baby boomer,” I was raised in a different “time” and am “good to go” for now. Just last week I received a pretty, spring-like, hand written card from a friend; that really brightened my day!!
This new technology can be amazing, but, more often it is coming back to haunt us.
May God guide you Holley in your quest for “cyber Sabbeth.” Praise be to Jesus for showing us this calmer, peaceful path, for our days’ journey!
love, Sandy 🙂
I love the phrase “cyber-sabbath”. I have been convicted lately of the need to slow down. In fact, I made the commitment to let go of facebook during lent. It has been difficult at times, but I must say it has been very freeing as well. No longer is perusing status updates on my to do list. The times I would have logged on to fb, I have spent reading or looking at blogs that are uplifting and draw me closer to God. I think I may institute a weekly cyber-sabbath for myself as well.
I so needed to hear this today!! Thank you so much for sharing this today!! My dr told me today I would needed “to slow down” . I like the “cyber-Sabbath” title as well. We all need a day of rest from, computer, tv, radio etc.. Thanks Holley!! God Bless!!
What a good idea to not turn the computer on one day a week but like today I had over a hundred with all the Ads .
Also I find that being alone it helps to keep in touch with friends or to hear from you .
Thank you for the idea may try it as I can always find other things to do .
Galen Pearl says
Every morning I pray/meditate before turning on the computer. On Sundays I don’t turn on the computer till after noon. Other than that, I unplug when I go spend time at my cabin–no internet or phone service there. It’s great.
Living the Balanced Life says
Because of my bloggy business, I spend a lot of time on my computer. I just ended one major project, but will be gearing up on the next one soon. I have got to find someway to get off the computer more. A whole day would be lovely, but I am not sure I see that happening. I am trying to make sure I take breaks during the day, and try to get off soon after my hubby comes home.
Working on the balance!
Begin again, each and every day
I so agree with your devotional Holly. I rarely go a whole day without my computer but do try not to go to it before I have my time with God. I also love time when I can turn off myTV & just have quiet time with the Lord or time to read etc I believe we hear God better in the stillness.thanks for all you do to encourage us. Have a great weekend.
sal williams says
Bless you once agian for this needed idea! Something I need to do. Having grown up in a family with a kind of compulsion to ‘conneect’ I know I spend far too much time with this! I have satyed off FB but feel I need to connect all the time.
I think this lent season will be a good start…YES I will begin each Sunday…the first day of the week and find more time for prayer.
Thank you so much…I will knock off the PC and my mobile -!! Yeah.
I’ve been considering some form of this for a while. Lent seems the perfect time to do without, just 1day a week. I bet giving it up is like tithing, once I trust His promise, he make’ll up the time gm in miraculous wAys. Going radio silent for Sunday. Babysteps.
Such a great idea! I’ve tried a couple of times but always rationalize my way into pushing the power button. Then, once the computer is on it’s all downhill. For me it’s something I just need to quit wavering over and made a solid decision. I like reading the church related posts on Sunday but never have the willpower to stop at that.
I need to look at a day of rest as bringing a better reward on Monday-double the amount of comments and emails to look through…just like getting a double stack of mail on the day after a holiday!
Like many others here, I also love this idea. I’m thinking that Sundays should be the day I take part in this. In the past few weeks, I have been shutting off (and some days, trying to) my computer during times when I’m caring for my kids. I want to live the moments with them and not be remembered by them that mama foudn the computer more interesting than them! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Holley, thank you for putting it out there because so many of us needed to hear this message today. I for one will definitely abide by that recommendation and I know so many here are already to start the process themselves.
Seems lots of us felt this hit 🙂 We are too much connected anymore. Even to keeping Iphones next to the bed!! (not me). I work on computers all week; coming home I keep checking email to minimum b/c we cant access social sites from work 🙂 and I refuse to do text messaging. So intrusive. Unless emergency — in which case phoning would be much faster/better.
today is a beautiful day in Florida. Sunny, warm, clear >> better to be outside than inside. God gives us such wonderfulness to be enjoyed.
Melissa May says
Love it. : ) Thanks…
I really like this idea of unplugging for a day and finding joy in the simple and amazing things that God’s put right in front of us. I think I’m going to give it a go, too!
I used to do this. In the last year somehow I’ve stopped. But I always saw a benefit from it. Thank you for this timely reminder. I think it is time I adopted this practice again.
Not as yet! We will go away out of town and I will not touch the computer!
This is as far as it gets! for me!
Michele @ From the Unpaved Road says
Living in the African bush so much of my connecting and admin is done online and then of course there being a writer. Words always are a swirl in my head and heart. I find unplugging from my computer is not even enough. I need to unplug from the exercise of language- of learning language (thinking in three right now, shukran kaliis), of writing language (blogs, bulletins and books oh my), of reading language (email stacks resembling mt everest) and just BE. BE in Him, with Him beyond words for when you are with One you love well and know deeply words are not always needful. Silence is my sabbath and I find it in the wee hours before the sun and the children rise. When I can I take a day away and soak in stillness, celebrate is silence but that happens far less often than I’d like!
I did a 3-day “cyber sabbath” over my spring break…good to be un-connected to this world for a while. Thanks, Holley, for the inspiration. I’m going to try to do this one day a week from now on.
Yes. I really need have more days unplugged. But, I will start with one. Then, two. We all need it! Thanks, for this posting. You’re a God send.