The Power of Unplugging 

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By Kevin Freiert

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to take a trip to Israel.  In addition to the wonderful sites, the new friendships we made with others in our tour group, and the joy of strengthening our faith; we by necessity had to just unplug from work.  Sure, Israel has good internet and cell phone service, but the logistics of the trip just did not allow for any substantial work time. 

I needed this so much.   

As we neared the departure date, my last few days were overfilled with trying to complete an e-learning for a client, ensuring that our podcasts were ready to go, checking the bank accounts to ensure smooth cash flow, and letting the world know that I might be a bit harder to reach for a couple weeks.  It was exhausting but the anticipation of the trip pulled me through.   

I needed this so much. 

Israel is seven hours ahead of Connecticut, so our lives were totally disrupted.  This added to the ‘unpluggedness’ by forcing us to pay attention to basic needs like food and sleep.  Add to that the culture shock that accompanies almost any trip to a different country and it seemed like Connecticut and work were a million miles away.  It only took a day for me to realize that work was not going to happen.  I just let it go. 

I needed this so much. 

As we settled into the routine of the tour (breakfast at 6:30, on the bus at 7:30, jam-packed days, dinner, a cappuccino with our new friends, and bed by 10 – repeat) we were able to take in all that was around us.  We had great conversations with new people, many of whom are now close friends.  We listened to our guide and the Pastor who led the trip tell us about the history, the geography, the people, and the important events that happened in the places we explored.   

This began to shape and refresh my perspective.  The city of Jericho is 11,000 years old and numerous civilizations have come and gone in this part of the world over the centuries.  The layers and layers of the remnants of these people were all around us.  It certainly made the very short history of America seem even shorter.  Most importantly, it made the worries and stress of my last work week seem miniscule. 

I needed this so much. 

Our work can often grow to disproportionate importance in our lives.  If we are caring for a child or are a patient ourselves, the ongoing, seemingly never-ending burden can start to erode our ability to see all that is around us.  We can become very self-centered.  The harder we try to overcome the challenges, the deeper we fall into this trap.  But what are we to do?   

We all have responsibilities and commitments.  It is a double-edged sword.  These responsibilities seem to give our life meaning and purpose.  Without them, we can become lazy, and I know that I can even get depressed when I do not have something on my plate.  On the other hand, if the activity becomes overwhelming or is just distracting me from something more serious, that is when it becomes a burden. 

This is where the power of unplugging comes in. 

Finding a way to temporarily disconnect from those responsibilities and commitments allows me to refresh, clarify my thoughts, question my situation and motivations, and generally regain the proper perspective.  Personally, diving into that opportunity to re-center on my faith gives me a double benefit.  When I am asked why I do what I do, I remember that it is a deep love for people that drives me.  Not profit, fame, notoriety, or even accomplishments.   I remind myself that my purpose is to help people see a bigger picture so that they can achieve their most important goals.  

I needed this so much.   

Posted by Heather McCullen


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Heather McCullen

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