Stop the World

It’s Monday morning, Hannah is at work, and I’m working from home with two ill children. (am slightly envious that they are watching The Hobbit snuggled up on the sofa, but not at all wanting their colds….)

Not the best start to the week…and I had a band rehearsal last night, leaders meeting tonight, worship team rehearsal Tuesday, staff meeting and church meeting Thursday…where oh where did the weekend go?! We all get weeks like this, sometimes too often.

How Did We Get Here?

The assumption was, with all of the technology which we have and are constantly creating and upgrading, that life would be simpler. The machines would take care of the mundane, simplifying our day to day so we would have more spare time to do the things we loved. But a hundred years ago, whole days would be set aside for wash days, as clothes were boiled, pounded and mangled…not deposited in a drum with some liquid and put on an eco wash for a couple of hours. If I wanted to contact a friend in America, I could write a letter, or telegram in the 1950’s. I could call of course, but the cost of the call and the quality of the line would mean it would have to be particularly important to justify. Today I know exactly what my friends and family are doing on the other side of the world through Facebook and email, and I can message them and contact them instantly. When I got my first job back in 1997 (only 17 years ago!) I had a terminal…this machine had a green tube screen, internal email as an option and no internet. And 50% of my job involved paper forms and ink stamps. Today I am working from home, with a lightning fast internet and paperless.

All of this technology, all of these advances, and yet we are busier than ever. How can this be? Well the many reasons could probably fill this blog post several times over, and I don’t want to speculate. I know for me I enjoy doing, and so find it hard to say no to things which I enjoy…which has to balance with the jobs I have to do but don’t necessarily love, and also my wife and family (who of course I do love and want to spend all of my time with). I have been pretty fortunate over most of my career so far in that I have been able to set my working day to avoid rush hour. I’ve always started early and finished early so I was home in time for tea and bath and bed (for the kids, not me…), and it is something I have stuck to wherever possible even now as they are older. This may well have scuppered my chances for promotion and pay rises as I generally wouldn’t work late…but then I got everything done during my work hours…anything else would just be for visual effect and status…and I got to spend precious time with my family.

Stop the World

Stop the World is a just incredible song by Matthew West we have used a lot…the words and the sentiment just seem to reach people where they’re at, as so many of us can relate:

The T.V. is talking
The telephone’s ringing
The lights are all on and the radio’s screaming
A million distractions are stealing my heart from You

I’m tired and empty
This life is relentless
It weakens my knees and it breaks my defences
It’s wearing me down and I’m desperate to hear from You

Stop the world, I wanna get out
I need an escape away from this crowd
Just to hear You speak to me

I am still busy, I still have a crazy week this week on top of my usual work, and I know come Friday we will probably just end up dropping off on the sofa. But a while ago I made a concerted effort to work with this, so I consciously watch less TV, we plan out our weekends well in advance and block book “NOTHING” for some of them, I don’t ever take my phone to bed (and of course it’s rude to text at the table). And I have been struggling with (but mostly managing) to get up earlier in the morning so I can just have some quiet time with my bible, with my thoughts, and with prayer.

In a twenty four hour, always switched on, never disconnected world, it is difficult to hear anyone clearly above the noise, let alone the still small voice of God.

So why don’t you find your daily time to uncouple, listen, and just be. Stop the World.

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