Children playing in the summer sunset

There’s a lot to love about the Internet. I’ve met some of my greatest friends online, you can learn more than is possible in one lifetime through online classes and blogs, and you can shop for groceries in your pajamas. You can sometimes earn a living online, you can lead and participate in book clubs and Bible studies, and hey, you can even attend a conference.

The Internet is a beautiful place. But it can also be really, really loud. Really loud.

It’s a never-sleeping place, constantly barraging us with more and more and more content, vying for our attention and clamoring for our eyeballs. Even the good stuff, it’s overwhelming. Our brains pound with every scroll, every ‘like,’ every pin, and our necks stiffen downward as we focus our gaze to our palms and avoid other eyes and faces.

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It’s around this time every year that I take more time to close the laptop, walk barefoot in the dirt, and settle in among the green and good. My soul thirsts for the stuff made of bark and leaves and flesh and blood, and the only way I can truly breathe it all in, I’ve found, is to deliberately walk away from the pixels and the hashtags for a season.

God sometimes speaks to me through links I’ve clicked through Twitter, He moves me through myriad online causes, and I’ve deepened my theology and doctrine through prolific bloggers gifted in sharing their wisdom.

But He also speaks to me through grass. Through evenings around fire pits and cold drinks. Exploring places around the bend that require my leaving the laptop and strapping on a backpack.

Lounging on the grass at summertime.

For me, this summer, taking an Internet break looks like less frequent blog posting, traveling with my clan away from wifi, removing the Facebook app from my phone, and leaving my inbox full to the brim. It can wait. And then it looks like breathing in the rich, dirty, diverse creation around me in the 3-D world. And remembering to smile, once again, at the people in front of me.

Won’t you join me?

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  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com Barbie

    AMEN! Such wisdom. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jasmine

    Sounds like a fab idea, one I will take up in our summer in NZ xx

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Tsh,
    Just one technology over the top story: My husband and I were honeymooning in beautiful Antigua just a few months ago. We decided to go sans technology (not even our smart phones) and it was WONDERFUL!! Ironically, we saw other newlyweds sitting next to each other on the beach or around the pool and they were both engrossed in their individual iphones and not communicating with each other. I wanted to pluck the phones out of their hands and throw them in the water and challenge them to talk to each other and go enjoy this paradise that they were in. Sometimes I miss the “good ole days” of less technology and more interaction. Great post and reminder…
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy Robinson

      This was fabulous example – Congratulations are your new marriage!

      • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

        Thanks Missy :)

    • Beth WIlliams

      Congratulations on the marriage and the nice honeymoon! People do too much technology for my liking!!!

  • Karen

    I wholeheartedly agree. I have recently returned to an internet sabbath each week. It is good for me to regularly break with it!!!!

    Btw…just recently finished “blue bike” and found it very thought provoking. A good reminder for some areas where I have allowed myself to slide! THANKS!

  • http://prayingontheprairie.blogspot.com Tara

    This post spoke directly to my heart! The last four summers I’ve attended a continuing education event in the Rocky Mts in Colorado! Where we stay there is no cell service, internet etc, it has become my fave part of this trip. You are right sometimes we just need to disconnect! (So if I’m not online for a few weeks, you’ll know why) I love simply being in Gods creation. Love the quote and image above!!

  • http://staceoneajourney.wordpress.com Stacey

    Love. Love. Love. Which encourages more intentional relationships and friendships. Intentional connection. I’ve hardly been on Facebook this summer for that same reason. Disconnect. Live. Enjoy the outdoors and life, the laughter and squeals of my children as they play with the neighborhood kiddos, draw pictures on the sidewalk, and eat popsicles. Life is meant to be lived in 3-D!

  • http://www.farfromflawlesslife.blogspot.com Missy Robinson

    We get to live very close to Smoky Mountain National Park and spend a lot of time there, especially in the summertime. There is no cell service in the park and it’s a gift to disconnect and enjoy nature and family and fun. I love it! I’m pretty intentional about staying disconnected, but it creeps in so easily!

  • Jennifer Shipe

    Thanks for the great post! I am sure many of you have seen this video but I thought I would share given the topic. Enjoy!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZS9Wte1gX9g

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vol-au-vent/ Kiki

    YEP; and these are exactly the reasons why I DON’T have FB and never use my Twitter account – I DO take photographs but above everything else, I write…. real notes & letters to REAL PEOPLE, phone calls to my dear friends all over the world instead of ‘only’ mailing all the time (I do that too mind you)….
    So, YES, so be it! Happy quiet summer times to you and yours and to us all – Love

  • http://www.yvonnereynolds.com Yvonne Reynolds

    Thank you for this post! I am getting ready to leave on a week long vacation with my kids, and once we get back home, my daughter and I will be helping with a week long VBS at our church. I was trying to figure out if I should plan to do some blogging over these next crazy three weeks, but after reading your post, I am not going to worry about it. Time to unplug a bit :)

  • Joanne Peterson

    If I did not have a class I was facilitating for the next 6 months, I would chuck it too. I use e-mail to communicate in one fell swoop, and call for all of the rest. I do like the devotions, a lot.

    But, I remember the day where people did not expect instant answers, and instant work done, and allowed time to actually communicate either through phone, or post-it notes, or letters. A person had to slow down to think before responding. Yes we had typing, but we also had to look over the letter, and change our minds before sending off. Now, I believe we have the ability to send things that we regret because of the instant mentality, and the never ending need to get more done.

    We do now need to be much more intentional with our internet time and not let it consume us, and have real interaction.

    Tsh, thank you so much for this thought provoking post!

    Joanne

  • http://www.beckystepp.com Becky Stepp

    I love sitting on my deck and writing while looking at God’s beautiful creation! Being outside clears my head and I can feel the presence of The Lord! I’ve always believed in the benefits of being outside with family, friends, and of course, my dog! It relieves stress too!!

  • http://thriftyscrapbooker.blogspot.co.uk SuseFish

    Yay – go you Tsh! xxx

  • Ashley R

    I started a Facebook break in May.
    For the summer.
    After all, my youngest will start pre-k next year, we have a busy summer scheduled with vacation + VBS + extra kids at our house most days. So, why miss any of my own moments trying to catch up on other people’s moments.
    I’ve missed a few announcements and a few good pics. My husband usually fills me in.
    And I’ve had a huge peace and joy about not feeling so attached to my phone.

  • http://abidingloveaboundinggrace.blogspot.com/ ~Karrilee~

    I love this oh so much! I am on a bit of a Bloggy break as well – or at least giving myself the freedom to not be so Bossy about it! So I am going to be ‘sharing’ this post in my weekend recap, because – of course! But I am guessing that we will both be out and about and not plugged in!

    So appreciate the freedom and invitation!
    ~K~

  • http://www.kathycheek.blogspot.com Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    I have noticed alot of bloggers are taking breaks as summer has arrived and I think that is great! You don’t have to be connected 24/7! Enjoy life, it is better offline!

  • http://www.alismithtx.com Ali

    I love this Tsh. I just enjoyed three and a half with limited internet time while serving at Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, CO. It was perfect refreshment for my soul. So needed!

  • http://godsdailymessageforthedense.blogspot.com/ Cynthia McGarity

    Oh, thank you for this post and the permission, Tsh. I am in a season of “launching” and it is becoming quite overwhelming…feel like I’ve been sitting more than enjoying my teens. Getting up now – and walking away from the computer!

  • Cheryl

    There’s nothing like a good brisk walk when the sun goes down to clear your head.

  • Kathy

    Very good advice to take a rest from all the wifi and just enjoy time with family and friends. I need time to continue my writing of course, but above all I need to have a fresh touch with the Lord in the glorious outdoors and with people I care about. I have been hounded about texting, but I feel this is so impersonal I have refused the request. I need to talk to someone, not through short spurts of abbreviated words. I applaud your intention of living this summer not bound by e-mail/facebook, etc. Our time is valuable and so much is awaiting our discovery as we walk away from the computer for a time.

  • http://mariazwire.wordpress.com Maria Marino

    Remembering to smile and embrace the people in front of you! Wise indeed and so joy-full to spend time with and appreciate the precious people in our lives. Thank you! By the way, I love the font used in the ‘road’ picture. What is it called?

  • Cathy

    Yes!!! Thank you for saying IT. I agree 100%. I fought joining Facebook until this month. I joined because I needed to feel connected to a group of women, even if I was never going to see them face to face. The two (in)courage groups have been a blessing. I may only have less than 20 online friends but that is better than what I started out with, ZERO. I am hoping to get out some this summer. I am used to going to the movies and to church by myself, I am not too crazy about it but I don’t have a BF to call and say, “Hey wanna hang out?” My husband is a workaholic and talking to him about it, is well…in the Lord’s hands. So, before you ‘unplug’ for the summer, would you mind saying a little prayer for a cyber sister? Blessings to you, brave sister. Have an awesome summer :)

  • http://thechelseapage.wordpress.com chelsea

    Loved this so much! I was nodding my head as I read a long. It’s time to shut the computer and sit with my family. So blessed by this.

  • Lina

    YES!! Let’s all do it! My husband and I made it three Sundays in a row at the beach… and I can only use my e*reader. =) It was lovely. I am sad that life jumped on top of us again and squelched it for a time. Ready to restart this weekend!!

    Thanks!

  • http://www.lilkidthings.com Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things)

    Ahh yes. This speaks to me. I am taking a month long blogging break and it feels so so right. After nearly eleven years I don’t think I have ever really been intentional about a break like this. I still have a job but something about pulling away a bit is so good. Enjoy your rest!

  • http://www.heavensreef.com Maxine Gonzalez

    Love this insight! When I take walks with my pup I see people walking outside with their cell phones! I just don’t get it and realize how blessed I am to be focused on my GOD and all the beauty around me. It is quite freeing to go unplugged. I highly recommend it and yes those e-mails etc. will still be there waiting for you! In this post you give many the permission to unplug and we all need more of this! Thank you.

  • Beth WIlliams

    I personally don’t do much technology. Some Facebook, No tweets, twitter, Iphone. I have email and I will look at the internet some. For me it is more important to be with and talk to people face to face or via basic cell phone.

    I agree that going outside and enjoying this beautiful country that God has blessed us with is far more valuable than wasting time with technology!

    Blessings :)

  • http://hercitytales.wordpress.com Rachel

    What a wonderful reminder. I’m in a season where The Lord is asking me to write more through my blog but this is a great reminder to set boundaries!

  • http://www.mywahmplan.com Linda Kinsman

    This is one of those posts that makes me smile while reading it and keep smiling long after leave a comment because it speaks to my soul. I need to type less, dig in the dirt more. Thanks for such a splendid reminder.