Rest from your Labor this Labor Day

Dear Friends:For those of us living in the U.S., this weekend marks the Labor Day holiday. This holiday was initiated by workingmen during the height of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s.It was a time of incredible production in U.S. history when new technologies were transforming the nation:The national railroad network and then the automobile provided faster transportation.The invention of the telephone made communication faster.The introduction of the assembly line streamlined production.The light bulb made it possible for people to work longer hours.The result of the Industrial Revolution was a time of enormous material prosperity in the U.S.Yet, this prosperity came at a staggering price.At the time, it was not uncommon for the average American laborer to work 12-hour days and seven-day weeks. Children as young as five could be found toiling in mills and factories, working conditions were often extremely unsafe, and workers often had inadequate access to sanitation facilities, fresh air, or rest breaks.Finally, workers started standing up for themselves.They formed unions. Workers went on strike to pressure factory owners for better working conditions. Out of all this came changes like child labor laws, better working conditions, and shorter working hours. (And, of course, Labor Day!)Although we may feel far removed from the Industrial Revolution, perhaps we haven't made as much progress as we think. The technological revolution we're living in now pulls and pushes us in similar ways.In our "always-on" world where we are constantly available 24-hours a day via email and the internet, we have a hard time disconnecting from our work. We now live what I call "High Octane" lives.The result of the High Octane Life is that we easily lose touch with the people and priorities that are most important to us.Do you feel like you've lost your connection to God?How about your spouse, good friends, parents, or kids?Have you lost touch with a hobby or a passion that used to bring you joy?When was the last time you spent time in nature marveling at God's amazing creativity?It's time to take a stand for yourself.[tweetthis]For the sake of your soul. You need to take a holiday from technology. You need to disconnect from the wired life of always available and always on. [/tweetthis]And you need to re-connect. You need un-interupted time to connect with the people and passions that bring joy and meaning to your life.So here's my challenge for you this weekend is simple:Find a way to disconnect in order to re-connect.Here are a few ideas to get you started:Choose a day this weekend where all technology stays off. Go on a screen fast. Put away your phone, laptop, and TV.Turn off all push notifications on your phone. Or better yet, leave it on airplane mode or do not disturb when you're not using it.When you go out this weekend to spend time with family or friends, leave your phone at home. (For you parents who may need to have a phone in case the babysitter calls, leave it in your pocket or purse instead of having it out to check emails and updates.)Decide on a no phones or technology rule in the bedroom. Make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleeping and connecting intimately with your spouse.Pick a time each day to disconnect from technology. Intentionally choose a specific time to turn on and off the Internet each day. (For instance, maybe you don't connect to it until 9:00 am and turn it off at 8:00 pm.)Invite someone you love to join you for a day without devices and tell them why you're doing it.Just sit somewhere for a few hours. Get out into nature. Bring a journal and a pen. Consider what you need to disconnect from in your life in order to re-connect to the people and priorities that truly matter the most to you.Sit quietly with God for a few minutes in silence. Let his love for you wash over your soul.If you choose to accept my challenge, I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this email. Let me know how you are disconnecting from technology and how you are re-connecting.With you on the journey,Steve Smith