I am in much need of our family vacation and one that will be well spent with my wife, our children, and our family members. We are preparing to make our annual pilgrimage up to our favorite summer spot – Wrightsville Beach, NC. It is the place that I have been traveling to for summer vacations since I was knee high to a grasshopper. I love the smell of the salt in the air, the warm breeze, the sound of the draw-bridge, the good food, and most of all – my family.
Last year was an extremely busy year for our family life. I (along with our amazing church) was in the midst of gearing up for our first annual G3 Conference. At the same time, I was seeking to meet my deadlines for my dissertation in order to graduate in May of 2013. While we were hammering out details for the conference and I was spending my off days in the office in hot pursuit of completing my dissertation – Kari and I decided that we would take all of our vacation at once in the summer of 13 in order to refuel and reconnect as a family. I can’t tell you how excited I am about spending time with my kids and staying away from the vicious cycle of reading, writing, pastoring, and preaching (there is a distinction between pastoring and preaching).
Along with this intentional refueling trip will be a decided attempt to disconnect from the Internet and all forms of social media. I will not be posting marvelous sunset pics or those awkward takes of me doing cartwheels on the beach on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I have decided to take a vacation from the world of social media. In fact, each year I attempt this (sometimes I fail) and I believe it’s a good thing for me and for our family. If I’m trying to get away from the world – why would I want to post threads and pics on Facebook every 5 minutes for everyone to read? Furthermore, if I’m attempting a vacation I don’t really need to fill my mind with the normal happenings of things back home (unless it’s an emergency or an extremely important matter) – right?
Below are several reasons why I personally believe a disconnected vacation is a healthy commitment:
- Regardless of what you might think – people really are not interested in viewing pictures and reading your updates about your vacation every 5 minutes. If you think that the world needs to see a running documentary of your life – you may need to research the meaning of narcissistic personality disorders and behaviors on social media.
- Your family is interested in your time and they deserve more of you than social media. Those friends that you don’t see except twice each year should not receive more devotion than your wife and children. A friend recently said that he named his router for his wireless service in his home “CIA Information Gathering Service” and immediately he saw families in his neighborhood come out in the yard and start playing together. The fact is – our families often suffer from the invisible wall of the digital world.
- A vacation is time to relax and refuel and often times social media will prevent your mind from truly escaping the “real world” that you live in for a short window of intentional vacation and refuel.
- A vacation can be a time to replace your social media and computer time with a book that you have not had the time to read (for me it will be Kingdom Come by Sam Storms and my summer commitment to reread Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan).
- Disconnect from the digital world is a healthy thing that often helps you to spend more time devoted to prayer. You don’t have to take a vacation to do this, but it’s simply my annual commitment and one of the benefits is that I’m actually able to be more intense in my prayer life.
- Walking away from the world of social media proves that you are not addicted to it and that it’s not your god.
- Like it or not, the digital world of social media is often a place where people paint an exaggerated portrait of themselves. A good disconnect will allow a person to gaze into the mirror of God’s Word in order to see a more crisp and accurate picture of who they really are.
- Since the invention of social media, the typical Bible reading time for Christians has decreased. It’s a fact – Facebook is replacing God’s book. A disconnected period in your life will help prioritize Scripture intake and Bible verse memory above social media.
- An unplugged season (such as a vacation) will enable you to reevaluate your spiritual and career goals for your life in a way that is often disrupted by e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
This article is not intended to bring guilt to anyone who reads this blog or disagrees with my position on this issue. The purpose is to help you think honestly about the importance of taking a double vacation – one from the place you live and one from the place you live in the digital world. The benefits of a disconnected vacation are innumerable and those who take the challenge each year have no regrets. I pray this short article will enable you to think honestly about how you spend your time in the digital world (see Tim Challies’ article – A Social Media Heart Check). Disconnect for a season – you will not regret it.
For the glory of God,
Pastor Josh Buice