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Unplugging to be Revolutionaries of the Heart

By Linda Buck, CSJ

Imagine if, instead of checking my phone 96 times per day, I checked in with God?

Years ago, I heard about a study that discovered that those who practiced clear boundaries in the workplace tended to be more respected by their peers and management. This turned into concrete implications, such as an increase in promotions and more positive annual reviews and financial benefit. In some ways, from a more Westernized mindset, this is counterintuitive. We have sayings like, “No pain, no gain” and have been conditioned, especially for girls and women, that we put ourselves aside to take care of others. This translates into less-than-desirable boundaries in a work or ministry setting. I know I have succumbed to this mindset, and then pull myself out of it, only to succumb to it again. It makes for a trail of lessening energy for what really matters – relationship with oneself, others, and God.

This week, there is an effort to “unplug” – it is a time on the calendar to remind us to lessen our connection with all the electronics that keep us connected. This is also counterintuitive. Technology has become a way for connection, and it is a blessing. Just reflect on how it allowed us to connect with others during the pandemic. Yet, it also fills our time.

The average American checks their phone 96 times per day, or once every ten to 12 minutes. Though, we actually touch our phones up to 2,617 times per day and unlock our phones 150 times on average. (from

Technology definitely has our attention! It also creates diffuse boundaries because we are seemingly available ALL THE TIME!

What practical practices can help us unplug and create healthy boundaries? I’m writing this for myself and hope it helps others think about this for their life. I think I could list many ideas – which I offer a few below – however, it is really about behavioral change and creating consistency in maintaining the boundaries. For myself, I’m thinking of the following with an alternative action. I need to fill the void that this change creates, otherwise, nature abhors a vacuum and I’ll be right back to doing what I am trying to change. I offer two ideas to start. I invite you to think about 1 – 2 things you can do. Start small…this helps with creating change.

  1. When I wake up, instead of checking my phone for messages, I will look outside the window and think about the day ahead.

  2. During the day, I can set the phone out of eyesight (to the side of the desk) when working and only check when I am transitioning to something else.

What is the actual goal of all of this? It is to increase my availability to myself, lessening the clutter that technology so readily brings. It is also about increasing my availability to connect with others. Rather than be a passive recipient of the latest promotional email or social media post, I can create space to reach out and actively participate in connecting with friends.

It also creates more space to connect with the Divine throughout the day. Imagine if, instead of checking my phone 96 times per day, I checked in with God? Would this create a revolution for the heart rather than succumbing to the paradox of progress? Let’s unplug and be revolutionaries!


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