Getting connected

April 16, 2013 — 4 Comments

A few years ago, I drove down from Boston to an artist’s colony in the hills of Virginia. I stayed overnight at a friend’s house and before I got on the road again, I took advantage of her wireless internet connection.

I only had time to send a brief update to Jack who was holding down the fort back in Rabat and I was looking forward to catching up on my internet activity when I arrived at my destination.

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Once I unpacked, I discovered I could connect to my choice of four wireless networks. But there was one small problem: the internet was down. It still wasn’t working the next morning. I started going into withdrawal with feelings of desperation. I started to wonder how long could I survive without being connected.

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At breakfast in the residence hall, one person mentioned they had checked email that morning. “So the internet is working?” I asked with hope in my voice. No, he had used his Iphone. “Oh,” I said with disappointment.

At lunch in the studio complex, I asked a few more people. One said he had used a wireless network on the other side of the long narrow building. I didn’t exactly run back to my studio and grab my computer; but I did go straight away, leaving my soup to cool.

I clicked on this new wireless network and felt a surprisingly powerful sense of relief when it connected. I could communicate with friends again, check the weather, catch up on the news, load up a blog post, visit with family on Skype, and research a half-dozen “I wonder about…” questions I had thought of during my 12 hours of driving.

connected

The internet has been around for years but I haven’t always been so dependent on it. The first time I went to an artist’s colony, there was one desktop computer and residents signed up for half-hour slots [I put my westward jetlag to good use with long pre-dawn sessions]. The last time I went, they had just gotten wireless and I read A.W.Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy online. But when the connection went down for a weekend, it didn’t phase me.

Now the idea of spending 24 hours without a connection feels like being stranded on a desert island. I’ve slowly changed how I live to the point where it’s difficult to function without the internet. This didn’t happen overnight though. The change was a gradual process. And I do believer it would be possible to wean myself off of the internet, especially if my family and friends stopped using it.

There are a lot of parallels between my dependence on the internet and my connection with God. First, it’s helpful for me to remember that significant life change usually doesn’t happen overnight. Patterns and habits take time to develop, and they also take time to wither away.

When I first committed myself to following Jesus, spending time with God every day wasn’t too difficult. I was learning new things and making discoveries. I was eager to get to know Him better and being a student, I had a fair amount of control over my day. I found it a lot harder to stay connected when I had children, and later when I worked fulltime. I let the relationship go slack and gradually lost the habit of taking time to be with God.

When I regained control over the structure of my life after I left my job and moved overseas, I decided to plug in deeper again. But it took awhile before I became dependent on my daily time with God once more.

And there are still periods when my connection to God goes ‘down’ and I have to work at reconnecting. This past week as I’ve been traveling and out of my routine, I’ve found it harder to find a quiet space. It’s not as easy as being at home in my routine. It’s like having to walk outside into the snowy cold air, through the mud, to the other studio wing to get an internet connection.

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When I’m desperate enough though, I don’t mind the extra effort. And what a relief it is to find God has been waiting patiently for me to come and spend time with Him again.

How about you? What is your connection to God like these days? Strong and easy? Or requiring more effort?

{Edited from the archives}

4 responses to Getting connected

  1. 
    Barbara Crooker April 17, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Um, I was there two weeks ago, and the same internet problems abound. . . . But it’s funny, we all adjusted. . . .

  2. 

    I’ve been going through a time of being disconnected from God and an active prayer life. I was reminded recently that Jesus wants us to receive his kingdom like little children. That means we can always come to him in our messiest, most distracted state. There is no “right” way or time to pray. God’s kingdom comes when we are connected to him. And we have the right to get connected through prayer at any time thanks to Jesus.

    Getting connected is like putting on that oxygen mask on a plane. You have to help yourself first before you can help anyone else. Pray for yourself. Dump it all on God. Use that connection to let him fill you up with grace. THEN you can expand your ministry to others around you.

    Thanks for this post letting us know where you are. It’s important to remember to be connected with each other as well as to God.

    • 

      I love your point about being like a child with God, messy and distracted. And how true that there is no one right way to pray. As someone reminded me today, it’s not a method, it’s a relationship.
      I really like the image of putting on an oxygen mask and how we have to do ours first. Sometimes, I think we absorb the message that it’s selfish–but it’s simply reality. I can’t help others unless God has helped me.

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