Friday, July 1, 2011

Take a Cue From a Hummingbird

A few weeks back, my wife and I went on a vacation to Canada for a week. The fishing was amazing, the weather decent, and even towards the end we were treated to a display of northern lights. There was plenty of wildlife to be seen also...including moose, foxes, black bears, eagles, and of course, plenty of fish. Up there, however, we were about an hour away from the nearest town, which meant no cell phone service, no internet, and no telephone. The bathroom consisted of an outhouse and what lights we did have in the cabin were powered by a generator that only ran a few hours of the day.

Hanging out in front of the cabin's living room window, however, was a hummingbird feeder. Several times a day a pair of hummingbirds would stop by and visit. If you've never watched one of these little creatures, they are truly amazing to see as their wings beat up to 80 times per second. Their wings often look like a blur, and they can change their direction on a dime, even turning 90 degress with minimal effort. But for all the work these birds seemed to do, I would see them fly back to their nest in a nearby tree to rest.

When I came back home, I returned back to a world filled with technology. I sat down in front of my computer to check my e-mail. The odd part was, part of me really didn't care. Part of me did not miss going online at all. It took a full day for me get back into my usual routine of checking the news, writing blog posts, checking e-mail, etc. and throughout that time I was wondering if I was even doing the right thing anymore.

The lesson I began to learn was that it had been a long time since I had taken a break like that and I was long overdue. The other lesson was that I needed to start scheduling smaller breaks on a regular basis or I would run the risk of "technology burnout". It was almost as if I had forgotten how to take a rest.

I think nowadays it is very easy to fall into a "busy" trap, by constantly running around, researching things on the internet, checking web stats, etc. Don't get me wrong...I love technology and especially programming. But I do know when I have reached my saturation point and my brain starts to go into overload mode. It doesn't help that numerous times I've found myself saying "can I have my five minutes back?" after clicking on a news article which really did not contain much substance but had a catchy title.

I'm relearning now that sometimes it's good to "unplug" ourselves from technology once in a while. Humans were never meant to spend all their waking hours inundating myself with all forms of media, most of which does not improve our lifestyle in any tangible way.  It's been proven, too, that when a person gets too tired, their productivity will often drop by half. In other words, periods of rest are essential to your longevity. Computers are great at multi-tasking and even doing multiple tasks in parallel, but for humans it can quickly become counterproductive and even destructive.

Do you ever sense the need to unplug from technology for a while? In Mark 2:27 it states, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (NKJV) What are some areas of life that you feel you might need a rest from? Why is that animals seem to know when to take a rest but humans are prone to overwork?


  1. Point well taken. I thrive on busy-work. If I'm not feeling productive, I'm not happy. But the busyness - especially where the ubiquitous Internet is involved - can become overwhelming. I have to pace myself and enforce breaks from time to time in order to keep my sanity.

  2. The odd thing about overworking oneself is that it doesn't take much to reach the point of exhaustion...and then when taking a break, it's looked at as "unproductive" time. Sometimes it's tough just to sit around an do nothing.

    Thanks for the comments!