Off the Grid: A Mom’s Tale of Walking Away from Electronics

It all started with a stress level that felt off the charts. At this time in my life I am juggling all the balls, spinning all the plates and literally feeling the weight of my world pressing down on me. Let me introduce myself before all the plates stop spinning! My name is Chrystan and I am a recovering electronic-aholic (maybe I made that word up). My husband and I live tucked away on 26 acres of lovely. This acreage is more than necessary, because just like you, I am a boymom. Three boys ranging in age from four to eleven roam, jump, ride, slide, fall, scrape, bike, ramp, kick, tumble, and more around Ferrell Farms. Aside from all that, which already feels like a lot, I am a business owner, a writer, a speaker, a worship leader, COO of a nonprofit, and active in my community and church.

A few months ago, I found myself more than overwhelmed. Everything was stressing me out and it was showing all over my mommy world. I was short tempered, lacking in patience, and found myself hiding from my boys to scroll through Facebook. So I shut it all down. That’s right. I did the unthinkable for a busy woman these days.

I shut off my phone and all electronics for three days, over a weekend even!

This may sound impossible to you but go with me, there’s a lesson for us all here.

Here’s how it worked for me and it can for you too:

Step One: Tell your people

I texted my tribe (close friends and family) that I was going off the grid for the weekend. I told them that they could contact my husband if they needed anything emergent. This freed me from my usual worry of emergency contact ability. It also gave me accountability.

Step Two: Commit no matter what

I committed to myself and my family. This gave me no option in my brain of going back. Committing to this means you need to turn it off and place it away, out of sight, then walk away and don’t go back.

Step Three: Make a plan

Set up activities you will do instead of texting, talking, posting and searching on your electronic. Things that I did instead: baked, played with my boys (shocking I know), sat on my front porch and read my Bible, laid in the grass and looked at the sky, spent time organizing in my home, completed an unfinished DIY project, read a book (I know shocking again!), cuddled at bedtime, watched my son play outside (actually watched him with my full attention), and wrote letters. These are just some of the things I completed with three days of freedom.

Surprising finds for me were:

I noticed my kids more. I saw them again, not through the screen on my phone, not looking over the screen on my phone. I truly looked at them and they were amazing. (Not perfect, but amazing.)

I noticed my husband more. I was reminded of how to be a listener again. We had more face time (meaning staring at each other, not FaceTime) than we had in a long time.

I noticed God more. I intentionally did this so that I could hear the voice of God more clearly. We have so much coming at us all the time—the world is so loud! Shutting all that off helped me to process the stresses in my life and calmly evaluate them. God moved in my heart during this time away.

I breathed more deeply, loved better, intentionally parented, and felt a sense of great peace wash over my home during this committed time away from the world-wide web of life. Can I challenge us this summer to put our phones down intentionally for solid amounts of time to just enjoy these moments, to bring peaceful time of relishing the dog days of summer? I promise you, mom to mom, woman to woman, person to person, you will not regret these off the grid moments. You will cherish them and maybe even look forward to them.

You will find Chrystan tucked away on Ferrell Farms, laughing with her husband and chasing after their three boys. When she isn’t doing those things, she’s writing, speaking and leading worship for Imperfectly Brave. You can find more from Chrystan at chrystanferrell.com (coming soon!) or liking her Facebook page.

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