Unplug, reset, reboot.

by Bishop Gary Lillibridge

As most of you know, Catherine and I have recently returned from your gift of a sabbatical; and we are deeply grateful to you all for what was a wonderful time of renewal, rest, and refreshment.  The opportunity to step back from my daily responsibilities and focus on renewal of mind, body, and spirit was a blessing that exceeded all of my expectations; and they were already high going in!  As I begin my 30th year of ordination in 2012, I do so from renewed place of thanksgiving, joy, and enthusiasm for the Gospel of Christ.  Thank you again.

I am also aware that my recent experience is not the norm; certainly it isn’t for me.  Therefore, I want to offer a few words of reflection on how we all might look at hitting the “reset” button without taking a months-long sabbatical.

I have a good friend who is the computer technology expert in his company, and he reports that much of his work of fixing his co-workers’  computer problemsis telling them to “turn off your computer, wait a few minutes, and then turn it back on.”  In other words, “reboot.”  He indicates this fixes about half the problems, and he’s off for another cup of coffee.  He loves his job.  My cable TV company always starts with this same advice (“unplug the box, hit the reset button”) when we call with a problem.  Sure enough, it works much of the time.

All of us need to find a few moments in a busy, hectic day to “reboot; unplug, and hit the reset button.”  I have found that in the midst of tension, difficulty, busyness, and stress, I am able to carry on much more effectively if I can take a moment – or moments – to take a break from the immediate situation and step back.

Of course, sabbatical offered me the opportunity to follow this advice in an extended manner, but I’m not on sabbatical most of the time.  This means I have to discipline myself to remember this advice daily and then to act on it.  I have found that the more I practice pausing and “rebooting” in a situation, the more natural it becomes.

When I remember that God has blessed me with a life – and that life will include moments of indescribable joy, deep grief, and smaller irritations on a daily basis, I am reminded of the ancient wisdom from Psalm 46.10 to “Be still, and know that I am God.”  It is then that I am able to more fully understand and appreciate what it means to be led “beside still waters” (Psalm 23.2).

This comes to you with my prayer that as we go about our daily responsibilities – our daily callings – that we might remember how important it is to take a mini-sabbatical by “unplugging, rebooting, and resetting” ourselves so that we might more fully grow into the instruments of grace which God calls us to be.  If this “rebooting” works with my computer and my cable box, how much more might it work with living human beings.

The Rt. Rev. Gary Lillibridge is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas.

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From The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas

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