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Chptr 24 - Reboot (NSA Is Listening)

I can always tell there will be an upgrade coming to the software on my phone when the battery life starts to rapidly diminish. My operating service provider sends me a text every once in a while, to tell me I need to upgrade my software. It always says the same thing. The upgrade is to "Resolve bugs, provide better security and optimize performance." A lot of my technical friends tell me not to upgrade. Their belief is that it is a conspiracy to dig into my files and watch my activity for threats and potential illegal activities. These are the same people who have told me not to turn on my Amazon Echo Dot™ because it records every conversation. I wonder how many times it would it take for a security analyst to hear me telling my dog, "good boy, good boy! Good boys get a treat!" for the NSA to determine I am not a security threat and stop listening?

I promise I will stop making note of this, but I am curious why I have to shut off my computer or phone or even my funky watch/step counter/heart rate monitor thingy? I don't have to do that with any of my other electrical items. My refrigerator does not have to be turned off for years, yet it seems to operate just fine. There is a list, but why do we have to shut down things, clean and re-calibrate, and upgrade the software to get rid of bugs? I think it has to do with complexity. The more complex things are, the more often and complete the process of operating seems to be. There is that little warning system that says "failure imminent" when the note for an upcoming upgrade is required, the battery life declines more rapidly and past applications do not work as well.

I think you can see where I am going with this. When do you shut down everything in your life? Truly shut down all inputs, outputs, and screens. When do you let the Holy Spirit install new applications and software? Do you ever intentionally let clean up occur, updating happens, and the entire “machine” known as your spirit gets rest? Few people that I know do that with completeness and intentionality. Instead….

The personal version of this “reboot” is a vacation. Spa is included. Time with significant other is included. Favorite restaurants, local or national sites, as well a vacation from your phone, iPad, computer, really any electrical device that distracts you. . These are great distractions, but they are not re-booting. Warning messages actually appear on your life saying, "unsuccessful update has occurred. Corrupted data possible.  Application not installed. You are fooling yourself if you really think that you have fixed your system." Ok. The last part I added. The point is that we often ignore or avoid the warnings that it’s time to reboot.

I was born an identical twin with a sister only 11 months younger, so for all intents and purposes, we were triplets. Until we went to high school, we were never really alone. It took me until I was out of high school until I was able to be in a room by myself and feel comfortable. I always felt odd. Something was off. I would go to the library, another room, and the kitchen, anywhere that there were other people. I did not know why until much later in life, but I figured it out. I did not know how to be alone never mind enjoy it. Then it took a couple of decades MORE to realize that I could be alone with God, (which technically is not alone, but with a telescopic photo lens, looks alone). It took so long. Learning to be comfortable with me first was tough. Then asking God to come back into a room that I had taken so long to push everyone else out of took some more time.

Jesus was a huge re-booter. Full on, no spa, no green smoothies, or natural soothing music. You could include cicadas and he was off the grid, I guess, for whatever passed for "the grid" 2,000 years ago. He spent 40 days in the desert fasting, praying and meditating alone before beginning his preaching. During his ministry, He prayed every day away from people. He would often go to separate places in the morning or night where he had been preaching to pray as a way to reconnect to the Father. He knew something. He knew that His human manifestation needed to re-boot. Complete, clean re-boot. I think that is a highly encouraging and credentialed idea for whether or not to re-boot.

I have and do work with CEOs of companies from $5M in revenues to over $2B in annual revenues. More of them re-boot than you might think, and they do it more often. They do not ask if it is Ok, if they should do it or if they are taking something away from family/company/responsibilities. They just know that they must do it. They know what its value is. I used to ask, "How was it?" or "What did you learn?" I got the predictable answers with some crushed diamonds of ideas mixed with the pablum. I have changed my questions. Not because of some Yoda wisdom, just because my heart wants to understand their hearts and what God is doing in their lives. I ask, "What did you hear God say to you in the quiet?" I ask, "Did God tell you anything you should be telling others?" I'm not going to pretend that I have equal interests in the answers. I'm really interested in the second question's answer the most


Leader's re-boot, writers and philosophers reboot, professors reboot (sabbatical) and then there is The Christ. I really think that this re-boot thing has something in it for you.

• What did you learn?

• What did you hear God say to you in the quiet?

• Did God tell you anything you should be telling others?

What does it take to reboot? Time, space, place, scripture to read, and a commitment to prayer. How much of each of these is not a fixed number. I know people who start with a half-day and monks who have lived their entire lives close to this level of commitment. I have been surprised by the number of people who I ask, “Do you ever take a personal retreat?” who answer yes. Ask them. The retreat clears your mind and spirit to listen to God. Slowing down, silencing the interruptions of the world, journaling and allowing God to speak to you is a reboot for your soul.

Start with those three questions. If you are a person who needs structure, I would advocate that you ask them after a retreat. Re-boot. It is probably a bad idea to tell God what His agenda should be for your re-boot time. There is something cleansing and spiritually filling in taking solitary time to be with God. I have not spoken with a single person who has taken an unplugged period of time for retreat who did not then plan for another. God loves to be with you and loves it when you make it the top priority to be with Him. Connecting with the creator of the universe undistracted for a longer period of time will never be a waste of your time.

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