Forced Shut Down

by Elizabeth

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I don’t shut down my computer on a daily basis. It takes so long for my computer to shut down and later restart that it saves me time not to do it. At least, I think it saves time.

But then my computer starts running hot and slow and loud. Sometimes a little warning box even pops up, telling me it needs to shut down in order to install updates. It needs a reboot so it can download newer, fresher versions of my programs.

Most of the time I ignore the slowly loading programs and pages, the constantly whirring fan, and the overheating machine resting on my toasty, tropical lap. And I click a button and override that pesky little warning box.

Eventually though, my computer forces a shut down. And since I usually haven’t been shutting it down on a regular basis, it can take up to 30 minutes or more to close down, install updates, and restart.

I usually roll my eyes in annoyance when this happens, because I can’t get things done with those 30 minutes! I am instead forced to wait. But after all that waiting, the computer runs cooler and faster and quieter.

I treat myself just like I treat my computer. I don’t shut down on a daily basis. I run my life hot and loud and rushed, and I tell myself it saves time. It’s efficient. It gets things done.

But I’m wrong, and just like my computer, I sometimes need a forced shut down. And this past week, through quite an unexpected channel, I received just that: my husband left town and headed to the mountains of Europe for a work conference.

I dread my husband going out of town like I dread those recurring computer shut downs. But this time, his trip forced a shut down in me — a shut down I desperately needed.

I couldn’t leave the house to work or do ministry. By myself, I couldn’t even do as much at home. So I didn’t try to. I slowed down. I scaled back. We did our basic lessons. Then we played. We read. We laughed. We met with friends.

I rested. I did less. I started gently re-evaluating my plans and priorities. And the week reset me. I’m running better now. Less panic and more patience. Less self-condemnation and more calm. Less internal swelter and more farsightedness.

I probably still need some more reboots. But I’m running quieter and more efficiently. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I needed a forced shut down, and thank God, He sent me one.