• Ultimately, this issue found a solution. In the summer of 2012 we embarked on a seven-week sabbatical. It was a divine experience. And I can say that even after spending 8316 miles with my family in the mini-van.

I’m in a jungle. It’s nighttime. All around me beady eyeshine is reflecting in the darkness. What savage terrors lurk in the shadows? What vicious creatures are poised for attack? Wait! I’m not in a jungle. I’m in my bedroom. Am I dreaming? No, I’m wide awake. What’s going on here?

Let me begin by saying that my wife and I each have a desk in our bedroom. And those beady eyes reflecting in the darkness? Lights. Tiny lights. Clocks, phones, power strips, modems, computers and other electronica – each with their own miniature lights. Our bedroom is infested with dozens of gizmos. All constantly telling us “Here I am! I have power! I am ready to function! Use me!”

So my place of rest, my sanctuary against the demands of the world, my fortress where kids, outsiders and worries are not invited is infiltrated with blinking, charging, driver-hungry gadgets that were promised to make my life easier. Right…

I do the same thing with my schedule. How many moments can I fill with meetings? How many phone calls do I need to make? What items need to be marked off my list (or if a task is done that is not on my list, written down and immediately marked off)? Wait – is that the right list? Who has more than one list? I do!

But don’t worry. I have some free time each week. I’ll go outside and do some yardwork. Uh-oh, the lawnmower won’t start. I might as well get it ready for warm weather. I need a battery (#TY25881), an air filter (#GY20661), a spark plug (#M78543), and an oil filter (#AM125424). And I need to sharpen the blade. Looks like I need to borrow an impact wrench from my neighbor. And the throttle cable is hard to adjust. I better go get some cable lubricant. Should I get the aerosol or the liquid form? Honey, where are my car keys? Aaaaaargh!

I’ve brought this on myself. I’ve been unable to resist the tempting allure of technology, busyness and the accelerating complexity of my daily life. I seem to be defenseless against a life of relentless detail and jam-packed schedules. I am a man who can’t say no and I live among a people who can’t say no.

What am I going to do? How do I stop the avalanche of details that demand my attention? How do I slow things down? How do I simplify my life? This is probably one of those “where your treasure is there will your heart be also” moments. Old Paul told young Timothy about a “God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” There’s a perspective in that statement that resonates with me.

Maybe it’s time to unplug some gadgets and go ride bikes with my kids. Maybe it’s time to quietly observe some spring flowers instead of trying to “do it all.” Maybe it’s time to look at the stars, slowly drink my decaf, and turn on a symphony instead of the TV. Maybe I need to take a close, prayerful look at my lists, my schedule and my home and hold the unraveled detritus of my life before a God who promises to richly provide me with everything for my enjoyment. I live in a world where God desires to bring me joy. How much of what I pack into my life brings me that joy?

My life is inscrutable remote controls, dripping faucets and meetings six nights a week. But this is an opportunity. An opportunity to live into the eager expectation that God is out there waiting to give me the kind of joy that is free, low-maintenance, always ready and, believe it or not, even outshines all of those blinking little lights. Thank goodness.