I’m trying to get urgent work done. As I’m fighting the clock, I notice that my computer has become sluggish. How long has it been since I restarted my computer? I can’t even remember.

What I cannot physically see is the accumulation of multiplied thousands of bits and bytes that has been collecting and overloading the computer’s memory over a long period of time.

Restarting the computer is not convenient. At this point, it seem like it’s easier to just trudge through for now.

One of my apps crash. I attempt to quickly relaunch the app. Then the computer completely freezes. I don’t even know if my work is saved. I am forced to press the restart button and wait for a reboot.

The computer’s startup chime lets me know that the computer’s brain has been given a clean slate enabling it to run perfectly again. After resuming my work, it occurs to me that it had been almost two months since I last restarted. I had pushed my computer past the limits of its ability to handle all the clutter.

Life’s Clutter

Over time, robotic patterns and urgent requests of our time cause us to be blind to the fact that clutter even exists in our lives. Clutter will slow us down physically, mentally and spiritually. But just as the computer, you can perform your own reboot to live each day with optimal clarity. To me, clarity is when we can see the next step and hold the confidence to take it.

The way you can find clarity and peace of mind in your own life is to set aside specific pre-defined times where you shut out the world around you and make yourself wide open to God. This includes:

  • Daily Prayer.

If you already have a time set aside each day to pray, then you already know how it puts you in an entirely different frame of mind. When it’s become a habit you can literally feel the difference when you miss a single day.

  • Weekly Rest and Renewal.

This is what God created the Sabbath for. It’s important that we set aside at least one day of the week to just stop. Attending church is one of the best ways to renew your mind and spirit. If you don’t already attend a church, try it. It’s a place to refuel your tank before you’re running on fumes.

  • Monthly or Quarterly Reflection.

Every once in a while its good to go outside of our daily and weekly rituals. Schedule a time each month or season to “check out” of your routines and “check in” with where you are in your life. If you take a vacation that might be a good time to reflect on your purpose, your progress and what your next steps should be.

  • Full Reset.

One thing that I highly recommend for anyone who needs a full reset is is to leave your normal environment for at least a day. Go to a secluded place, possibly fast and just decide that you’re not leaving until you get clarity. You may have to coordinate it with your job or your family but it’s well worth it.

Recently, with the blessing of my wife and kids, I took a 3-day sabbatical at a condo in the foothills of Northern California. I left alone with nothing but clothes and my laptop for taking notes and reading the Bible. It was a time of reflection and revelation. This is the second time that I’ve done it, and I can tell you it is something that I will continue to do as long as I am able. I can’t describe to you what a life-changing event this can be when you push everything else aside, and give God an extended period of alone time with him. Both times I can point to specific life-altering direction that I would have never received in the day-to-day minutia of life. In fact, Keys to Thrive is a direct result.

Avoid the Crash

The daily grind, along with the little emergencies that always seem to pop up will inevitably create clutter in your life. And just like the computer, it will slow you down and cause you to lose track of where you are. Eventually you will crash. Turning everything off and getting alone with God at pre-defined times, will give you a clear mind and a renewed spirit. It will literally make you a different person.

Question: Do you have specific times that you set aside for renewal? If so, I would love for you to comment about how it has impacted you.