Having worked with computers for more than three decades, I’m quite familiar with the joke about a support desk telling users to reboot their computer as the first step for almost any problem. In reality, though, that is sometimes the solution. In fact, I ran into a problem the other day where that was exactly what my computer needed. I had to reluctantly admit that rebooting the computer worked better than the other solutions I had tried.
On the other hand, there are those who don’t believe in ever restarting their computer (or smartphone, tablet, router, or other devices). These people may put their computer to sleep (or “hibernate”) mode overnight, or just leave their devices perpetually plugged in or charged.
When their computers start to exhibit symptoms of running for too long without a restart, though, this gives me a chance to take occasionally take a friendly jab at them. There are a few systems that are so fragile that they might not boot back up if shut down, but other than that, most systems need the occasional fresh start. Even corporate servers typically go through patching cycles and periodic maintenance. Without doing so, rogue processes and memory leaks accumulate, and junk accumulates that impedes full use of the device. In addition, updates and improvements (not that every patch is an improvement!) often can’t be installed without giving the operating system a chance to access files without competition with other programs.
In the same way, I believe that we need to periodically clean up junk in our lives. We might need to stop “memory leaks” that take up valuable time, getting rid of activities in our schedule that no longer benefit us or others. Like rogue software processes, we might need to purge some bad habits, or daily routines that are dragging us down.
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NLT
See also Philippians 3:13-14.
Taking the time to find these drains on our schedule, though, and taking action to actually get rid of what we don’t need, can be hard to do. It typically takes some conscious effort to take an inventory, and then to get rid of what hinders us. Removing extra weight from our lives may be uncomfortable, and some people might not understand why we are doing so. Still, if our ultimate goal is more than just getting through life, we should show that we are serious about accomplishing more than just treading water.
I appreciate the challenge that it can be to pause from the daily chaos, especially to do so for long enough to evaluate our current obligations. It’s difficult to change the oil in your car while driving down the road. However, just as with the car, sometimes we need to “pull over” in life, and tune up what we can.
Like a computer reboot, though, followers of Jesus have something even better waiting for them when they pause to re-align with His direction. Jesus’ goal for us isn’t just a clean-up of what we are – it’s an entirely new “operating system” (or at least, a new system of operation) for our life.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
So, if your life has started to get cluttered up with things that don’t really get you where you want to be, or you are feeling like you’re not following Jesus with as much effort as you could, take some time for a reboot. Pause to set aside the chaos of life, evaluate each activity, responsibility, and habit in your life, and see what can be set aside for you to get back into the race, ready to run for Jesus at full speed!