Sunday, August 8, 2010


By Anita Lustrea

It’s amazing how a little shift in routine can change your routine for good. My husband and I were invited to go sailing on Lake Michigan after work one day. Instead of driving in to Chicago that morning, I took the train—my first professional commute.

I began to get excited about all of the things I could do on the train, all of the things commuting friends tell me they do with their extra time. I brought stationery to hand-write some notes to friends (yes, hand-write, not email); I brought books to read and my iPod. Honestly, it looked like I was prepping for a cross country flight, not a 40 minute train ride.

My husband Mike dropped me at the train station a little early. Always efficient with my time, I got to work right away.

First, a quick call to my producer at Midday Connection to tell her I was taking the train and would be a little later than usual. Then I’d check email and respond to anything urgent. Then I’d search my contacts to make sure I had the mailing addresses I would need for the notes I was going to write. I dug in my bag.

Cell phone, where’s my cell phone…..I never forget my cell phone…..I’ve never lost my cell phone! The thoughts were flying through my mind. Oh, I’ll just call Mike and ask him to check around the house. I think I left it on the arm of the chair…Oh, I can’t call Mike, I don’t have my phone.

The reality of being disconnected created a momentary panic, leaving me feeling vulnerable.

I looked around trying to decide if I was bold enough to ask someone in the train station if I could use their phone to call my husband and tell him to bring my phone to our sailing trip. The woman on the bench next to me was furiously working on email on her smart phone. I become fidgety and my eyes became glued to her phone. Then it hit me. You are an addict! You are addicted to this little piece of technology. So, what are you going to do about it?

I took a deep breath and started to feel a great release. Sure I couldn’t call or email anyone, but no one could reach me either. I could read a book in peace and write my notes without the little chime that sounds every time an email or text comes in distracting me. I began to feel free!

When my husband and I met up later in the day, I didn’t even ask for my phone. My unintentional cell phone fast was only for one day, but in the midst of the panic and the freedom I decided to institute a one day a week fast from my cell phone. With less than a month of summer left, I decided to start enjoying more of it!

Anita Lustrea is co-host of the award-winning Midday Connection radio broadcast and author of the upcoming book “What Women Tell Me: Finding freedom from the secrets we keep”. You can learn more about Anita, Midday Connection and her book at


  1. Good post, Anita. I identify. I work from home a lot, my so phone is lying around. When I leave to go somewhere, I sometimes (too often) forget it. I keep surviving. Harder for me is my laptop--I much prefer to work on it to my phone. So the Lord and I agreed--computer time comes after quiet time, and not on Sunday until evening. Has not been easy, but undoubtedly is helping me give priority to the Lord.

  2. To be "unplugged" takes bravery. As a leader, being unplugged can seem impetuous. Distractions are not new, the the form of distraction continually changes. I will encourage those contemplating a moment of media disconnect with wise words of a pioneer influencer of a leader of intentional focus.

    "By attentive living we can learn the difference between being present in loneliness an being present in solitude. When you are alone in an office, a house or an empty waiting room, you can suffer from restless loneliness but also enjoy a quiet solitude. When you are teaching in a classroom, listening to a lecture, watching a movie or chatting at a 'happy hour,' you can have the unhappy feeling of loneliness but also the deep contentment of someone who speaks, listens and watches from the tranquil center of his solitude. It is not too difficult to distinguish between the restless and the restful, between the driven and the free, between the lonely and the solitary in our surroundings. When we live with a solitude of heart, we can listen with attention to the words and the worlds of others, but when we are driven by loneliness, we tend to select just those remarks and events that bring immediate satisfaction to our own craving needs." (Nowen, 1975, p. 38)


    Nowen, Henri J. (1975). Reaching Out:The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life. New York, NY: Doubleday.

  3. WOW! what a reality check! This has inspired me to fast from my cell phone!