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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Spiritual Outlook: Activate the master switch

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“In everything you do, put God first …” Proverbs 3:6

During a recent stay at a hotel, I entered the room and saw a master switch as soon as I entered. I paused and I remembered my first encounter with this similar switch several years ago.

My flight was delayed several times and I was beyond exhausted by the time I arrived at the hotel. As a frequent traveler, after the attendant greeted me, I said my name while simultaneously placing my ID and credit card on the counter. After she gave me the card key, she continued to talk … but I was so tired that all I heard was the same sound the adults make in the Charlie Brown episodes. “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.” I just nodded and smiled.

I entered the hotel room with my baggage and flipped switches, but nothing happened. I started to look and make sure everything was plugged in. I was beyond frustrated. There was a presentation that I was doing the next day and due to the flight delay, I had even less time to do final touches. I was past frustrated. After wasting too much time, I called the front desk and the conversation went like this:

Me: I think something is wrong. The lights aren’t working. I am turning on all the switches and nothing is happening. There’s no light.

Front Desk: Ms. Spencer, did you turn on the master switch?

Me: The master switch?

Front Desk: Yes, it is the first switch and it’s positioned right by the door as you enter. Once you turn on the master switch, the in-room lighting will be activated. The room’s lighting system is controlled by the master switch.

Me: I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe I walked right by it. (And I thought to myself, she probably explained this during the “wah, wah, wah, wah.”)

Front Desk: No worries, Ms. Spencer. (Smile.) You are not the first one to ask. Go back to the front door and turn on the master switch and the room lights will be activated immediately.

Guess what happened?

I turned on the switch and the room was flooded with light. I had turned on all the switches, but there was no connection until I turned on the master switch. That was the activation that I needed. Instead of dropping my baggage and turning on the master switch, I lugged my heavy baggage right by it.

I was so distracted, carrying my baggage in the room, that I walked right past the master switch. I immediately started turning on switches and trying to make stuff work. Time turning switches on and off, and nothing was happening.

When I went back to the front door, I saw the sign positioned right beside it. I turned on the master switch and the room immediately lit up. Sound familiar? I actually ended up sharing this experience during my presentation the next day. The timing was perfect.

Have you ever had days where you forgot to activate the master switch? We wake up and open the door to a new day and immediately receive and respond to calls, text messages, emails and family members. The day goes by in a blur; we are doing everything yet getting absolutely nothing accomplished.

When you finally have that moment and say to yourself, “I think something’s wrong,” and we receive the answer in a variety of ways, through a song, a statement or even in the stillness … Did you activate the master switch? Sometimes, it means stopping what we’re doing and starting our day over. We pause, go back and begin our day again … even if it is in the afternoon.

Take the time to pray, sip that cup of coffee, tea, meditate, take a short walk, deep breaths, silence your phone, read a short devotional, listen to that playlist and then our inner spirit lights up. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that we missed taking time out at the beginning of day and walk right past the master’s presence that can guide us on the way.

I’ve been thinking about this intentional time of beginning the day centering and connecting with God. It is fitting that the master switch reminder come to this season.

We have entered into the Lenten season. It’s a season of preparing for the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. It is a time of prayer, fasting and intentional practices that are done for the 40 days.

My intention during Lent will be to focus on spiritual practices that I want to keep as a part of my life beyond the 40 days.

In the past, this has been the season where I have focused on what to release and then I pick it back up when the Lenten season ends. It has been the season where I embraced practices then put them aside when the Lenten season ends.

But this season is different; I chose to let go of things that I don’t want to pick up again when the season ends. This season I want to embrace practices that I plan on continuing to practice.

This season the fast that I want to take will last beyond the Lent season and remain. This includes making sure I slow down and turn on the master switch before my day can begin.

Lights on,

Rev. Sheila P Spencer

Rev. Sheila P. Spencer is an author, poet, teacher and preacher. You can contact her at CustomMadeInspiration@gmail.com and her website is www.sheilapspencer.com.

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