Unrealized until now. Indispensable from now on. A chip with 64-bit architecture. A fingerprint identity sensor. A better, faster camera… All of these features in a smartphone make it an iPhone that’s definitely ahead of its time… (from an iPhone 5s promotional ad)
I am literally amazed at what we can do with technology! It’s great to be so connected and to get information that at one point was incredibly difficult to access – information that we can literally have in the palms of our hands within seconds.
Generally, I see nothing inherently wrong with technology that is faster, sleeker, and offers us “cooler” devices. I am not a 19th century Luddite!
That being said, technology regularly exposes the brokenness, shallowness, and emptiness of my heart.
It’s a rare moment for us to not in some way be attached to our devices and feel the incessant urge to post / tweet / message anyone and everyone about the incredible latte we just drank, the profound insight we just had, or the amazing sunset that we just couldn’t keep to ourselves. Again… some of these experiences can be great to share, but often this urge to be noticed can derail us from the actual moment we’re supposed to be living!
The craziness of our super-connected world exposes three areas of weakness in my life:
How many followers, likes, shares, re-tweets, tags, on and on, can I rack up? Again, I’m ALL for sharing cool stuff. But I’m looking at MY heart and asking, “Will the fact that my fifth grade friend Ricky ‘likes’ (or in most cases doesn’t even notice) a picture I posted really bring me the affirmation (or lack thereof) that I can only get from knowing I’m a child of God?”
#2 Greener Grass
Is God’s calling on my life affected one bit by whether or not I have a “bigger” or more impressive platform/position/place?
In his incredibly helpful book, Sensing Jesus, Zach Eswine puts it well:
When one is not concerned with being somewhere else, he/she tends to notice where he is. Social media allows us the illusion of being somewhere other than where we are… The danger here is that it allows us to give our gifts without giving ourselves. I must inhabit WHERE I AM… One would like to astound the world, to save the world but one can do neither. We are summoned to deeds that are of moment only to our village. Difference making takes place in a garden. Shade giving will require that I learn about roots. Root growing will require me to touch my desk… Standing long in one place allows the roots to deepen. The shade grows and gives life.
Study after study tells us that our devices distract us while we’re driving, while we’re parenting, while we’re doing just about anything and everything. If you are prone to distraction, as I am, then we need to realize that technological devices may be our worst enemies.
So… what do we do? It’s simple:
Put the phone down.
Not all the time. Maybe start with an hour. Then maybe a day. You get the point.
Pausing and resting regularly from the hyper-connected and hyper-informed world in which we live reminds us that only God can give us the affirmation, the validation, and the sense of presence that we desire.
The world will continue on when you unplug. You may not capture every picture, but I’m guessing you will be radically PRESENT and “in the moment” in ways you (and I) have not! Your spouse will thank you. Your kids will notice. And your fifth grade friend Ricky may not see all the pics from your most recent vacation to Gatlinburg, but that’s okay.
Our best lesson may come from the story of Martha and Mary:
… Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’ (Luke 10:40-42).
Martha chose to be distracted; Mary did not.
May we be like Mary, choosing NOT to be distracted, and choosing instead to put down our phones to disconnect from technology in order to be present in the God-given moments before us.