I’ve wondered about so many who seem surgically attached to their electronic devices. I’ve got a theory, and it goes back to how I use my computer and social networking sites. These things are addictive! If you’re feeling lonely, just tweet or text or check your Facebook account. If you’re feeling a little aimless, do the same and see what you can stir up or is getting stirred up by someone else. Instead of relying on our ability to stimulate ourselves, we’re constantly looking to the laptop, cell phone, or handheld device to entertain us or motivate us or at least keep us busy doing something instead of nothing.
But here’s something else I’ve noted. Such extreme dependence on being plugged in, instead of being a great way to build your friendships, is actually a negative. Note the word “extreme” in my previous sentence; there is a healthy way to use this stuff. I am not anti-Facebook or anti-Twitter or anti-cell phone.
I have seen unhealthy dependence in my own life. Because of this I’ve made choices not to look at social media for a time because I was trying to get something from those connections that needed to come from my relationship with God or my face-to-face relationship with other human beings. Or I was using social media as a way to avoid some constructive endeavor, a project that would be healthy for me and fruitful for others. Even now I got stuck for a minute about what to say next and my mind instantly thought, “Hey, you should check your email.” Nothing wrong with that, but I think use of these communication tools has to be reined in a bit. I don’t have to give in to every impulse to post a new status update or check out what’s happening on Yahoo.
I think about the Apostle Paul’s statement, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27, NIV).
Am I slave to my impulses? Have I got the ability to gut-check each thought and determine if looking at LinkedIn is a good decision right now or do I just need to keep rolling with this blog? I know God has given these things for our enjoyment but I shouldn’t be mastered by them either.
“From now on those who…buy something, [should use it] as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)
So, happy Facebooking, Tweeting, posting, chatting, texting and everything else this fall. May these tools be your servants for good rather than masters that distract you from God’s best.