Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Obsession is Growing

Our obsession with screens and all-things-social-media is growing, seeping into more of our hours, leeching away our already limited energy and focus.  Non-stop 24/7 access via smartphones, e-readers, and tablets has joined our laptops in giving us more ease of access to Facebook.  Online dating sites.  Pinterest.  Twitter.  Blogs covering every conceivable subject.  Movies and music and shopping and games ... and anything else that could possibly grab our attention.

We endlessly surf from site to site.  We text relentlessly.  And our email inboxes are crammed to the gills with unrequested forwards and messages from people, organizations, and businesses that we wish would just go away.

Out of control use breeds a sense of unsettledness in our spirits.  And our bodies respond with the red flags of restlessness, sleeplessness, or anxiety.

I'll be the first to admit that this is an area of my life that I have to work very hard at keeping in line. 

When I penned We Are So Out of Control last July, I offered 6 possible solutions to our growing dependency on our screens.  But, truth be told, this is a challenge that is only spinning further out of kilter.
3 insights that just might kick in some self-reflection:

1. Head on over to Relevant Magazine where a future divinity student who works at a tech startup muses, "What matters is the notion that we place portions of our identity in the electronics we own and then compare ourselves to others on this basis.  It can be subconscious and the results are insidious.  Sounding alarmist on this point seems like a Christian cliche but the slow transfer of identity in Christ to an identity in electronic stuff is dehumanizing and detrimental to our walk with God ..." {read on}

2. At Jill Briscoe's website, one woman writes, "The trouble with Facebook is that people’s lives often can come across as 'perfect.  There’s the business contact that jets off to New York to meet with powerful media, the stay-at-home mom who spends hours in creative play with her children, the family that heads to Disney every spring break, and the couple packing for a cruise ..." {read more}

3. And on one of my favorite blogs, writer Lisa Whittle hits home when she challenges, "Do we want God enough to shut our Facebook, Twitter, [insert other social media venues] account down if it creates drama in our life that distracts us from Him? ... We have to stop pretending: that what we say we can monitor and manage isn’t actually managing us — that what we feed is not actually the thing that crushes our spirits, minds, souls.  We have to stop compromising, reasoning, wishing that things were different ..." {continue reading}

On a recent plane trip, my husband I and hauled dozens of pounds of extra gear, including a laptop, piles of books, magazines, and newspapers.  And I began to seriously consider consolidating it all into an e-reader or a tablet.

I love the idea of having everything I need to read/write/study in one lightweight, easy-to-drop-in-my-bag gadget.  But I'm concerned that I could get hooked more than ever.

My desire is to live in a place of integrity, strength, and peace.  So when it comes to my own online activity, I am striving to:

1. Connect with God before I even leave my room in the morning.  Prayer, journaling, reading His Word and devotional books has got to be top priority for me.  It was getting way too easy to head downstairs to the computer/microwave/washing machine before meeting with the source of my strength, the Lover of my soul.

2. Tighten up my online life.  If I'm home, I'm online in the morning.  And then I close down the computer.  I open it up late afternoon before dinner.  And then with the exception of an occasional evening here and there, I try not to be online in the evening when my husband is home.  I really want to be fully present to him and enjoy his companionship. 

3. If a phone call comes in, I step away from the screen, and focus on my conversation instead of trying to do two things at once.  It's disrespectful to the person on the other end of the line who can't see that I'm thinking about something other than what they're saying.

Don't get me wrong!  I'm having great fun checking out what friends and clients are using.  And yes, I'm still contemplating an e-reader or a tablet to take with me when I travel.  It's looking better and better.

I just know, that like everything else in life, Jesus must have mastery over me.  And I must have mastery over the things that He allows me to have.  I want Him, not any of my possessions, to call the shots in my life.  I want to save my best energy for the real flesh and blood relationships with family, friends, and clients.  And expand my borders beyond the keyboard that has absorbed so much of my attention.

Linda

- apps by iVinay -

6 comments:

  1. So true!! We are trying to limit our screen time at my house and try not to let our daughter have any since we are going to send her to a Waldorf School. The school has definitely opened our eyes to all these issues.

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  2. We've just got to get ahold of this ... it's up to us to model for the next generation what it looks like to have some healthy boundaries and decent margins in every area of our lives!

    Thanks for dropping by, Carrie ...

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  3. Great post! I especially liked the last paragraph!
    This is definitely something I struggle with; thanks for sharing the things you do to not let social-media control your life.

    P.S. I found you over at the Women Living Well Link Up

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  4. Looks like there's many of us in the same boat! And there is hope as we sit back and figure out what we want our lives to look like ... and then what we're going to do about it.

    Thanks for dropping by, Sarah ...

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  5. Good thoughts indeed. I have challenged myself at times when I'm on the computer....to shut it off at a certain time. Or if I turn computer back on to do one task then shut it off, after I've been on computer for a good amount of time. Yes I need to spend more time doing things like reading and knitting and sewing and cooking. I found you on a link up from Organized Junkie.

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  6. Yes, Becky! Sometimes we just have to choose to close the whole thing down and get on with life!

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a few thoughts!

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I'm choosing to pretty much unplug for a few weeks, but yes, I'll still be popping in here and there to respond to your kind words!

I'd love to know you dropped by ...

Linda

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