Jane M. Phinney | July 22, 2019
You look with your eyes
But you aren’t really there
Your heart isn’t listening
You give only a stare!
Your mind is elsewhere
Feigning connection with me
Busy sorting your business
Pretending to see
This moment is wasted
The time is dead air
My soul is desperate
But you don’t really care
What would it take,
to see with your heart?
Am I worth a stop?
Or do you just run on start?
Help me, Lord!
What should I do?
My lonely soul
Is seen only by You.
Copyright 2019 | Exchanged Life Publishing
About 15 years ago, we were having Saturday morning breakfast at one of our favorite places on Cave Creek Road in Phoenix. It was one of those family owned & operated “hole-in-the-wall” places. These folks were partial to the Cleveland Browns & they let you know about it. 😊 While sipping coffee & waiting for our order, we commented on a family of four sitting a few tables away from us. I believe I said something like, “Will you look at that? I don’t believe it!” Dad, Mom, daughter & son were each on a different electronic device, zoned out & lost in their own world.
I’m part of the last generation to grow up without the presence of a computer in the home. We were required to research books to write papers, we used manual typewriters, & we checked math without calculators. We had a lot of practical training in eye/hand coordination & we had to use some serious deductive reasoning to prove valid conclusions. We purchased our first home computer right around the time our oldest daughter started high school. I had some reservations. I was assured that it would free up our time. I replied, “Yeah, right…free us up so we can add more stuff & become busier.” (In retrospect, that was the truth!)
Since those days, we’ve come a long way… to nowhere. I can appreciate the use of technology. It’s has its place. But the problem for most families is-- technology is in first place. It’s convenient, too much so for a lot of us. We don’t have to think as much. Or involve our 5 senses in the quest for learning. In our life experience, we are becoming more & more desensitized & dumbed down. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate a quick text instead of calling when I’m out. I like mass texting prayer requests. I still like to research. And technology is at the heart of our ministry reaching people globally. But my growing concern is the numbing effect that technology has on our thinking & responses in relationships. My grandchildren already have had a completely different life experience, resulting in a new attitude toward waiting for anything, because technology implies that everything should be f-a-s-t, q-u-i-c-k, & e-a-s-y. And they don’t even have phones yet. Without trying, their minds have been bombarded by default, with more life information in the elementary years, that I dealt with in high school.
Clearly the greatest negative, in my mind, is the change in attitude spiritually. Forget a Bible you can hold, feel & underline. Just bring it up on your phone or tablet. You don’t need to study the Bible or learn where things are. Just ask Google. The problem is, God isn’t a f-a-s-t, q-u-i-c-k & e-a-s-y study. He hasn’t changed over time. He’s still after real relationship, one that is intimate & transforming, rooted in a loving commitment. Spiritually, I think it’s safe to say that for the most part, technology lies about relationships with people & with God. And as a result, loneliness, isolation & anxiety are becoming poor substitutes for face-to-face interaction.
Technology is lying to you if you believe…
… that more is always better… that reflective quiet no longer has value… that you no longer need people…that your worth is equal to the number of devices you have…that technology is your priority…that you’d be lost without it…that books & writing have no intrinsic value…that a slow fade away from reality won’t happen to you…that media relationships are more real, & valuable, than human touch…that you will experience more freedom…that time on devices supersedes time with people…that responses should be immediate instead of waiting for direction…that drivenness equals success…that addiction to “blue light” is normal & fulfilling…that the world system is King, over Christ. Not many folks would honestly admit to that last statement.
Technology makes things appear “easy” that, in truth, are far more complicated & time-invested ventures. It has been evolving over time & we’ve become bound to it, liking the conveniences but not considering the detailed history we don’t understand. The power of overwhelming, accessible knowledge can desensitize us to the point of being unfeeling in relational interactions. It’s like we’re numb inside & unaffected by things that used to stop us, dead in our tracks…both positive things & negative things. Then we respond without thinking or, we don’t respond at all. At some point in the processing, active absorption feels like it hits a wall because of overload. I know that feeling. And I despise it! I’m constantly asking the Lord to protect my mind, to keep me experiencing His reality as opposed to rapid fire, fleeting images on a screen. I’m not even talking social media because I’m not on it. I’m not talking ungodly information or pictures. I’m simply referencing what happens to the mind when you’re on devices too long. We isolate ourselves by choice.
I often think of Psalm 101 when it comes to what I choose to put in my mind. “I will walk within my house in the integrity (blamelessness) of my heart. I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away (apostasy); it shall not fasten its grip on me.” God & people should trump devices every time. We’re not only guarding our own minds but we’re protecting the hearts of generations to come when we make them a priority. God loves & values people. Releasing our grip on technology is the first step in reminding us that we should too.