Later this fall, I’ll be speaking at Harding University’s Fall Lectureship on the topic, “The text or texting?” The idea is that I’ll look at online Bible study tools and such. However, since the nature of the internet has changed drastically in the last couple of years, I plan to take a slightly different spin with things. I want to look at the social, community-based nature of today’s internet. I just don’t feel that it would be honest or responsible to not address that.
After all, isn’t community part of what we’re called to in Christ? Community with the Eternal. Community with one another. Maybe even with ourselves, if you want to phrase it that way. After all, how can we address and move past our sin if we are not are not honest about who we are and what we’re doing? That’s internal conversation.
Don’t get me wrong. I love how easy it is to stay in touch with people. I had a good friend in college who just disappeared. No one knew where he was, and there were times I thought he might’ve died. Guess what? I found him on Facebook and have been able to not only reconnect online, but have been able to visit with him in person, introduce my kids to him, and pray him through some difficult times.
I love how easy it is to see the pictures of my friends and their children, and how affordable it is to communicate with people these days. I love the worldwide prayer that has gone up for sick children, cancer-ridden mothers, and marriages in need. Remember when long distance phone calls cost an arm and a leg and if you were lucky you could talk to your sister in Italy a couple of times a year? I don’t want to go back there.
But you know what? I’m tired. More than any other time in my life, I feel the need for deep connection with other people. I want to have a sleepover with a bunch of girlfriends and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. More than one line about what I saw in Walmart. More than a pithy little statement that someone can “like.” It seems that much of our online communication is one person talking at others, not people talking with one another.
And there’s more than that: because we can communicate all the time, we’re expected to communicate all the time. I’ve had a bad week. A really, really bad week. Details aren’t necessary, but just accept that by the time Thursday morning rolled around, I was exhausted in every way possible: physically, spiritually, emotionally exhausted. But you know what the first thing I did when I woke up on Thursday was? Well, I grabbed my iPhone to see what time it was (it’s the only clock in the room) and immediately went to the email app to see if I had any work email that I would need to address when I got to the office later that morning.
Something is wrong with that picture. Very, very wrong.
Am I the only one who feels like my speed of thought has increased with the speed of communication? Maybe it’s stage of life, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to quiet myself and not have thoughts racing through my brain. Harder to not feel like I should be doing something. I’ve always been an overachiever-type and I’ve never been one to sit idly without reading or thinking or writing, and yet there’s something different about this.
I’m determined that this year I’m going to s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n. I will not live in fast forward. I will not forsake calm, meditative time. I will “seek peace and pursue it.” I will learn to take care of my mind, spirit, body, and soul.