I admit I’m no technology geek. Actually, I’m more backwards at going forwards, but fortunately I have a techie husband who patiently imparts what he can. He gets excited about how technology works and how to manipulate it. I, on the other hand, am what he calls “a user” – I only appreciate what it can do for me.
A few years ago when he offered to pass on his old smart phone to me, I resisted. I was quite happy just making calls and sending messages. Eventually I relented and now, I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m rather hooked. I could sound super-spiritual and say I use it just to aid my Christian walk, but that would be fibbing. It’s become a part of my everyday in so many ways.
I use it to stay connected
If I’m out and need to see who’s replied to an urgent e-mail I sent, I can check and respond. If I’m at the pharmacy waiting for medication, I’ll quickly scan Facebook to see what they’re talking about on the writers’ page I follow. And if I spot a beautiful scene somewhere, I’m able to take a photo and instantly share it with loved ones far away.
If I’m in Tesco, contemplating the fresh rhubarb, I’ll check out the Hairy Bikers’ rhubarb and custard tart recipe online to see what ingredients I need. If I want a friend elsewhere in the world to appreciate my latest concoction, I’ll send her a quick WhatsApp message and pic and we can ‘chat’ while it’s bubbling on the stove.
At night in front of the television I might read the latest news, investigate tomorrow’s weather (I use that ALL the time!), look into a book I’m considering buying online, or type up an idea for a future blog post.
I’ve also used the microphone to record an interview, and recently my tech-savvy sister-in-law used an app to scan and e-mail to me some signed documentation. She wasn’t anywhere near a scanner or computer!
It has a higher purpose too
I enjoy using my phone for its spiritual advantages too. I can download a podcast of a sermon (or ‘preach’ as its called now – when did a verb become a noun?) and listen to it through my headphones while I’m vacuuming. If I’m taking a walk, I’ll sing along to my worship music playlist.
On a long drive, I’m able to play UCB (the digital Christian radio station) through the car’s sound system off an app on my phone. Or I might be at Lifegroup when God reminds me of a Bible verse and I fire up the YouVersion app to locate and reference it.
But I must be the one in control
There’s a darker side to all this immediacy, though. I dislike the way my phone tries to call to me first thing in the morning when my waking thoughts should be of God. When I long to sit in his presence, listen to him and soak up his Word, I find myself being nagged to check my mails, type a to-do list or set a reminder. And as I hear that soft ping telling me a new e-mail has arrived, it’s all I can do to stop myself going to look! (I guess I should turn that function off.)
It can be a battle – one that many of us share I think, and sometimes we may need to take authority over it. Let’s use technology for its benefits, and not be used by it.
Do you use technology to your advantage, or do you sometimes battle its grip?