I’m not some anti technology nut who believes everyone should cancel Netflix, delete Facebook and throw away their phones. Now that I’ve said that, lately those seem like better and better ideas.
Recently at a camp fire with my students, I took a picture as things were starting off, and most everyone was on their cell phones. One parent commented that the zombie apocalypse was here! It does at times seem as if technology is taking over our lives.
I remember when I was a kid in school, the teacher would be taking roll and each student, as their name was called, would respond with the standard, “here.” Yet is seemed there was always that one person who couldn’t help themselves. They just had to call out, “present” with a smug smile.
Today it occurs to me that there is a very real difference between being “here” and being “present”. Anyone can be “here”, it simply requires the physical act of being in the room. However, being “present” is not only physical, but mental as well. To be fully present is to have your mind completely focused on where you are at the moment.
Plenty of teens come to student ministries all over the nation and while they are there physically, they are not fully present mentally. People of all ages seem to have developed this compulsion to look at our phones. It becomes addictive and prevents us from giving our undivided attention to the people we are actually with.
Someone once said, “Wherever you find yourself, be there.” It’s so easy to be in a hundred different places at once that we fail to give our full attention to our friends, teachers, pastors, family, employers and even God.
The other aspect of technology that drives me crazy is that we are constantly connected through social media to hundreds of people who at any moment can disrupt our lives with a message, like or comment. People today assume you’re on your phone, or have it close by and often expect an immediate response. This particularly bothers me because I don’t believe God intended us to be in constant connection with so many people. I believe the only constant connection He intended, is for us to be in constant connection to Him.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Never stop praying indicates that we should always be connected to God. I can think of many times at the end of the day when I feel my connection to God is disrupted and it’s like I have to try and reconnect.
This scripture also tells us to be joyful and thankful in all circumstances.In a world of constant distraction and disruption it’s so easy to lose our joy and it can be difficult to find a thankful attitude.
Lately it seems to me that turning off the tv, disconnecting from our phones and simplifying how we spend our time is the healthiest thing we can do. Our greatest, most fulfilled moments won’t stem from a funny video someone shared on Facebook. It will come from the quiet of God’s presence and the fullness of His word come alive.
This is the power of being present. Be fully present by giving God your full attention. He is wanting to speak to you and it is by focusing all of our attention toward God that we position ourselves to hear His voice.
Take a moment today to disconnect from the world and connect to God.