The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
My phone beeped alerting me of a text from Hannah, my daughter, a college freshman at James Madison University.
Her school choice is less than two hours away to the north, so she sees a bit more snow than we do “back home.” That said, based on the attached personal weather video filmed from her dorm window, I was surprised the university cancelled classes.
“What will you do with this gift you’ve been given? Use it wisely.” I replied.
Within seconds, she sent me her short list of possibilities that included time spent hanging out with friends and knocking out a little schoolwork.
“Good deal. Have fun!”
Her final reply for the morning included a smiley emoticon. “Thanks love you!”
Technology allows me to communicate much more frequently with my daughter than my mom did with me when I went away to college. I love hearing from Hannah when she’s excited about something and appreciate being able to connect with her when she needs a listening ear.
But technology can also be a trap, at times creeping into an already full schedule, distracting us from the work at hand (whether that’s school work, service work, or laundry). I reminded Hannah to use her time wisely because I know all too well how easily time can be wasted away surfing the Internet or scrolling through social media feeds.
As an adult with ADHD, technology is often a huge distraction for me. I constantly struggle to keep a healthy balance of using technology without being completely sucked into it. Too often I’ve looked up from my computer screen to notice just how much time has gotten away from me as I’ve clicked on tweets, notifications, or links to random articles of trivia.
Based on my research, I know I’m not alone, and it’s not just a US problem. A quick Google search of the phrase “technology addiction” returned nearly fourteen million results spanning the continents in less than half a second.
I need the words of the psalmist and the prompting of the Holy Spirit to arrest me. I need to be reminded that seconds turn into minutes and minutes into hours and that the life of a disciple is spent intentionally rather than wasted. Behavior modifications like setting timers helps, but lasting transformation happens when my heart changes first.
The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you sometimes struggle with technology distraction? How might your use of time change if you looked at time from the end of your life perspective? Where do you need wisdom?
PRAYER: Dear God, you are Creator and Giver of all time. You know all my days. Open my eyes to see any ways I’ve allowed technology to become a distraction. Show them to me plainly. Then, O Lord, give me wisdom and grace to walk with purpose for the time that I have left on this earth. For your name’s sake and for your glory. Amen.
Technology at Work
Will there be technology in heaven, or is technology simply for our use while we’re here on earth? What technology will we take to heaven? And what is technology, anyway? God placed humanity on the earth and gave us instructions to take care of it. Does that mean God had technology in mind right from the beginning? We are quick to judge technology and find it wanting, but what if technology can help us as we partner with God as co-creators and restorers on the earth? How would we steward technology differently if we thought it might actually have an impact on the kingdom of God?