A few weeks ago, I weaved my way through a busy crowd during the lunch-hour rush at my local Panera. I was meeting a friend I hadn't had much time to connect with to catch up and say goodbye before she moved out of state to pursue a new job opportunity.
I spotted her across the room, gave a short wave and went to get us a table while she ordered for both of us. We only had one hour, which is never enough time when two friends have to give each other a rundown of the last few months.
We settled in quickly and began to talk fast. She went first, I followed and then we both took a quick breath and started shoving food in our mouths. About halfway through our lunch both of our phones started beeping and buzzing.
As she answered a text from her boss I quickly tapped out a reply to a colleague about a conference I would be teaching at an upcoming workshop. At the same time, we both looked up and realized what we were doing. It was our last hour to catch up in person before she boarded a plane with a one-way ticket. Yet, here we were connecting with others through technology instead of talking to the person on the other side of the table.
We muttered apologies, quickly finished lunch and then said goodbye. As I drove home I had a sick feeling in my gut. Technology was taking over my life. While I was instantly accessible to everyone, I found myself truly connecting with no one.
So I set some new ground rules. I began a weeks long fast from the worlds of Twitter and Facebook. On Fridays I made sure my inbox was empty and then I didn't check my email again until Monday. There were even weekends or evenings when I turned my Blackberry off so that my focus could be completely on where I was and who I was with.
Since I made these changes on my own, and others didn't share my same conviction, I had to deal with a flooded inbox on some Monday mornings and irritated friends who couldn't always get in touch with me when they wanted to. But I found that even with these minor frustrations I was more at peace after two days of rest and firmer technology boundaries.
If the technology I have readily at my finger tips had existed in Jesus' day, I don't know whether or not He would have used it. His life shows He did make time for the crowds on certain occasions. And isn't that what social media is?
But there's also something else I notice about Him. In certain occasions He got away with only His twelve apostles. Then, at other times He managed to make time just for Peter, James and John -- His closest three companions.
Most importantly, the Bible mentions Jesus made a habit of departing to the mountains alone to pray and spend time with God.
Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and even He didn't make Himself readily accessible to the masses at all times. He made time to be intentional with the people closest to Him. And He made it a priority to spend uninterrupted alone time with God.
That ministers to me. It also shows me that while my Blackberry has a place in my life, it should never consume my life. In order to be healthy and balanced there must be times when I simply decide to unplug.
When's the last time you decided to do that?
Mark 1:35: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."
Matthew 17:1: "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves."
Shannon Primicerio is an introvert who likes people but loves solitude. Since learning to turn her Blackberry off she has spent her weekends enjoying local hikes, several good books and meaningful conversations with the people she loves. Visit her at www.beingagirlbooks.com/blog
© 2010 by Shannon Primicerio. All rights reserved.