Friday, July 30, 2010

I'm sensing a theme here

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.

After all, how can I be still and know that he is God, if I can't even get my mind to be still?


Stephanie said...

Oh, Lisa. Sometimes I think our minds are connected. I've been feeling so WEARY lately, and I know, somehow, it's connected to being connected all the time. I'm even struggling with headaches that I feel are probably connected to this stress. My iphone and my laptop actually pull at me. Even if I don't check them, a part of me is thinking about it. And I almost don't know how NOT to be connected all the time anymore. You know it's bad when you find yourself searching the internet about how to get away from the effects of too much technology. Now THAT'S irony. We need to get together and talk about this. Soon. In person.

Sheila said...

I'm catching up on your blog. I haven't been blogging or reading blogs because I've been too occupied with "real life" since starting my new job.

You ask "am I the only one....?"

and of course the answer is no. I've been doing Internet fasts for the past few years from time to time because I realized how much the screen and everything going on "behind" it was revving my brain up and leading to a deep sense of dis-ease. All the connection made me feel disconnected within myself.

And books are being written about this, from mental, emotional, and spiritual perspectives.

You are certainly not alone!

And I would love for you to join me for a retreat now and then where you can learn and practice ways to get your mind to be still.

It's well worth the investment. I promise.

Sheila said...

That cartoon is hilarious, by the way. (the follow me one)