Technology – be still and know that I am God

Posted on November 13, 2012 by

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The first section of Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Great leaders spend quality time in quiet reflection. Are you able to be still?  With all the responsibilities and commitments associated with family, work, and life in general, uninterrupted times of reflection can feel like a luxury. When we do take time to reflect and be still, the result is typically a thought, an answer, or a perspective that we had not previously considered.  It is where we are reminded of the truth of who we are, who we are not, and who God is.

In today’s noisy culture there is no end of voices and things that will compete for our attention.  We are bombarded by distractions of all types, and today’s technology only exacerbates the problem. Not only has our personal life been invaded by busyness and technological distraction, but interpersonal relationships suffer too.  How many times have you tried to carry on a conversation only to be interrupted by the other person responding to a text?  How many times have you sat in a meeting or presentation and heard a phone ring, tone, chime, chirp, bleat, or blurp?  We have all experienced the phenomena that younger people will answer a text while ignoring a call…  “I am too busy to talk, texting saves time, I’m low on minutes allowed by my plan.”  I sat in on a recent staff meeting for a local church where all the staff but one had their lap tops open, cell phones plugged in, and ipads ready to go.  Each of the staff checked emails and texts as they came in – indicated by vibrations and rings.  There has been an unhealthy shift in our culture allowing for interruption by technology. Some actually take pride in the chaos because they are “so important.”   As leaders, deeply immersed in incarnational ministry, we need to be fully present with anyone that we are with, not distracted by the chaos of our own “importance.”

I recently read an interview of a clergyman from Africa, Rev Conrad Mbewe, who pastors a church in Lusaka, Zambia.  “Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things that have robbed them of eternal perspective.  Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost became idols.  Even church must be about having fun.  The church has little time in the lives of its members to prepare them for eternity.  There is a greater consciousness of eternity here in Africa.  Perhaps it is because we have fewer toys to dull our spiritual senses and death is all around us.”1  I think he hits the nail on the head.  (If your spiritual walk is dull or if idolatry seems too harsh a description, consider unplugging for a while and reading Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods.)

A friend and executive coach, Dr. Roger Hall, has shared with me that people are incapable of multi-tasking.  Rather, they “micro burst,”  concentrate in mini bursts on several different tasks, not achieving the same productivity possible if they concentrate on one task at a time.2   Attention given to one thing, takes attention away from another.  So, the next time your phone rings or an email blurps in, think more about who you are currently with or what you are currently doing rather than answering it.  Think about what you communicate to others when you accept technological interruptions. Think about what you communicate about yourself if you are always distracted.

We all know that technology can clearly help us to be more productive. It can, however, also cause us to be busier and more fragmented.  We can end up with too much to do and too many relationships to manage.  Often we think we are more productive when in fact we are just more active.  Activity does not always translate into productivity.  Relationships take time. Technology can either free us to have more time for relationships, or it can steal all of our time so that we never relate deeply with another.  Our misuse of technology threatens our relationships with the Lord and those He has placed in our lives.  Do you take time to shut it all off, to linger with the Lord, and to genuinely be with other people. Do you know what it is to “be still and know that [He] is God.”

1. Conrad Mbewe , “A Great Inheritance,” in Tabletalk, Vol 36, Number 11, p79, 2012.

2. Personal conversation; Dr. Roger Hall, Compass Consultation, www.compassconsultation.com

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