I’m a big fan of technology. I bought my first personal computer (PC) in 1984 and taught myself how to use the data base and word processor. My PC did not survive the move to the Philippines and this is when I bought my first Apple computer. I produced hospital policies and reports on that small amazing piece of technology. Since that time I have implemented the latest technological devices into my everyday life. When the smart phones were introduced, I began reading my emails throughout the day. It was amazing. I was always up to date. I was always generating emails that demanded responses from others and receiving emails that demanded responses from me. The result is that I slowly became a slave to technology.
Part of my transition after the ride across America has been adjusting to such a life of instant communication and the demands it exerts on all of us. During my ride I never looked at my calendar and only checked my email twice a day. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but the limited use of technology was a liberating experience. I still used technology to communicate with people across America. I uploaded photos from a GoPro camera, uploaded movies I had made, blogged on the computer, facebooked, and checked emails twice a day. But this was part of a routine in which I primarily communed with God and used technology for His glory.
Since returning from the ride I have realized that I too often allow technology to rule my life. And anything or anyone that rules my life other than God is a life threatening intrusion into my life. How can it be that I can allow technology to manage my life, rule my life? Because I have enabled email notifications on my phone and my computer I am responding and demanding responses every hour (sometimes every minute) of every day as long as I’m awake. I have become lured into the “fast food” mentality of communication consumption. I need to respond and receive a response immediately as if I were at Taco Bell wanting a veggie burrito. That’s not a great way to eat and it’s certainly not a great way to communicate. What I learned on my ride is that all great communication begins with communion with God.
My constant communion with God during the ride has revealed to me the need for such a vibrant connection every moment of every day, not just on a sabbatical. As a result, I find it necessary to break the chains of bondage to technology and manage it rather than letting it manage me. I found it necessary to talk with God constantly during the ride for diapers just to complete each ride. Why would I think it’s more important to talk with God constantly on a bike ride than during the “life ride” working each day in Richland, WA? The brutal fact of the matter is that I need God more today in this ride than I needed Him on the bike ride. There are more temptations, more distractions, more issues, more needs, and more wisdom needed than I ever faced on the bike.
So I will be changing how I use technology. Here is my first attempt at managing technology for God’s glory in my life:
- Commune with God each morning before ever turning on my phone or my computer, reading a book, or reading the newspaper .
- Disable email notifications on my phone and computer. I will check my emails twice a day.
- Use my calendar to schedule time with God, Pam (my wife), my children (especially now that they are adults), and my exercise. Then I can use my calendar for other appointments as God directs.
- Go to bed one hour earlier each day.
I love technology. In fact, I’m waiting to receive my iPhone 5 next week. But in my desire to be in closer communion with God throughout each day, and thus a better pastor in His church and human in His creation I strive to manage the technology that has been placed at my fingertips. I know it’s here for a reason, and that reason is not to control my life but to be used as a blessings in the lives of others. And so the transition continues!