Some sweet friends and family have asked if I have a subscribe button. Finally, I do have subscription abilities… if you want my new posts sent to you via email. Well, I think I do. These plugins don’t have great directions!
THIS BLOG IS ONLY A TEST OF MY NEW SUBSCRIPTION PLUGIN
For those who have asked if there was a way to “subscribe” to my blogs. I just added that convenience (or nuisance, depending on how you look at it). Please feel no pressure.
I sent an email to a handful of people, who I am pretty sure requested it, telling them I set them up. THIS IS A TEST BLOG, for those people. Please let me know if it worked! You should get an email with this blog printed in it. If you would like to get these emails, you might need to confirm it by checking the box that says “Notify me of new posts by email.” and then click the post comment button.
And if you haven’t told me, but you would like to get an email when I post a blog, please comment below, or email me at email@example.com. In the subject line say Blog subscription, and I will add you to the list. (So far I have not been able to get a “button” on the homepage that allows people to add themselves).
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Soon, I hope to not be on Facebook, personally. Or to limit it tremendously — see my last post. And the one before it about my smart phone ADDICTION. A challenge to understand YOUR possible ADDICTION is coming. I would love you to play along and let me know how it goes!
Rob and I watched a very old and horrible alien encounter movie Friday night — there is just no good, mindless TV anymore. But it was very nostalgic.
I got a glimpse of what Rob might have looked like in his plaid flannel shirt with a puffy down vest — and long curly hair. And remember when traffic lights blinked after midnight, and “snow” came on the TV about 11:00 pm, just after the national anthem played? The good ole days.
It made me think of that familiar high pitched noise, and the ominous announcement “This is only a test! In the event of an actual emergency…” It gave us all the opportunity to think of our cold war bomb shelters or earthquake and tornado plans — then it was back to Gilligan’s Island, I Dream of Jeanie, The Brady Bunch (little did I know that was a precursor to educational TV for me).
If we had that today… would there ever be an uninterrupted program? The world is nutty… I don’t understand it… but I feel called to more prayer and more bold sharing of my faith– and the amazing ways God shows up in my life to help me do things I never would or could alone.
Faith is personal, but certainly not private. Romans 1:12 says “That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
Loneliness means “that your heart is untethered to the hearts of others.” (Davis, page 9) Admissions have doubled in a short time: 40 percent of adults in two recent surveys said they were lonely, up from 20 percent in the 1980s. (slate.com) In her book Connected author Erin Davis describes loneliness as “an illusion of connectedness to the people around you accompanied by a gnawing fear that somehow you’re alone in the world.” (page 3) I know what it’s like to have close friends, a busy schedule, a loving marriage — and to still feel lonely.
The world is experiencing pandemic loneliness — so possibly, you’re feeling it, too? Medical science is proving thatloneliness isn’t just a feeling, but a “disease.” It attacks us at a cellular level and contributes to many health problems. My last post highlighted our widespread Smart Phone ADDICTION. Through a series of posts, I’m sharing what I’m learning about how technology, convenience and reluctance all contribute to our loneliness. Hopefully, you’ll want to read Erin Davis’s book yourself. All quotes from Connected will be noted with a page number.
My own lonely confession: My calendar is over loaded, even prompting me to write about being crazy busy and my need for planned neglect. Life is mostly good. Still, in the midst of it all, I feel a foreign and inexplicable loneliness.
Moving back to Tallahassee when I did was a gift; it provided an obvious then and now contrast of life. Daily circumstances have changed for many of us empty nesting mid-lifers. While I still love, enjoy and appreciate my friends, I don’t see a lot of them.
Many of my closest relationships began in the embrace of “motherhood convenience.” We were moms in the same places who welcomed connection and built friendships. Then I moved away.
I left Tallahassee a single mom with a bustling household. For the first time, I kept up with friends mostly via the internet. I returned a newlywed empty-nester, working full time — a very different world — except for the continuation of all these eRelationships.
I’ve reconnected with many people. When I bump into others, we are both genuinely glad. We’re still friends; it’s just that withconvenience removed from relationships, we don’t get together as often. I’ve heard the same complaint from many friends (in various cities) who share this lonely feeling. We are baffled as to what’s going on and how to get off today’s hamster wheel.
I’m excited to share Davis’s book. It has given me insights into possible causes of this odd isolation and a hope for change. “God has hardwired us for deep and meaningful relationships, and true connection with others is possible and game changing.” (page 4) Don’t you want the life of vibrant connections He planned for you? I do.
How does a technology addiction fit in? I’m not demonizing technology — as usual, it’s user error that causes problems. Too much of my daily ‘relating’ amounts to what is on Facebook or in texts. That’s so unfulfilling, when I have experienced how energizing it is to really BE with the people on my screen. Electronics do not tether hearts very well. We might “feel the love,” but are we really satisfied? Known?
Knowing: Knowing is so well illustrated in the Biblical account of Jonathan and David — best friends. Jonathan gave up his birthright to the kingship and defied his father to save his friend. Why? 1 Samuel 18:1 says “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” This interweaving of souls required deep commitmenton the parts of both men.
Think also of our more casual relationships. Of course, we reach various depths of knowing in a broad range of encounters. But as believers, we’re called to be part of a body — partswho need one another.Intertwined. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Cor 12:12)
“Knowing says, ‘I see who you are and choose to weave my life into yours.‘” (page 30) A choice to briefly interact with a real person feels much better than the emotional void of swiping a card at the ATM. And does a hug compare at all to anything offered electronically? Face to face is not as fast, but is there always a reason to hurry, or is it a bad habit we’ve acquired? A wise friend told me, “I’d rather talk to three live people than text and facebook with 100.” Yet, he is in the minority, and frequently ribbed for not answering his beeps and tones.
What else? Is today’s loneliness pandemic attributable only to the abuse of technology, or is there something I can do to enrich my relationships, once I limit my screen time?
It seems there’s more to our isolation. Connecting was easy when it happened naturally at my “job” as mom. Maybe that convenience and the recent years of so much tidy, distant, automated relating have made me lazy. Do I google new recipes when I’m feeling adventurous, or call a friend who’s a good cook — and chat a while afterwards? A live phone call trumps a text for connecting every time. Why don’t we want to be “bothered” anymore with talking?
Real relationship like Jonathan and David’s isself-sacrificing: inconvenient, messy, time-consuming and deliberate. Some questions to ask ourselves —
Am I still willing to live that way, or has the fast paced, automated world sucked me in and spit me out a lemming? Proverbs 18:1 warns, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”
Do I enjoy the perfection of presenting my “highlights film” to the world (pride?) from the privacy of my keyboard?
Or am I willing to be vulnerable, real and honest — face-to-face?
Do I want to let others into my reality, and to enter the messiness of their lives, as we share each other’s loads? (Galatians 6:2)
Or am I tending my own life, and want to just enjoy it, hunker down, or hide? Am I reluctant to BE with people?
It’s time to understand why I’ve begun pulling back from real daily life connecting. It’s always hard, but exciting to invite God to search me, to know me — to listen and repent of my sins, and then chase after what He desires for me. Something’s amiss, because God has abundant Life in mind (John 10:10), not the dangers of isolation and loneliness.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. ” It’s the verse God keeps putting in front of me.
We are invited to interact with our God, Abba, who is relational at His core — Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Protecting our daily quiet time and connection with Him is always step one. He is the only One who can love and know us perfectly, and He wants us to know Him.
The second step seems to be acknowledging my gratitude — for family and dear friends in Tallahassee and scattered about who know me and share their lives with me so well. I am eternally grateful to them and to God for them.
Prayer: Jesus, I will seek You and trust Your plan, as You show me the world’s ways that lead to loneliness. Please teach me to connect with others, to be authentic with them and to share our lives in a way that glorifies You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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My cumbersome first cell phone certainly started as a very innocent and casual helper. It made me feel more secure and in control to know I could be reached 24/7 when my kids were young. It did nothing but send and receive phone calls.
Besides possibly being too accessible to my children and their forgotten lunches and other moments of “need,” we were not negatively affected by the use of my phone. Usually it just rested conveniently in my purse, almost shocking me if it rang.
Fast forward through the innocuous years to when everything changed dramatically —
One day I got a text (I didn’t know my phone even had “texting” abilities). I was single, and a whole new world opened to me, like little rays of sunshine on a rainy day. The text was from my first date in 20+ years, just saying, “hi, I was thinking of you.” I wasn’t all that interested in him, but It was still a very exciting intrusion! A slight adrenaline rush followed; Serotonin levels spiked, I’m sure.
Was that feel-good moment the beginning of an addiction? One of my kids immediately taught me to use the T9 predictive texting — because of course, it is good manners to respond to all greetings (old school manners in a new world?). Texting was so much fun!
I still didn’t understand why I would want a phone with tons of bells and whistles, but I had an upgrade available that miraculously wasn’t needed by a teen who had shattered their screen or dropped their phone in the toilet. I got a Blackberry — with a camera AND the INTERNET!
About that time I innocently joined Facebook and another world opened up. I was brand new to Atlanta, and remember thinking, “Facebook is so weird. Most people on here must be lonely without a lot going on… in real life. And what’s with the profiles? Don’t your friends already KNOW who you are?” But my description pretty well described me in those first months in a new city, so my cyberspace friend list grew, and I was hooked.
Then I got an iPhone – go ahead and liken that to a first hit of crack cocaine! I adapted the familiar head down and clicking posture way too often. There were so many options to beckon me…
And respond I did. Why is it some people seem to barely notice when their phones beep? While others – like me – feel compelled to respond immediately and scramble to check the screen, even when it’s not our tone? It’s not the smart phone that’s the problem. It’s me and my addiction to it. Am I alone in this?
Forgive my presumption, but I don’t think so. We’re passionate in choosing whether we are an apple or Droid user! (hmmm… user?). Phones are EVERYWHERE! No longer nestled in purses, I’d say the average person has it in their hand, at the ready position, more often than not.
An aside: I just heard my phone vibrating in the kitchen. I am not expecting anything. Without thinking I immediately got up from my computer, because surely whatever whim of information coming through the cell lines was more important than all else I have chosen to do this morning. That is OUT OF CONTROL — See title of blog.
Enough! Smart Smart phones can be powerfully addicting, and mine has me! How do I know? Check out my list of symptoms (wording adapted from an article describing symptoms of substance addiction):
I cannot stop using it without withdrawal anxiety — despite recognizing detrimental effects to my health and well being.
I have made social and recreational sacrifices for my habit.
I am sure to always have my phone with me.
I take risks — I am 100% against texting and driving (even with Siri), yet sometimes, I still don’t pull over to text (today, I stop), and I talk on the phone while driving a lot. I believe both make me a less safe driver and endanger others.
I am obsessed with what my phone delivers, and with getting a steady supply. I’m embarrassed to say, I check it at red lights sometimes, simply out of momentary boredom (I had never experienced boredom at red lights before smartphones).
I often use my phone in secrecy and solitude, because, again, I’m embarrassed at my excess. Even I don’t get me, so I try not to be obviously rude in my use of it.
Subjectively, it seems screen time has taken away time spent in my hobbies and activities (or my phone is with me and distracting me while I do them).
While it isn’t causing financial difficulties, our family of seven could take an annual vacation on the amount we spend all together on this new contraption we all must use.
Relationship problems could emerge – because it probably seems to others at times that my virtual world offers more to me than they do.
I think there’s been a vicious cycle that has contributed to my addiction. My ‘use’ blossomed in my early single years — a time of loneliness and change. I used my phone (and often facebook and the internet) to feel connected. And to look and feel busy, when I was awkwardly disengaged with those around me.
I made many new friends and my life began to fill up with opportunities and activities to end my loneliness. In response, I didn’t limit my use of all things with a screen (I began carting around my own laptop and eventually an iPad during this same period) — it increased with each convenient technological advancement.
As Erin Davis put it in her book Connection “technology has blunted my appetite for human connection. The pixels had become more alluring than the real thing. The illusion seemed more inviting than the reality. I felt like an addict whose drug of choice became a little box of glass and metal” (page 39-40). She speaks in the past tense — recovered. I want to be there, because my smart phone just leaves me addicted — never satisfied.
I know I have a smart phone addiction — possibly a cyber communication addiction? A weird loneliness lurks alongside it in the shadows. Technology has helped fuel my old loneliness just as surely as it once offered it a false cure.
I’m not going to throw out all my iStuff. Technology is here to stay (the irony is we own an IT business). Life without a screen is just not an option for most of us. How I relate to it is… I’ll be exploring my habits and addiction and the loneliness it may contribute to moving forward in my blog.
Do you see any symptoms of screen addiction or a resulting related disconnect with people in your own life? If so, I welcome your comments and thoughts. And a hint as to what’s to come — a short, experimental period of unplugging might benefit a lot of us. 🙂