Struggle to Victory with Technology

A Love/Hate Relationship1071936_89886661

I’m addicted to technology. I waste time with it, and I’m easily distracted by it. Sometimes, I actually use it to keep from having to acknowledge and interact with others. I hate that it’s so natural for my kids, even part of the way they think and view life and can’t imagine life without it. And I especially hate how it interrupts and prevents face-to-face conversations.

At the same time, technology gives me a place and audience for writing that I would not otherwise have. It allows for friendships, encouragement, knowledge and support that would not otherwise happen because of geography. It provides ease of research and in fact helped me tremendously in my journey to healing.

Then, there’s GPS… as much a necessity as gas in my car. Technology helps my husband and I connect when he travels since his trips allow for little free time even for phone calls. And, technology provides a way to connect with my boys that fits how they think and operate.

Some days I want to quit technology. Usually, though, those are the days it’s not working right or as I think it should work. But then I remember the days of waiting for my dial-up connection and having the phone unavailable while on the Internet, and I realize how far technology has come in such a short period of time.

I truly hate technology when I’m talking to a friend and she stops mid-conversation to answer a text. After the frustration subsides, I realize the problem is my friend’s inability to focus on what’s in front of her more than it is about the technology.

Technology exists as a necessity in my life that I love for so many reasons and that I hate for as many reasons. With that, I am conflicted over how I want technology to live and breathe as I live and breathe.

1126743_41600248Finding Balance with Technology

How we used technology 10 years ago differs greatly from how we use it today. As those developing technology continue showing us what we didn’t know we needed and wanted, how we use technology will continue evolving. The ever-changing nature of technology is a fixed reality.

The ever-changing nature of technology also adds frustration through the impossibility of keeping up with the flow of information as well as with the latest and greatest. With this comes a choice of either continually struggling to keep up or finding balance, something that exists as uniquely as our fingerprints.

My own journey to find balance in my use of technology involves considering…

  • Is technology my tool or am I its slave?
  • Do I always assume new technology is always better?
  • Do I consider that my kids watch and imitate how I use technology?
  • Do I understand the relevance of technology not just in my life but in the future for my kids?
  • Can I find a healthy balance and/or rhythm by controlling my habits?
  • Are there boundaries in place in my life where technology is concerned or is it an uncontrolled addiction?
  • Does technology exist as a distraction and a way to avoid being uncomfortable?
  • What does God think about how we should live with and use technology?

These are the dominate thoughts on my mind as I consider how technology currently exists and how I want it to exist in my life. And these thoughts provide the basis for getting into the details of technology over the next month.

DISCUSSION: What struggles and victories do you have or see with technology?

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25 Replies to “Struggle to Victory with Technology”

  1. Technology is intimidating, yet inviting too. I feel like a flowing stream making its way down a mountainside. I grow and widen my path along the way and then I flow into the river and become one with it. I flow along seeing new things and am impressed, but then the river opens its mouth and is spewed into the depths of the ocean and I feel lost in its vastness. If only I could find a pond that my stream could have invested itself in.

    My recent post Words of Wisdom: Choose one, Called Out or Culled Out!

    1. The only problems with ponds is that they get stagnant and stinky sometimes because the water isn't moving 🙂 Great analogy with the river down the mountain and into the ocean. Fits perfectly with our journeys through technology. If we continue always putting relationships first, I think we'll make it just fine. Don't you?

      1. Good reminder of the stagnant pond. The Dead Sea analogy in my mind fits well. Then again I guess it is a reminder that we must shrink in importance as we share with others for God's glory. (I think I remember someone saying that…)

        Of course you are correct, and discipline is key to coping with all the changes and challenges that technology can present. I would hate to think back to my youth when I learned to type my papers on an old, manual Royal typewriter surrounded by books and notes. And that was long before "White Out" too! And to share what we wrote our choice was only carbon copies! To erase a mistake required patience and care to not tear the paper while you removed the strike of the keys that marked the paper. Oh what joyous memories.

        OK, so there are a lot of advantages! Let us keep them in perspective as we flow into the mighty ocean and its depths.

        My recent post Words of Wisdom: Choose one, Called Out or Culled Out!

        1. What we tend to forget is that those things you mention – manual typewriter, white out, etc. – were the technology of their day. People had trouble adjusting to that change also. Now, we have to adjust to more change and more quickly. Easier to hit overload for sure, which is why we need to be more diligent in habits that help keep us balanced.

  2. Great questions Kari. I try to turn it off and walk away for a couple of hours every evening. I'd like to start taking a 24 hour fast each week, but so far have not achieved that goal. I really think the hate part of it is really a matter of etiquette. Manners means putting the feelings and needs of others ahead of our own. If I can keep that in mind with my phone and tablet . . . I'm less likely to ignore the people I'm with for a tweet or text. I love this series Kari!
    My recent post Loyalty and Prayer

    1. Thanks, Deb. Etiquette definitely has a lot to do with the "hate" part of it. So does the fact that we have so much coming at us so fast that it's just impossible to keep up. We have to pick and choose what will help us rather than just reacting as it comes at us. A fast is a great idea. We try to do that on vacations, during family games and movies, etc. I'm looking forward to the series too, hoping it will help me find more balance and peace in this area.

        1. Perhaps we should. Actually, I've started to "fast" while I'm eating meals. Instead of reading or surfing or whatever when I eat (this is when I'm home by myself, which is usually breakfast and lunch during the week), I am just eating and letting my thoughts roam. I'm using that time to not have to be entertained, to not have to have something specific in my attention. Just started this week.

  3. (1) The state of the art never arrives with any advancing technology,
    (2) People will always be more important than the plumbing they use to get the job done, but watch out when the plumbing breaks down, and
    (3) If it feels like you are trying to drink from a fire hose, maybe you are oversubscribed/dependent.

    This, from a guy busier than a one-armed paperhanger all of a sudden doing web sites, hardware assessments, and training 🙂

  4. I remember a main question a few years ago was were we going to get up to answer the phone during dinner or would we let it ring. The thought that we would let the technology of the phone ringing on the wall interrupt us bothered us. I believe the questions remain the same we just have a whole lot more opportunities to let technology in some form or another interrupt. With everything at our fingertips we no longer know how to wait on much of anything. We have to fed our desire for an answer right now. We need to quit being afraid of missing out on something because we are not connected at all times; quit thinking if we don't respond promptly then opportunities will pass us by or others will think less of us. I recently read that multitasking actually slows us down. (you would not know where I read that would you?)
    We need to give the moment we are in; the people we are with our attention and our respect. Let the phone ring; the text announce their arrival and the more recent news go unattended to do so.

    1. Hmmm… just can't guess where you read that about multitasking 😉 We have to be deliberate about not letting technology control us. That may mean muting the phone during meals. It may mean putting it in another room. When we are afraid of missing opportunity, we're really showing our lack of faith in God craft, design and shape our lives. If we're not intentional about technology being a tool and about putting real relationships first, then we will becomes slaves to technology.

  5. I think one major victory I've had is being intentional about putting my phone on silent and turning off my computer during most of my days off work. I make sure to leave my phone at home when going to the park, store, or just spending time around our house with my son and wife. It has allowed me to be engaged in the moment. Great thoughts in this post!

    1. That's a definite major victory, Dan. Great job! You are setting an awesome example for your family. Being engaged in the moment makes life worth living!

  6. The funny thing to me is that before Joy and I owned our current smart phones, if the cell phone rang (or vibrated) fro either of us at dinner time, we cheerfully ignored it. Now? Joy lives in text mode – if her sister sends a text during dinner time, she stops talking to us and answers. Put me down in the old fogey category – that's just rude behavior regardless of the age of the person engaged in it – but I have to tread carefully in that space. 🙂
    My recent post Abandoned

    1. Don't think that's old fogey behavior at all, though manners do seem to be a thing of the past at times. Yes, tread lightly, but be forthcoming too. Small things like this can grow into big things pretty easily.

  7. Kari, I just heard about a study that showed college students who gave up all social media for week experienced significant gains in learning, happiness, and quality of relationships. Last month, I had very limited access to the internet for a week. I even had very little phone access. It was extremely aggravating at first. Now I find that I'm struggling to get back to it. I haven't been spending as much time promoting my blog via social media especially. And I find myself wondering if that's a good thing or not.

    1. I'm really not surprised by that data, Melanie. In the past several years, I've better balanced my use of technology, and I find that those things definitely increase. What's more, my kids use technology way less than their friends and seem to have an overall higher level of those elements. There sure is a lot of information out there telling us how technology is changing our thinking, as in actually changing how our brains work. Have you decided what changes you'll make based on your discovery, though after some frustration, that perhaps there are some adjustments needing made?

      1. Not really decisions, Kari. I just can't seem to get myself to use it as much and that's a good thing. However, I do need to get on the ball to maintain my readership. The good thing is I've learned that it's staying at a good level even without doing much.
        My recent post The Organized Clothing Challenge: Week 19

        1. Sounds like your heart toward it is changing a bit and like you're looking to discover and operate within your new normal. I've discovered this is definitely one area where normal changes every so often, and we have to adjust or struggle helplessly.

  8. Your thoughts pretty much mirror my own. I love it for the connection that it offers, but I hate it because I often catch myself checking for the next interaction.

    These are places I typically avoid its use: at church, at a meal with family/friends, outdoors when I am hiking/walking/exercising.
    My recent post Lessons in Simplicity from Granddaddy Bill

    1. Your guest post was a great springboard to my focus on technology this month, Chris. I almost waiting to post it until this month but thought it provided a great connection not only about virtual connections but also into this topic. Sounds like you've got some good boundaries in place regarding technology. And honest, I think that would be what most people would find helpful, just setting up some boundaries to help find balance.

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