Technology taps into our inner two-year-old, that part of our personality that grasps tightly to our toys and screams, “Mine!” at the top of our lungs. It’s fun and popular and necessary; we need it. It helps us to be in charge and dependent upon no one but ourselves (and, occasionally, the tech guy on the other end of the phone).
With technology, we decide what we want to do, where we want to go, whom we access, and who accesses us. Some pieces of technology is, itself, a controller. It controls some part of our world and gives us access to that power.
Technology also satisfies our need for instant gratification, a trait we picked up as toddlers and have tenaciously held on to. The concept of waiting is a difficult one for many of us, and technology hasn’t helped. We have the digital attention span of a virtual fruit fly, skimming our Internet hits in staccato bursts, looking for the next juicy morsel to land on. this mile-wide, inch-thick digital landscape can easily become the new normal.
When something doesn’t quite work right or as quickly as it should, interruption in that stream of control inspires feelings of irritation and frustration, impatience and entitlement. Irritation, frustration, impatience, and entitlement are not spiritual virtues; they are the polar opposites of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23.
We are impatient, shortsighted people, and Scripture is quite clear that our ways are not God’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). Our timing isn’t exactly divine, either: “Do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day” (2 Peter 3:8, NAS). Granted, waiting a day for your Internet to get fixed can seem like a thousand years, but it’s not. We get incensed when it takes twenty seconds to load a webpage. In contrast, God’s purposes and plans can take millennia to develop and come to fulfillment. So, from our perspective, it seems that God is dragging His feet, especially when we deeply want something. The apostle Peter goes on to say, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God’s view is a decidedly long view. In God’s lexicon, slow is not a dirty word.
We need to stop and consider consequences, and we need to stop and take a deep breath. We need to stop and evaluate how fast-paced our lives have become and the resultant levels of dissatisfaction and stress we embrace because of it. The more exposure you have to technology, the shorter your view can become, so you need to be alert to increased levels of frustration and impatience not only with the devices you use but also with the people you come in contact with. Frequent technology use shortens fuses, so you need to be on your guard.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 36 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.