by Kim Wiezycki
Facebook. Twitter. My Space. Skype. Email. Smart Phones.
Believe it or not, I said no to all of that at one time. And I had a lot of good reasons. You would probably agree with most of them. I was concerned about the temptation of being pulled away from my family and responsibilities because I was communicating with others instantaneously. I was worried that some online relationships would not be healthy. I felt I might be opening a door to allowing ideas and people into our home – virtually – that shouldn’t have access.
After a lot of prayer, and reaching the opinion that all things technological require boundaries, my eyes were opened to the benefits of getting connected to others via all this new technology. It’s here to stay. Let’s use it for good!
Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us the importance of being with others and how banding with other believers makes us stronger. It is necessary for us to be in fellowship with each other to encourage each other in our faith in all seasons of our lives. Many times we need to be able to reach out and connect but it’s difficult to literally get out because of our daily responsibilities. Modern technology should never be a substitute for meeting with a small group or attending church. God warns us against the dangers of isolation, which can happen if we only communicate via the computer. Many may misuse the technology which can keep us from being in real, tangible, face-to-face relationships, with others.
However, if used correctly, there are many benefits to being connected through technology. Throughout the day, I get the benefit of seeing a tweet from Pastor Rick Warren or Pastor Chris Bonham. I’ll read a blog post by GFC Beautiful or Beth Moore. Or I may take a moment to watch a video on Facebook about an upcoming sermon at my home church. Social media is a powerful tool. I know people who’ve used it to find a church or research a small group.
All of these online connections motivate me to stay the course daily (Acts 20:24), and they also remind me that I need to be connected to my believing friends, small group, pastors and their wives, and all parts of the church body. EVERY. DAY.
When to UNPLUG.
When I was a young mom of toddlers, my pastor’s wife counseled me on the importance of listening – really listening – to my children. I had a time-consuming volunteer job that I had committed to and I was passionate about. It was a worthwhile ministry and I knew God had called me to have a role in it. It required many hours on the computer several days a week. My children would frequently need me during that time. It was common for me to say over and over, “Just a few more minutes. I’ll be with you in a little bit. Give me 10 more minutes. Later. Later. Later.” Then, my pastor’s wife showed me that telling them, “Later, later, later,” would eventually result in my kids not coming to me in the future. Why? Because I was teaching them that they were low on my list of priorities. I was teaching them that their need wasn’t as important to me as answering an email or finishing a text and I was shutting them out. She pointed out that my actions toward them at 3 and 4 years old might keep them from coming to me when they are 13 and 14 years old. YIKES!
As with anything, there needs to be boundaries. Let the Holy Spirit guide you, convict you, teach you. Practice using modern technology with discipline. Learn how to use it for good. And know when to turn it off.