It's so easy to whip out the cell phone when we are bored, tired, standing in line, need a diversion, or don't want to talk to the person next to us. But all that time spent on social media connecting to people in the digital realm makes me think that we all crave connection. We want to reach out to others, and we want others to reach out to us, acknowledging us, accepting us, looking up to us. Social media is a great way to connect, but it is no substitute for personal interaction.
I wonder how many times I have tried to shut out the world, to keep people from bothering me, by staring at my phone. A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers shows that the average person looks at their phones 162 times per day. I never would have imagined that I did that! 162 moments spent on a piece of technology.
How can we get more out of living? For the sake of argument, what if we just imagine that half of those times were necessities - ordering prescriptions, checking in with the kids, sending an email to the boss... and the other 81 times were us trying to shut out the world, or entertain ourselves, or just playing around? What could we do with those 81 other moments?
- 81 prayers.
- 81 times to review and memorize a favorite Bible verse.
- 81 chances to hug your children.
- 81 kind words to give to someone else.
- 81 opportunities to repent.
- 81 tries at servant evangelism.
- 81 kisses for your loved ones.
- 81 times to stop and smell the roses.
- 81 laughs at a silly joke.
- 81 thoughts about God.
- 81 praises of God.
- 81 chances to connect with a real person.
- 81 ways to show God's love.
- 81 opportunities to make the most of the moment.
- 81 times to engage in life.
I'm really a big fan of social media and cell phones. But I need to learn that these things are tools that we can use to enhance life. We need to be masters of our tools, and not let the tools run our lives.
I don't really make New Year's resolutions. I never keep them, they fade away, and I forget all about them. But I do use New Year's as a time to reflect on the past year and try to incorporate some new, healthy habits. So this year's new healthy habit is to work towards taking some of those lost moments on the cell phone, and turning them into opportunities to engage in real life. Oh, I'll still enjoy my Facebook time, and I'll still need a few moments here and there to tune out the world and do something mindless for a few. But every baby step towards engaging with real people in the real world is a step towards getting more out of this short life we have to live. Let's make the most of it while we have the chance.