I am a fan of technology. OK…maybe fan is not a strong enough word. Instead, perhaps I should say that I’m the guy who, after only a few months of marriage, took his wife’s paycheck and purchased a $400 PDA instead of buying food. Yeah, I’m that kind of fan.
As digital technology has become more widespread and available, I have found many ways to integrate my life into a digital universe. This integration, however, has produced mixed results.
My gadgets have allowed me to become more efficient in my work, but this efficiency has not driven me to simply do the same amount of work in less time. It has instead pushed me to accomplish more than was previously possible. Now I realize that this tendency has a great deal to do with my own personality, but nevertheless, it was the technology that granted me the ability to do more. Another result was that I found myself working all of the time. I was available and working 24/7, and I began to notice that the costs of this lifestyle were being paid by my wife and kids in many ways. I was also always tired. Unable to give my best and more often than not overwhelmed by the weight of life. Now again, it is not technology’s fault that I utilized it in such a way, but the technology gave me the ability to go beyond my normal capacities of productivity. In a very clear way, my technology’s were enabling me to live my life at an inappropriate pace, and I was more than willing to comply. That was, at least, until I hit the wall. (I’ll write about that another time.)
Long story short, I reached the end of my ability to live at such a break-neck pace and I found myself thoroughly burned out.
Since that time, I have started to reevaluate my love for all things that beep.
Last week, while driving to Louisiana for Thanksgiving, I took opportunity to listen to an audio version of Tim Challies book, The Next Story: Life after the Digital Explosion. I found it to be extremely helpful, and if you, like me, live a life that is inundated with digital technology, you should take time to read this book.
Challies provides a robust examination of the digital life that we now call normal, and he highlights both the opportunities and challenges of living in a highly connected world.
Technology is like any other good gift from God. Used well, it has the potential for profound good. Used poorly, however, and our technology can steal from us the very thing that it promises to give us. Our Freedom.