Our (Dis)Connected Society

Social media has become such a part of our daily lives. So many people have laptops, iPhones, iPads, and other devices that allow them to be accessible at all times. I cannot deny that what I am about to share isn’t “preaching to the choir”.
I find myself in need of connecting to Twitter, Facebook, text messages, and phone calls numerous times throughout the day. I also must confess that many of these times I claim to be “in need” of connecting are not needs at all. It is a pattern of behavior that our society has made acceptable and common. The reality is that I do not have to be available all of the time. It is a lie to keep me plugged in and connected constantly when I need to be resting and disconnected.
Here is an example of my own battle with these expectations. I found myself frustrated the other day when I called a store and received a busy signal. So what did I do? Preceded to call back about 10 times, with each call becoming more frustrated that I was not able to get through to get my immediate answer. This is a prime example of what our society has allowed to become normal and acceptable. Individuals are no longer allowed to have time for their needs, their family, and their personal lives.
Much of this post was prompted by my observations of a group of people the other day at an event I was attending. This event lasted about 2.5 hours and in that span of time, due to proximity, I was able to observe a group of about 7 people ranging from the ages of 15-25. These individuals pulled their phones out about every 10 minutes, which equates to approximately 15 times. Imagine how difficult it would be to remain engaged in the event. They could not allow themselves to be in the moment without concern for what was going on with people on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This made me start to think about the high levels of anxiety and pressures that individuals are facing. Our society has trained us to not be satisfied with our current location and activity but be concerned about what others are doing and what is happening somewhere else. The pressure makes us always question if there is something else better going on or somewhere more exciting beckoning our attention. This leads to discontentment, anxiety, and distraction.
Honestly when I am with people who are unable to remain focused on the conversation and the moment, it makes me feel like I am not exciting enough to hold their attention. Now remember I said that I was preaching to the choir, I find that when I get my phone out during a dinner or conversation with my husband that immediately I check out and completely lose my engagement in the moment. This makes me sad to think that I would allow my spouse to not feel like he is the most important thing at the moment. This is so contrary to God’s intention for our lives, our marriages, and our friendships.
I want to encourage you to consciously make an effort to be engaged in the moment. It is not only healthy for you but for your relationships. The next time you feel compelled to get onto Facebook or Twitter think about where you are and with whom you are spending time. Do you want that person to feel like they are not important? Do you want to enjoy the moment? Let yourself rest in the fact that you are where you are, and enjoy. Allow your emotions, senses, and mind to remain in that very place instead of somewhere else; your family, friends, and anxiety levels will thank you.

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