As I was driving to work a few weeks ago, I was reminded that this was one of my “no computer days”. As I entered my office, I noticed that my computer was sitting in it’s normal place, at the center of my workspace. It has recently occurred to me that for most of us, like its place on our desks, the computer has become the center of our life at work & at home – this was a disturbing realization for me. If you’ve never had a “no computer day”, let me tell you firsthand how magnificently freeing it actually is. When I walk into work on a typical day, I am immediately bombarded with a list of things I never accomplished yesterday, which is soon accompanied by a bunch of things I didn’t know I’d have to do today – and after a full day on the computer I realize I really never accomplished anything of eternal value. This is my constant struggle with the to-do list on my legal pad, it always fills up with things that really aren’t very important but in the end somehow trump the things that are. And I find my to-do list fills up with many more shallow tasks the minute I turn on my wireless connection. A “no computer day” kills that opportunity and gives you the clarity of thought to plan out your day according to the priorities you set in your mind the night before. A “no computer day” also makes you realize you have an incredible amount of books in your office or in the library full of life giving insights, thought provoking concepts, and action inducing content. Something else strange happens on these days: time goes by much slower. It’s crazy when I think about how much I am able to accomplish when I’m not distracted by social networking tools and a servers worth of past presentations, documents, and folders to reference that end up subverting my creativity.
I don’t hate computers, but my “no computer days” have opened my eyes to how much of a god my laptop has become in my own life. My lust for computing is evident as I sit right beside it and my heart wants nothing more than to open it up and get connected with the rest of the world. Social networking is sexy – it seems innocent enough but slowly kills your productivity. The idea of a machine doing everything mine does is very alluring, but if you’re not careful it can quickly disable a significant amount of your brainpower. So I started wondering, what if I wasn’t a weirdo for being the guy that schedules times when I don’t use a computer and became the weirdo that schedules times when I do.
I believe our cultural love affair with electronic innovation pulls us away from our purpose more than we think it does. It is one tool in Satan’s briefcase that we hate to acknowledge… perhaps because we love it too much. It’s become so engrained in our thinking that you might hate reading this blog right now because it’s so foreign to think that our time spent on Facebook might actually distract us from living Christ in the world, as it numbs our mind to the blatant reality He taught – there is nothing else worth living for. So may we view our technology as a tool to do the work of God, while continually disciplining ourselves to make sure it doesn’t become something else. May we use our time as wisely as possible & become bold enough to make the change that might be counter cultural.