I do a lot of my reading on a Kindle e-reader. Because I am cheap, I always get the version of the Kindle that includes Ads. When my Kindle is not being used the screen goes to sleep and an Ad appears in its place.
Even though I bought it like this, I still find it annoying and one day tried to remedy the problem by just turning the Kindle all the way off so that it was a completely blank screen. I was proud of myself that I stuck it to the dark overlord creators at Amazon that wanted to stuff commercialism down my throat. But, what I soon realized is that when I do this trick my Kindle loses power dramatically and has to be recharged way more often then it should. When I let the screen just naturally fall to its Ads the power was not zapped significantly and my usage was longer and more normal.
I discovered that those dark overlords had intentionally put a bug in the system that would punish me for trying to circumvent the planned commercialism that the device was designed for. What devilishly designed workmanship – actually turning it off causes it to lose power rather than staying constantly powered up to show me the next item I need to purchase.
Our spiritual lives are the complete opposite of this design. We need stillness, rest, and shutting down in order to let God refresh us and be present in our lives.
The fallacy of this Digital Age is for us to try to create ourselves in the image of our machines; to keep up with the constant hum of information, entertainment, and distraction. Social Media, news headlines, click bait, and even Kindle e-readers are designed for us to be constant users that can be pressured, influenced, manipulated, and maneuvered.
But, God didn’t design us to be power users of modern technology; he designed us to be His workmanship, created to do good works. And those good works come out of a life that listens to God, prays to God, and abides in Him. It is hard to do this if we are always plugged in and powered up. No wonder that God asks us to take a Sabbath once a week and that Jesus practiced solitude and silence. This life is too important and there are too many “good things” for us to do to waste it with the “easy-everywhere” nature of technology and the way it pressures us to be always on and to never stop using it.
Some things I have tried to do to hold these pressures at bay is to choose scripture before screens, kick my phone out of the bedroom, and practice Sabbath and fasting. As a librarian and an Enneagram 5, I will always be drawn to more information but more information and endless scrolling will not help me Grow Up to be the person I was designed to be.
Technology serves so many great purposes but when it begins to push us away from what we were designed for we need to put it in its place.