Are you really Here?

I love this photo I saw recently of a basket at the door to someone’s home.

Be with the friends who are here!”

I love it because it expresses what I desire.  For people who are with me to be truly present and attentive to… ME!

But it’s also convicting, because I’m an ADD, multi-tasking friend and wife who isn’t always “present” to others.

Have you ever been talking to someone on the phone and can hear them typing on their computer while they talk to you?  Or people having coffee with you, texting (even under the table!) at the same time they’re talking to you?  Or you’re in a meeting and someone is surreptitiously checking FB?

Does it make you wonder if you’re that boring?  Or if they’re that important?

I keep thinking of Luke 10 where it says “Martha was distracted“, but “Mary chose what was better.”  Being present to Jesus.  Is technology distracting me from my relationship with Jesus, others, and even myself?

Just this morning as I was reading scripture, and praying, I stopped to text someone I thought of.  Could it have waited?  Absolutely.  I wonder…when we’re not fully present are we really saying to the other (in this case, Jesus)…

  • Someone or something else is more important than you.
  • I am more important than you.
  • Posting, tweeting, texting, being in demand defines my value.

Here’s something that really impacted me this week.  I’m not an “important” person (yeah, yeah, I know I’m important to God, but I mean in a worldly sense).  I’m not famous, but somehow I’ve been privileged to spend time with many people who are.  Leaders who are having a huge impact in the world.  They are smart, articulate, anointed, sought after, and extremely busy.

This past week I was with one of the most gifted, influential teachers of our day, and the thing that struck me the most powerfully was that I never once saw him check his iphone while he was with us.

He wasn’t receiving texts during dinner.

He didn’t interrupt conversations to answer a call.

His eyes didn’t stray around, searching for more “important” people other than who he was talking to.

And he didn’t hurry through the room.  He was truly present to the people he was with.

That in itself is a big deal.  But the question I thought of beyond that was, what does this say about his ability to be present to Jesus?  To not allow the demands, interruptions, requests, distract him from the discipline of being truly with Jesus?  I wonder if these two things are related.

How might the practice of being present to Jesus affect our ability to be present to each other?  And vice versa.  Does practicing being present in one relationship carry over into another?

How can we “Hang up and arrive.” as Jon Acuff says?

Are there times we leave our phone at home?  Days we turn it off?

How much does technology affect your ability to be present to Jesus and others?

4 Comments

  1. Oh Laura. I’ve been battling with this very topic for a while – thank you for this post! I love your opening picture. I gather with a group of girls once a month at a restaurant and we have made it a rule that we all have to place our phones in a stack upside-down in the middle of the table until we’re ready to leave so that we can be fully present to one other. It’s amazing how hard it is to do but the payoff is so great when we reach an ‘off the charts level of connection’. I really battle with finding that balance of when I’m using technology to save time (more time for relationships) and when I’m overusing it and it’s taking away from the quality of my relationships. This is also challenging in the world of work when employees are being asked to provide creative insights with technology. The only path into doing this is by being a ‘user’. 🙁 I think this topic makes my head spin.
    Enter the Jesus Prayer…
    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

  2. Laura:

    Great post and great to see you in Orlando. I’m teachi8ng a class at your old church on “Spiritual Formation in a Culture of Distraction” and this fits right in!

    • What a fantastic topic for a class! I called my parents and asked them to send me handouts – they were in class on Sunday and loved it. Cheering you on from Minnesota.

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