Are We Too Connected

Are We Too Connected?

Last year, my wife Debi and I took a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary. It was an awesome experience—probably the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever taken. One of the blessings in disguise was having minimal access to the internet.

As the end of our trip neared, I realized that all of the negativity on my social media feeds wasn’t doing any favors for my mental health. Consequently, one of the first things I did after returning home was unfollow a half-dozen people whose posts were especially toxic.

More recently, a liberal friend (shhh, please don’t mention to my fellow conservatives that I have liberal friends) and I were dialoguing about the problem of violence in the USA. One of his points—that we’re now more aware of what’s happening in our world—immediately set me to thinking.

This globe has always been a violent place. Wars. Crime. Molestation. Domestic abuse. In days past, however, our knowledge of human violence was more localized and limited. Growing up in the 1970s, for example, I might watch something about a city riot on the nightly news, or perhaps read about an international conflict in the morning paper, but that was about it.

That didn’t mean that all of life was good, though; I saw plenty of meanness in my neighborhood and at school. Still, it seems that one of the huge differences between then and now involves our current inability to escape the craziness.

Today, I need only check my social media feed, and I am bombarded with negative information. Between photos of cute babies and frolicking puppies, I see images of addicts who have overdosed, the havoc wreaked by global terrorism, and simplistic memes highlighting all that’s wrong with opposing viewpoints. As evidenced by the growing coldness in our culture, how difficult it is to process the sheer volume of these issues without growing uncaring and harsh ourselves.

At the same time that we’ve become more connected with the dysfunction of our world, our society has become less connected to the God who created us. And though our intentions are often good, a host of distractions keep us vitally disengaged from the One who can fill our hearts with hope.

One of the things I love about holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter is the opportunity they provide to step back from the intensity of life on earth to reconnect with our loving Lord.

Even under the Old Covenant, God commanded His people to celebrate several holidays to reconnect and replenish. They weren’t times to wallow in guilt or self-pity, but to draw near to the true source of life.

No doubt, commercial interests have corrupted our cultural observances with their typical materialistic bent, but nothing says we must allow their influence to taint our personal and family celebrations of God’s goodness.

I also understand that the deep-rooted problems of our world don’t simply go away on special dates. Drugs don’t stop addicting, cancers don’t stop attacking, and terrorists don’t stop terrorizing.

Still, it remains vital for us to somehow find refuge in the Rock who gives us the strength to stand and to love regardless of what we face. Why not find a way this holiday season to disconnect with some of this world’s craziness and reconnect with all that truly matters? God knows we’re all in need!