Written by Amy Easley Paige
Today we communicate more than ever before. You can talk to someone while you’re traveling, or text them using only your voice to send it off. We have at our fingertips Facetime, Hangouts, Zoom meetings, and whatever other applications are out there to see and talk to someone for work or a personal visit. Boy, we’ve really perfected the art of communicating well! . . .or have we?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Zoom Bible study I attend where I can see everyone. I’ve been a part of a few, and it allows you to see and hear from people all over the world! I have a few friends I’ve never met in person. In this case, I’m truly glad we finally caught up with the Jetsons.
It’s texting where I have a bone to pick. I know I’m not the only one who has had auto-correct mangle their message into something crazy. The real problem is when your true intent is lost because a message should’ve been a personal, face-to-face conversation. Many times leaving behind confusion, or worse, hurt feelings and anger.
Our voices deliver words in a way that a text message can never achieve. Tones of voice, composure, and facial expressions all work together to communicate the intended message. Together they make a point, make an impact, and well up emotions. Not all of us are great at expressing ourselves verbally; some are better than others. If you’re like me, you generally think of the perfect thing you should’ve said four days later. (Great timing Amy!)
In Titus chapter 2 we’re told to teach what is good and train up the younger generation. Mentoring is near and dear to my heart. I am very involved in a ministry at my church where we are growing and learning together about life and trusting God. Everything about it is intentional. It involves special planning for a home cooked meal, time visiting and laughing over food, learning from God’s word, and prayer time. It’s all about the personal connection.
Imagine how dramatically it would change the dynamic if we just sat around a table staring at our phones. I’ve seen it at restaurants. An even worse scenario is when one person is on their phone and the other is left to stare at their food feeling unimportant. This is one other way that our devices are botching up our communication skills. Giving someone our undivided attention is a gift. I have ADD so I make an effort to really focus as I’m talking to or listening to someone. I still struggle in places that are bustling with people and chatter. My eyes dart around the room and I don’t really listen to the person in front of me.
My friend Lisa called me out in love one day. It was hard to hear that I was making her feel unimportant, but I’m so grateful for her honesty. I believe I’m better today at giving a friend my full attention when visiting, and I also know when someone needs to hear my voice instead of a text. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m guilty, like many, of feeling the need to check my phone way too often. This really frustrates my husband. He is right though (Don’t tell him I said that!). The millions of videos, pictures and messages are encouraging my ADD. So right now, while I’m writing this article, I’m committing to keeping my hands free and my mind clear. I will probably go into withdrawal, but maybe it will honor my husband and God.
Just like anything else, too much of a good thing can be bad. Smartphones aren’t evil. They can help us stay organized or stay connected with a friend. I encourage you to evaluate your phone time and especially to rethink how often you text important conversations. Your voice is a better tool to spread news and love, and make that personal connection that we all need.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
And a person’s advice is sweet to his friend.
Proverbs 27:9 NASB
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