Has our relationship with technology helped or hindered personal intimacy in our lives? Dr. Sherry Turkle has studied how living in a highly technical age, where we’re all plugged into something, changes the way we see ourselves as people; and the way we do relationships. Her research suggests that technology is taking up so much space in our lives that fewer things are getting our undivided attention. That means our kids, our spouses, and our relationship with God. Could it be that the cyberspace world we live in, is really robbing us of intimacy in relationships?
Could it be that these things have become idols in our lives?
God says whatever’s taken the central place in our heart is an idol. He is a jealous God, and he will stand for no other God’s before him.
In Habakkuk 2:18–19, the Lord says this about the idols we erect:
“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trust in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”
Cleaning out the Closet
Idols are often stubborn guests—first, because we’ve invited them into our hearts, and second, because we’ve erected altars to their service. By the time we recognize them as imposters and become aware of how they’ve robbed us, it’s hard to get rid of them. After all, they’ve served the important function of helping us get our needs met, and we’ve been perfectly content to let them do so.
My friend Katie made her job an idol in her life. That meant she was always on her computer, or her cell phone. The payoff was that others recognized her as indispensable. The problem was she was putting her family on the back burner. When her company made cutbacks, Katie got the boot and her world collapsed. Without all the strokes from other people, and a prestigious job title, Katie didn’t know who she was anymore, so the bottom dropped out. Her husband got tired of playing second fiddle to technology, and finally left her.
Idols lie above the surface of our heart’s deepest longings. They hide behind the mask of our proclaimed self-assurance, helping to protect us from the pain, rejection, and insecurity that tug at our soul. At best, these imposters offer only a temporary or false sense of relief and security. They rob us of walking in the identity that is truly ours, and they disconnect us from intimacy with the Father.
How about you? Has the techno world become a replacement in your life for connecting with the hearts of those closest to you? If so, consider this: God created us for relationship. He’s a jealous God. He desires our hearts--- and so do the people we love.
Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in the Northern Virginia/DC area. She is the host of Heartline Podcast and Consider This. Her shows can be heard on 90.9FM in Lynchburg, Va. and 90.5 FM in NC, and soon to launch on Christian Life Internet Radio. Her book, Sifted As Wheat: Finding Hope and Healing Through the Losses of Life is currently with Hartline Literary Agency. Follow her at www.siftedaswheat.com, on FB at Rita A. Schulte, MA, LPC and twitter at heartlinepod. Her blog, Life Talk Today is www.siftedaswheat.com/blog.