I recently met up with my pastor at Starbucks. We exchanged our pleasantries and grabbed our caffeinated drug of choice (coffee, black—no, seriously). As we began to chat, I started to get the urge to look at my phone. As I glanced toward my phone, my pastor glanced at his, too! In fact, within five minutes of our conversation starting, both of us were looking at our phones, checking notifications, the time or whatever other random thing appeared on our screens.
Then we both had a sudden “come to Jesus” moment. You know, those moments when it’s almost like reality slaps you into shape? Suddenly we laughed at the absurdity of what we were doing. We both put our phones away, and—gasp!—turned them off. However, we both looked around the cafe and noticed every single person was face down in their digital world. Nobody was just TALKING to each other face-to-face.
As we laughed, we both actually kind of got a bit sad. Have we lost the art of just being real with one another? Are we so focused on what else is going on in this world that we simply have lost touch with what’s happening in our own lives? We’re so focused on getting the “right” Instagram shot, the perfect snap for Snapchat and the perfectly timed Tweet. Why? Because being real in the 21st century isn’t living a life of substance in the real world—it’s living a life of substance online. From friending people on Facebook to following people on Instagram, our social profiles are our social currency. The more followers, the more popular we are ONLINE. Everyone talks about what’s happening online and very rarely what’s actually happening in our real world—your world.
Is this what we want? Do we really want this?
We all know this popular scene from (arguably the best Pixar movie) WALL-E. Now, I’m not saying we’re here, but looking around Starbucks the other day, I can say we are close. What’s it going to take to put down our phones, put down our iPads, take off our headphones and just be in THIS place, this place that God gave us?
Well, for one, it involves some discipline. The discipline of not checking your phone out of habit—and yes, it is a habit. Let’s be real with one another. Let’s have real, meaningful conversations about life, love, faith and everything else. Let’s embrace the art of silence, the art of conversation in real life. Let’s BE REAL.