Yesterday, I was totally astonished by the sight in front of me. In my local grocery store, a fellow shopper, who happened to be male, had wedged his laptop in the cart’s baby seat.  Utilizing his G3 Wi-Fi connector, he was strolling up and down the aisles while surfing the Internet.

Was this gentleman so addicted to technology that he couldn’t spend 35 minutes without it?  Understandably, shopping is not one of my favorite chores, but it is far from the most onerous.  (Cleaning toilets takes that distinction!)

For a quick second, I thought maybe he was using the computer as a cost-saving tool by checking prices in other stores.  While that could have been the case, I also reasoned that someone that price-conscious would have done his checking before getting to the store.  Or is that one of the differences between men and women?

I, along with experts, worry about people hunched over their Blackberries furiously typing away and missing the beauty of their surroundings.  Or the folks so quick to add friends to their Facebook page that they feel isolated from the friends and family around them.

While technology is great for those who have no face-to-face option, real intimacy cannot be replaced with technology.

With the communication vehicles available now, ever wonder why Christ wasn’t born today?  Think about it, His message could be spread via Twitter and the Internet in minutes.  And who wouldn’t want to be a Facebook friend to Jesus?

Proverbs 17: 17 and Proverbs 18:24 illustrate the value of a great friend:

  • A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)
  • A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

God picked the perfect time for His earthly ministry.  I’d like to think part of the reason was the close relationships people enjoyed in Biblical times.  Christ ate with people, stayed in their homes, conversed at length with them, embraced them, and walked the long, dusty roads with them.  He spent valuable face time in close relationship.

Washington D.C. psychologist and relationship author Neil Bernstein states that, “Overreliance on social media dilutes intimacy because it can’t replace the talking, the looking, the affection, the support.  There are no shortcuts to good relationships.”

A joyful life is all about the quality of our relationships…the one with our Savior and those we enjoy with our friends. We all have a basic need as humans to build community.  Relationships are simply about connecting with others.

To find a bit more joy in your life, try this simple experiment for one week.  When tempted to email someone, call them instead.  Better yet, invite them to dinner.  Instead of spending an hour on Facebook, practice your listening skills by inviting a friend for a conversation at a local coffee shop.

Joy is a premade, positive commitment to God and the world that He created.  It involves nurturing the things that bring joy.  That includes our relationships.

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