I can't believe I just did that. I groaned and covered my face in disbelief.
When my husband’s desktop computer, where most of my hi-res images were stored, began freezing up days before we were to leave for Louisiana over Christmas, I immediately began transferring photos onto disks while simultaneously working on my laptop to meet a magazine deadline.
An hour into that multi-tasking between the desktop and laptop, I stood to answer the phone and stepped on the laptop I'd foolishly left closed on the floor. I opened it up to find dark purple lines spreading across the now broken screen.
For months we'd been frustrated by poor cell phone service in our house. In an attempt to improve it, our carrier provided us with a signal booster that worked through wifi, but our rural internet service was unreliable. To add to the frustration, we had discontinued our land line years ago to justify purchasing cell service – a decision we now regretted. To make a phone call without our conversation breaking up or the call dropped, we had to leave the house.
Technology designed to improve communication was not working well for us, and we were locked into a family contract that would be costly to cancel early.
In Louisiana, with family who shared that contract, we switched to a more reliable and expensive carrier, bought new phones, and negotiated with our former carrier to drop the early contract cancellation fees.
But our computer woes only worsened. When we returned home, the desktop computer had died completely while we were gone.
My laptop was useable, but barely. Writing and editing photos with a distorted screen was a challenge I reserved for meeting important magazine deadlines, while other writing goals were put on hold until our finances following Christmas and the purchase of new cell phones would allow for new computers and the technical help I need to retrieve photos off the desktop.
A month later, we’re making progress. We replaced the laptop and desktop last week – this blog post is proof – but the process of recreating lost files, moving data off the damaged laptop and retrieving photos from the desktop will take time.
Our family’s recent technology woes have challenged our assumption that technology is a gift, but when it works and we make wise decisions to back-up data and avoid carelessness – technology assists our work in the world, in our home, in our relationships and in ministry.
Some of the many benefits technology has provided our family without our ever leaving home include the opportunities to work, pay bills, manage our finances, earn college credit, conduct research before making major purchases, be better informed healthcare consumers, order prescriptions, communicate with healthcare providers, remain connected to family and friends, and shop from a variety of sources that often offer free shipping.
That challenge – as with all good things in life – is to use the benefits of technology wisely and with moderation. Online shopping can lead to impulse buying and overspending. Abusing access to friends and family can damage our relationships with false expectations and over-protection. Without disciplined work habits, including the time we make ourselves available to work and minimizing distractions, we can adopt unhealthy practices leading to either laziness to the detriment of our work or over-working that sacrifices our relationships. All of these can stunt our spiritual maturity, damage our witness, and lead us away from the abundant life in Christ for which we were created.
Of all the gifts of technology, our greatest joys can come from using it in the work of furthering the Gospel.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace….in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:10-11
How have you experienced technology at work in your life?
This post is part of The HighCalling’s Technology @ Work Community Link-Up Technology @ Work Photo by Tim Miller. Design by Jennifer Dukes Lee.