Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)
TITLE: Texting for the Timid
By Brenda Shipman
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I do not have a disease or a disorder. I am an introvert, simply because God designed me this way. Face-to-face conversations increase my heart rate, prolonged eye contact makes me nervous, and I even avoid the phone when I can help it. I used to think that I didn’t love people, maybe didn’t even like them. Was it some sort of “social phobia”, or was it just plain self-centeredness? Honestly, given the fact that, "The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), I’m sure that sometimes it IS fear or self-centeredness. So I often ask God to show me when love of self has taken hold and kept me from communicating with others.
It has taken me a long time to appreciate and embrace the way God has wired me. In spite of shyness, introverts tend to be very compassionate and intuitive, along with a whole host of other strengths that go along with this personality type. I’ve learned that as I step out of my “loner” comfort zone, God gives me the confidence and grace to reach out to people, and it usually ends up being a huge blessing.
I’ve come to see that I truly do love communicating with people, but that oftentimes it is just the “style” of communicating that makes me avoid it. Thankfully, along came additional means of “relating” with others: e-mail, instant messaging, facebook and texting … and joy of joys, they all use the written word, which is the perfect style for introverts.
My daughter is moving to another state and we want to “talk” everyday, so I took the plunge and signed up for unlimited texting with our cell phone plan. I got a phone with a Qwerty keyboard, so I won’t have to hunt-and-peck using the numbers, and I am getting faster the more I practice. With my cell phone tucked conveniently in the side pocket of my purse, I feel like my family and friends are just a key punch away from a simple, “Hey there, how’s your day going?”, “I miss you”, or “I’m at Wal-Mart, need anything?” When my daughter recently took a trip, I snapped a picture of her two Golden retrievers with my cell phone and sent it, along with the text message, “We wuvvers ooo, Mama!” She got a kick out of it, and it made home seem not so far away.
E-mailing is great, providing lots of time to think about what you want to say, correct any mistakes, and write lengthier notes. Instant messaging drives me crazy with the frustrating overlap and timing of responses. However, now that I’ve tried text messaging – well, I love it!
It goes without saying that texting should never take the place of “real life” face-to-face conversation. We still need to physically be in one another’s presence, look into each other’s eyes, and offer hospitality in our homes. Texting does not enable us to pour out our hearts in lengthy in-depth communication. But I do think it is one nifty little means of keeping us introverts (and extroverts!) in touch with other human beings, expressing an interest in their lives, sharing bits of humor, sending pictures with silly text - a simple easy way of letting someone else know you care about them. And the coolest thing about texting is that it’s “instant”. No checking the calendars to arrange a visit, or waiting until you get home to the computer or telephone.
I used to think that all the cyber communication upon which this younger generation relies will make them unable to relate to other people in person; and I still think there is a danger of this happening. However, just like any other tool or gift that God allows man to invent, it can be used for His glory, or become a hindrance to deeper relationships. Texting is a fun tool, but needs to be “kept in its place” in the arena of communication. As an introvert, I can use it as a stepping-stone to reaching out to people, or as a wall to hide behind in my shyness.
If you are timid, try texting. You might be surprised at how God uses it in your life, as well as in the lives of others. I know I have.
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