Thursday, June 18, 2015

Being Sapped By the Apps

My first computer was a Macintosh 512K, given to me in 1985 by a kind friend who was an Apple dealer. He figured it was about time for me to become liberated from my electric typewriter and enter the new and exciting world of word processing. He was right. Even in its primitive state, the 512K changed my life in many ways.

If you’re old enough to remember, the 512K was a slower-than-molasses machine with a tiny black-and-white screen that could hide in a corner of my present iMac monitor. Only at the time, we didn’t know it was slower than molasses. We just figured snail’s pace was how desktop computers were supposed to operate.

I remember writing for a few minutes and – having learned the hard way about the necessity of periodically saving the work you’d done – selecting “Save” from the menu. (We used to quip that Jesus wasn’t the only one that saves.) The computer would grind away, as if trying to figure out what to do with the data – sentences and paragraphs I’d just keyed in. It took so long I’d pray that the power wouldn’t go out before my eloquent words could be preserved.

Apps can sap the energy on our smartphones,
tablets - and in our minds.
Fast-forward to today, when computers of all kinds, including smartphones, possess far more power and capacity than room-sized computers did back in the “olden days.” Even applications – we know them as “apps” – offer possibilities for work, entertainment, information and efficiency that seemed inconceivable just a few decades ago. Ah, the wonders of technology!

Of course, as with many things, there are drawbacks. One is that apps can provide instant access to almost anything we want or need, but also can drain the power from our rechargeable devices. It took a while to realize that unless I fully closed out an app, it would continue running in the background, draining power from the battery. I couldn’t just bounce from app to app if I wanted to continue using my iPad or iPhone for an extended time without having to recharge it. Now I consistently close apps not in use. Beware of being sapped by the apps!

A similar principle affects the “computers” between our ears. We have “apps” – apprehensions, anxieties, worries and fears – that all can sap us emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. They too can “run in the background,” plaguing our subconscious even as we’re trying to concentrate on other matters.

Some time ago a personal issue arose that wasn’t going to be resolved quickly. I spent much of the day attempting to work as usual, but felt like I was running in place, expending a lot of energy but not going anywhere. Then it occurred to me – my “apps” of apprehension and worry were humming in the back of my mind, depleting my mental resources.

What do we do at times like that? Fretting over circumstances might not be very productive, but often it feels like we’re doing something about the problem, even if it’s just worrying. But there’s a better solution.

We can do as the apostle Paul urged: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). We often say we’re trusting God to handle the various trials we encounter, but are we refusing to close out our “apps,” allowing our worries and fears to wear us down?

The apostle Peter expressed similar thoughts when he wrote, “Casting all your anxiety on him (Jesus) because he cares for you.” Then he warned: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:7-9).

So we can let apprehensions and concerns consume us, sapping our spirits as we let them flourish in our subconscious minds. Or by faith we can turn them over to God, believing – and acting upon the belief – that He is more than able to handle whatever challenges we face.

Admittedly, that’s easier to say than to do. But it’s the only way we can truly experience “the peace that passes all understanding” we’re promised, if only we’ll accept it.

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