I was watching an episode of The Book of John Gray on OWN. In case you don’t know who John Gray is, he is a pastor from Cincinnati, OH. I started watching him on television once when he was subbing for Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church. I enjoyed that he preached the Word of God, but also had a sense of humor while preaching. I had never seen a preacher be comical about his personal life but still takes the Word of God seriously. If you haven’t heard of him, take a look at his sermons on YouTube on his channel John Gray Ministries.
As I was saying earlier, I was watching an episode of his show. On this particular segment of this episode, Pastor John and the first lady, Aventer, took a group of kids out for their annual Teen Week. Usually, they would only spend time with the boys for the week, but this time Aventer suggested that Teen Week should be a mixture of boys and girls.
For two days, the teens could not have their phones. Pastor John and Aventer were forcing the kids to have an actual conversation. I cringed watching the teenagers trying to have a conversation with each other. They didn’t know what to ask or say to each other which was honestly sad. On the episode, they went to a trampoline park. Of course, they jumped and everything. They were challenged to split into groups and have conversations with one another to talk about what challenges they are facing in their lives. Tears flowed from their faces during their discussions, and the teens began to feel a connection with one another. As Pastor John said in the episode, “emotions cannot be seen from text messages.”
I was inspired by that episode to write this post to talk about how we need to have conversations with each other again. Teens are not the only ones who are addicted to their phones. We all have issues with not having thoroughdiscussions, whether we’re teenagers, young adults, and grown adults. We could be waiting for our food at our favorite fast food place, continually staring at our phones, instead of saying hello to the person standing next to us. It’s sad to see how we depend on our phones for our company instead of people. The babies and toddlers are already learning that communication isn’t necessary when they are given iPads and tablets. I’m not saying that iPads and tablets are wrong, but when you see the entire family using electronics during a family dinner/outing, that’s indeed pitiful.
I recently had a random conversation with another student on campus, and it felt really great to just talk to someone physically. I was able to know this student’s year, major, and what she wanted to do after college. That day, I realized how much we are out of touch with one another. I understand that people give this rude demeanor, but as a child of Christ I’ve learned that I have to look past those demeanors and have random conversations. We never know how many “friends” that we have passed by because we were afraid to speak to someone out of the blue. Since I’ve been in college, I have learned to open up and just talk. If I like someone’s hair or shoes, I give them a compliment. Sometimes people are mean and don’t respond. Sometimes people are friendly and enjoy the compliment.
There was a time in my life where I was scared to speak to random people because they were going to look at me weird, such as, “why are you talking to me?” or I was going to be laughed at right in my face. Those moments made me want to stay quiet for the rest of my life. As I become older, I understand that everyone is not going to like what I have to say. I can’t keep my mouth shut because I may gain a friend from speaking.
Conversations are meaningful because we can understand how a person is feeling from a situation. We can hear the laughter from a funny joke instead of just sending 20 laughing emojis when sometimes we may not actually be laughing behind the screen. We can listen to the cries and see the tears streaming from someone’s face when they are genuinely hurt. Also, we can see the anger and feel the wrath when someone is angry or disappointed. Again, all these emotions can’t come from text messages. Emojis won’t do us justice when we are really hurting behind that screen.
We use text messages as a crutch to avoid confrontation. We’re afraid to see how people actually feel. Like I recently told a friend, sometimes conversations may go the wrong way and sometimes they may go smooth. We can’t hide behind screens forever; we have to talk face to face again.
We also have to live in the moment again.
When we go out, we don’t have to record and take pictures of everything we’re doing at the event. We should enjoy that moment whether we’re alone or with people. Enjoy your family and friends while they are in your face because we know that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Enjoy those face to face conversations because you may not get another face to face conversation.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this and I encourage us all to start having face to face conversations without checking our phones and living in the moment. Have a great day, evening, or night.
Prayer: God, please work on us. You made us so that we can engage and fellowship with each other. Help us to get back to enjoying each other’s company. Help us to be grateful for life. In Your name, Amen!
Philippians 2:1 NET –  Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy,