The Battle of Gadgetlust


It happened innocently enough. I was at the parish activity center, covering PSR (which is one of the things I do as a parish employee), when one of the catechists mentioned the new iPad mini.

There was a lull (there always is), and I logged onto my iPad and checked out Apple’s product announcement page.

My immediate reaction, after the initial “I LOVE IT! I MUST HAVE IT!” was to start saying, over and over, “I can live without it.”

Yes, when I got home, I did mention it to my husband.

And yes, I’m so totally NOT in the market for it right now…my laptop is limping along (thank you, Attack of the Household Destructoboy) and that will be my next investment.

But this inner dialogue–this desire for the latest and greatest of gadgets–isn’t just me. Some of my closest friends struggle with it, too (one of them has even identified her stages, which are very similar to mine). And I’ll bet at least a few of you do, too.

The struggle I face, when I look at my gadgetlust eye-to-eye, is identifying that fine line between need, want, and lust. Because there is one there, and I have to keep it in sight, lest it start taking over my approach to things.

Recently, in a discussion about a smartphone (and my sorta-kinda-maybe wanting one), my husband pointed something out to me.

“I think it would be too much temptation for you.”

He’s right (and he’s very charitable, too).

So no smartphone. But what about the other ten gadgets and devices and things?

I’m connected. Left and right and upside down. I’ve learned, over the years, how to balance it, but that balance is never far from my consciousness. It doesn’t just happen in my life. I have to make it happen. I have to be the one in control.

It’s not about having the gadgets or not having them, at least not right now. Right now, I’m looking at my interior approach, at my attachment and desire.

It’s yet another proof to me about the wisdom of considering the Gospel call to poverty. If I read Matthew 19 and consider whether I would be able to sell my possessions to follow Jesus, I catch myself asking which possessions, exactly, he wants me to sell…

And, that, my friends, is where it’s at for me. It’s an ongoing struggle.

As I try to remain distant from my desire, I also try to give it to Jesus. He carries these burdens far better, and he’s better at the fight.

A friend recently told me she’s facing a similar struggle. “I know I don’t need this stuff,” she said. “But the real challenge is not talking about it, not complaining about it, not making it more than it is.”

Yeah. Me too.

Do you have any tips for the Battle of Gadgetlust? What helps you?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard

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