Someone cold-called me this morning. Supposedly, my computer has been downloading unwanted programmes without my knowledge. I hate this kind of call, because I always assume that someone is trying to sell me something I don’t want. Part of me couldn’t help worrying, however. What if he was right? How would I know if my computer’s at risk? This is my biggest issue with technology: I don’t properly understand it – and therefore it scares me.
I’m old enough to remember when a home computer was a novelty. My children, on the other hand, can’t imagine a world without mobile phones and Twitter. I am still astounded by the fact that I can order something one day and have it delivered the next, whereas my kids take these things for granted.
I’ve wrestled with the fear factor in my writing, too. What if I’m not good enough? What if nobody wants to read what I’ve written? Is it even worth starting something if I’m not sure I’ll get to the end of it? I like certainty – but writing makes me vulnerable. I’m a natural perfectionist – but committing my thoughts to paper or screen means being willing to expose my flaws to public scrutiny. I’m slowly learning to ignore the voice of panic in my head and to write anyway, but it’s a challenge at times.
Interestingly, one of the most frequently uttered commands in Scripture is “Do not fear.” (I guess that means I’m not the only one who struggles with this!) By its nature, faith means choosing to trust that which we don’t fully understand. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, but to enjoy the freedom and acceptance that he offers. “Perfect love drives out fear,” says John in his first letter (1 John 4:18, NIV). As we allow ourselves to receive more of God’s love, we give him permission to deal with the fears that can dominate our lives. When I look back over the last few years, I am amazed at how much God has done in me in this area. Not that I’m completely fearless, by any means – but I can see how God is gently helping me to build my trust in him.
Thankfully, I’m also overcoming my fear of technology. For a start, I’m writing this on my laptop. I can now check e-mails, book tickets online and look at Facebook far more often than I really need to. For my day-job, I have a brilliant music-notation programme that lets me write, edit and print music. And (sadly) I’ve become something of an expert on Minesweeper…