I had a Samsung Black Jack for a couple of
years–the cute little red one. Unfortunately, my dog chewed on it one
too many times, and some of the buttons stopped working. It did not
receive emails, and picture texts were 30 cents each. My husband, who
adores his iPhone, kept trying to persuade me to get one as well. It
just seemed like too much work to me. Finally after my Black Jack had
received it’s last phone call and promptly died, I decided it was time
to get an iPhone. After all, it would be nice to have all of those
apps, right?


Everyone kept telling me, "If you get an iPhone
you will love it!" I wasn’t totally convinced, but after a week of
app-ing it up and texting pictures like crazy, I admit: I love this
thing. 
This morning when I was walking into the office,
checking my emails on the elevator, I realized why people love the
iPhone. Simply put, it makes them feel important. It makes them feel
needed. It makes them feel that they are a supply in demand.

Think
about the first people who started to carry pocket watches. These were
the wealthy gentlemen who were imperative to society like the doctor
and the mayor. Their time was so precious and their schedule so
important that they had to have access to the time constantly. Before pocket
watches, I am sure no one was ever on time. Nothing was pressing and no
appointment was set in stone. But those people who carried time with
them constantly–they were needed; they were important.

Again
we saw this phenomenon with automobiles. All of the sudden someone’s
affairs were so important that they had to have faster, more efficient
transportation in order to get to their highly exclusive and
significant events. I am convinced, that new technology is addicting
because it gives people this false sense of self-worth. Any history
teacher or stay at home mom can suddenly be the coolest and trendiest
person with the help of that new great thing. Do you remember the first
family in your neighborhood that got a desktop computer? Now they were cool.

On
one hand, feeling important can be good for one’s psyche. It is the
fake-til-you-make-it philosophy. I feel important, so I will act
important. It is amazing what a little blind confidence can do for
someone. But on the other hand, self-importance seems to be something
swallowing our culture whole. Everyone wants to be famous. Everyone
wants to be cool, creative, artsy. Everyone wants to have a blog—oh,
wait a second …

Everyone wants to feel important. I
cannot accept this phenomenon at face value; I think this goes much
deeper to an incarnate need we have as humans to feel valued and
adored. Every person seeks to meet this need. Amazonian tribal members,
who don’t own iPhones, seek importance through the acceptance and
respect of the tribe’s elders. Infants seek to know their value
displayed on their parents’ faces and in the tone of their voices. And
twenty-somethings with tiny seedling careers, like me, we seek it
through the iPhone.

While the search for self-importance, the
search for self-worth, can be extremely destructive when sought through
artificial means, this ardent search is unavoidable. It is one reason
why we get married, why we have careers and why we have children. It
is our default setting, designed by God to make us eternal seekers for
what is true, lovely and pure. I think God knew that we would, in a
search for worth, pour our lives into our communities, into our
children, and into others. I don’t think it is an accident or wrong
that we do this. Some people might protest that we should not seek to
find meaning through avenues aside from Christ, but I believe that when
our efforts are relational and not self-seeking, we find God there. One
of the greatest surprises in life is when we realize our worth in
Christ, and we weren’t even looking for it.

Kate Blackwell is a twenty-something Floridian who enjoys good coffee, good company, and a room with a view. She blogs about all three.