I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I go to the store, my main goal isn’t to get what I want, but instead it’s to get out fast. I don’t want to spend lots of time in the store, so I try to get what I need as fast as possible and get out of there. I’ve even joked with my fiancée in grocery stories by saying, “Oh look. I see my favorite cashier”, as I point to the self-checkout section. However, I’ve recently felt convicted that maybe I’m living my life in the wrong way.
Personally, I have two jobs and I’m in my last semester in my Masters program. In short, I’m busy. You’re probably busy, too. Being busy quickly fills up your week, so we’ve been forced to learn how to manage our time. However, I’ve learned that my idea of time management looks a lot like minimizing my time with people.
For example, I avoid cashiers because I’m in a hurry. I don’t always hang out with people on certain days, since I have to do homework or go home and sleep, since I have work early the next day. Or maybe you’re out being productive and see someone you know, but you avoid them, since you don’t want to get caught up in a conversation, since you’re busy. Can you relate to this? I know a lot of people struggle with this.
Now, I know you’re busy and you can’t just uproot your lifestyle and change everything. I mean, you have a job and/or going to school and I’m not calling you to forgo all those important pursuits. Instead, my challenge to you is the same challenge I have given myself: I have chosen to give up the self-checkout for a month.
A month isn’t a huge commitment. It’s manageable, it’s not like I’m saying I’m going to hang out with everyone who asks me to hang out. Instead, when I walk into a grocery store or any store with a self-checkout, I will choose to be go to the cashier. And I make this commitment, since I feel it’s really important.
I feel like as technology advancements are made, our relational skills are being diminished, while also having our relational needs being increasingly unfulfilled. Just look at people who spend the majority of their days looking at their phone. Have you ever seen a group of people gathered together and everyone of them are looking at their phones? That’s a small glimpse of what I’m talking about.
We don’t interact with people as much as we used to. Kids don’t go outside and play together as much. Instead, they stay in and play video games online together, but at separate houses. And instead of calling our friends, we resort to texting them, since it’s more convenient for us. However, texting people isn’t the same as truly talking to people face-to-face, or even talking to them on the phone.
I don’t think this was what life was ever intended to be. I don’t think we’re meant to spend more time looking at screens than people. I don’t think we’re meant to spend our life avoiding people in certain ways. I don’t think we’re meant to find our relational needs met talking to someone on Social Media. We were made more for so much more.
Now, I don’t expect you to have a severe case of avoiding people, but everyone, including myself, has been guilty of doing this in some way. And does it at least worry you how some people live their life separated from people? Doesn’t it wake you up to maybe make people more a priority in your life? I know I don’t want to end up being someone who prioritizes tasks over people.
And this is what brings me back to the self-checkout.
The self-checkout is a small part of my life. I’m not there 40 hours a week or there to get my Masters. I’m just there a small part of my life. So, it’s not that hard to give it up. It’s also a helpful reminder to me to not be too busy for people.
I shouldn’t put my own needs over talking to someone. I have an endless list of things to do, but one of those things now is occasionally talking to a cashier. It’s a easy way to show interest in someone other than myself (and my to-do list) and an easy way to remind me I was made for so much more than accomplishing tasks.
So, be busy, keep working, keep going to school, keeping living your life, and keep your to-do list, but just try to keep people on that to-do list, since we’re made for so much more than our to-do lists.