Before I get into this post, I want to make one thing clear. This is not going to be an anti-social media rant. At the end of this, I’m not going to have you bring all your social media accounts down to the altar where we light them on fire like you had to do with your secular music back in grade school (because apparently God only wants you to listen to one Christian song on the radio that is covered by 30 different artists).
I have numerous social media accounts, and have had some for quite a long time. I remember going to college and using a MySpace account. Yes, I even had my very own “top friends” list. I remember coming home from college my sophomore year to have my high school friends tell me about this brand new social media platform which only allowed you to signup if you have an email address provided by a college or university. And then, to my dismay, my college apparently wasn’t cool enough to make the cut. I remember checking back on this little site called “Facebook” to see if they had finally included our college.
I use social media and have yet to come to the conclusion that social media is evil. It can’t be because it doesn’t have a willful mind. Social media is a tool which, just like any other tool, can be used for both good and evil. No one looks at motorized vehicles and says, “Because a bank robber has used a vehicle as a getaway device, we should ban all motorized vehicles!” We recognize that cars have value. They can add something to our lives that wasn’t previously there. However, there are recognizable dangers vehicles provide which we take into account and have come to the conclusion the risk is worth the reward.
In the same light, social media can add something to our lives that wasn’t previously there. Before social media, we had to rely on the yearly holiday cards to see how our friends looked and how their kids were growing. Before social media, it was incredibly difficult to connect with businesses and people from the other side of the world. Now, we don’t have to slow down our computers by storing every photo we’ve ever taken, Facebook gladly does that for us. There are so many benefits to social media…when it’s used for the right purposes.
Living in a technology-driven world, it is nearly impossible to escape our devices. We take them with us on planes, in our cars, and even to the bathroom. And with that, there is a constant sense of distraction. We feel this constant pressure to check if something new has been added to our timeline. We want to know if we have finally received that email we’ve been waiting all day for. And this constant sense of urgency is where social media, and our lives, can become troublesome.
I understand fully that our lives are moving faster and faster into the digital age. However, despite the changing climate of the world, we need to recognize there is a time when we need to detach ourselves from our surroundings.
Let me give you a real-world example:
My wife and I live VERY busy lives. Many of you are in the middle of starting a family and raising young children or have been raising children for a long time. So, you know the struggle. How do I accomplish everything I need to accomplish in a day while still making time for my spouse? I mean, it was my love for my spouse which resulted in my marriage with her. And out of the fruitfulness of our marriage, we started having children. Very rarely does someone decide to start a family with someone they despise. The struggle then becomes how to spend time with the person you love the most in life. In order to spend quality time together, we plan dates together.
Now imagine this scenario on one of my dates with my wife. We are having an incredible dinner together. The food is good. The beverages are good. The atmosphere is good. But, the conversation is great! My wife is opening up about her feelings about her life and our family and about me. I then pull out my cell phone and take a photo of her. Then, I turn my head downward toward said cell phone to hashtag the mess out of how #blessed I am to how a #Proverbs31Woman as a wife…etc.
The reason I do this is to express to the world my feelings about my amazing wife and to let everyone else know how valuable she is to me. Except there’s one tiny little problem. In expressing my adoration of my wife to the world, the person I have chosen to neglect is my wife. This behavior seems counterproductive. Because it is! By turning my attention AWAY from my wife I have told her through my actions the way I chose to express my love to her is more important than her expression of her thoughts to me. This mindset of love is selfish. It is self-gratifying. It comes at the expense of the one I love.
When I am with my wife, I value those moments. I value her company. I value her thoughts and feelings. Yes, I am tempted to be distracted and often fall to the distractions around me. However, I am aware the distractions exist and do everything I know to do to fight them.
How does this scenario correlate to our quiet time? Our relationship with God is just that. A relationship. No relationship on earth can thrive without effective communication. Listening to what someone has to say is not enough. You have to be attentive to what someone is saying. Just as turning my attention away from my wife takes my attention off of what she is saying, the same things happens when we are in the middle of communicating with God and stop to post about it on a social media platform.
I strongly urge you to be selfish with your time spent with the Lord. Don’t allow the distractions around you rob you of what God has in store. We live in a world that is driven by social media. However, the status updates, notifications, emails, and everything else pressing on your mind can wait. Head the Word of the Lord spoken by the Psalmist,
Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10, ESV)!