The social media feed never ends. Think about it…You were on your way to bed just last night and thought,
I have five minutes before it’s bedtime. I’ll just check my feed real quick since I haven’t been on since my lunch break. Maybe someone responded to my Marketplace post. I only have five minutes, and that’s plenty of time for me. I don’t need to be on here all night anyway.
The first video you see is a church member’s post of their three-month old cooing back and forth with daddy. You couldn’t help but to read the comments of all your fellow church members who were just as in awe. The video itself was 2.5 minutes. By the time you stop reading all of the comments, you are now with one minute left to scroll.
Log off now? Of course not…that’s not fair. I only saw one post!
So you scroll…and scroll…and scroll.
I rather not go into the statistics behind our obsession with social media. We’ve all been told whether in lectures from classrooms, pulpits or family vacations that we are doomed, lazy and mindless. We know we are obsessed. The failure to admit this is absurd. Even if you deleted all of your social media, think about how many times you’ve had to reinstall the app on your phone. Better observation: how little control do we have of this fixation to be forced to delete the app rather than just not opening it?
I am most guilty of my obsession with these apps. Not just because everyone is doing it, but because of the pseudosecurity that it gives me. I would not naturally say that I am diagnosed with FOMO (“the Fear Of Missing Out”), yet when I have not opened my Instagram for 13 hours, I feel this unspoken pressure to log on. As if my virtual presence would suffice being with my good friend hundreds of miles away. The fear should still remain, because I am still in Tennessee while my friend is in Japan. I am still missing out on her experience, but now I secure myself in this virtual reality. It is a real fear paired with an unrealistic comfort.
The art of unplugging gives us the real, authentic kind of security that we constantly seek. We see who is really in our circle. We see what our reality truly is. We see what God is really doing.
Loneliness has to be the most dreaded, yet most relatable feeling of every living being. Turn to your book shelf, movie collection, calendar, or even the zoo. There is always a relationship to be sought after, romantic or not. The idea of being alone absolutely scares us (even us introverts!). And…where do we often turn to cope with loneliness? You got it…social media. It usually goes something like this:
*People you may know*
Wow. I think I saw him in the cafeteria at work today.
Can’t wait for him to respond. *Clicks page and begins to stalk*
YAY. HE ADDED ME!
I stalk him, He stalks me…now we KNOW each other. Even though, I have not talked to you about what I have observed, I pretty much know you. I mean, I get that everything I saw was my interpretation of what you wanted me to see, but I get that too. Now, let me like all of your pictures so you KNOW that I’m getting to know you.
And boom. Your friend circle has widened. How insane. But how true?
My goodness…we do this over and over and over again. Never really getting to know anyone, but living in a reality of knowing everyone. Log off, and see who really knows you.
If you are anything like me, you have a comfy couch, Christmas lights and a bag of hot Cheetos in the middle of your brain. It’s your comfort zone. When things are tough externally, you run up there and hide. No one can enter in. Nothing can leave unless you want it to. It’s your safe place. You are fully in control of it at all times.
Now, whether we realize it or not, our minds are not a safe place. As much as we believe there are walls, there really isn’t any. There is actually a fence…a gated one, at that. We don’t have the key to the door, or maybe we do, we just can’t figure out which key is which. Sometimes we are inside the gate, and other times we step outside. But so does everything else that we allow our senses to experience. We want to be in control but constantly put ourselves in positions of complete powerlessness…especially with social media.
I would love to make reality be what I want it to. That is why my page looks like it does. That is why I smile the majority of the time…I would love to be as happy as I make myself appear. If only the split second of laughter could sum up my entire life story…it’s just not true.
Look back through your posts and look at that beautiful sunrise you captured from your beach trip. Now remember that same sunset you planned to post, but instead were in the bathroom wailing at life circumstances back home? Or the other picture of you dancing in the rain when five minutes after, you fall and bust your lip on the sidewalk, because the candid stuff was a little out of control. What about the “Happy Anniversary” post for your spouse when you really don’t even sleep in the same bed anymore?
What is real is real…we can post a billion different pictures of how we want life to be. Let’s try unplugging. Surely we can spend more energy making our quality of life better rather than the quality of our posts.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”
1 Corinthians 2:9
No eye has seen (nor will ever see), no ear has heard (nor will ever hear), nor the heart of man imagine (nor will ever imagine) if we do not be with the One who has prepared for it all.
Sweet friends, we are scrolling because we are empty. We are trying to find some treasure at the end of the timeline, but I am here to calm your frenzy…you are looking in the wrong direction. It is not down at our phones but “To You I lift my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!” (Ps. 123:1). If we flip through the pages of the Word of God like we do our timelines, we would be radiantly and unimaginably transformed.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
I challenge us to unplug. Let FOMO sink in, because if life is found at our fingertips, we are missing out on an incredible amount of living and that, indeed, should be feared.