Alright, I admit it; I confess. It is 3:34pm right now and I’ve checked Facebook probably 8 times – make that 9. I just got a notification while writing that sentence and checked it again. I confess I’m one of those people with the terrible habit of using my phone as an alarm clock so it’s the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see every morning. Most days, today included, before I’ve even cracked my second eyelid to the blinding morning sun, I’ve unlocked the touch screen and scrolled through the newsfeeds of my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email and Pinterest accounts.
I know. It’s a bit much. I might need a little help in this area… okay a lot. I can admit that. But quitting is tough, really tough, especially when my world is so intrinsically wrapped up in social media and technology. I’ve heard it dozens of times from frustrated parents, confused seniors and anyone who’s had the privilege of talking to a teen whose nose is glowing a bright blue hue from a vibrant phone screen. What ever happened to mud pies and bicycles? Don’t kids go outside anymore? I wish we could go back to simpler times. Kids can’t go anywhere these days without their phones. They just don’t know how to talk to each anymore. Perhaps there’s a semblance of truth hidden in these observations and, while there are days I feel chained to my phone, I’m tremendously grateful for the world of possibilities social media and technology have allowed me to enjoy in my young life.
Twitter allows me to know the road conditions anywhere on the province in the dead of winter and make safe informed decisions about my plans for travel. Instagram keeps me connected with movements like Think Orange that keep me informed and current in my methodology in Next Generation ministry. Facebook (while I admit has become an over piled trash bin for recipes, clever memes and airing filthy laundry) allows me to contact full teams of volunteers instantly with a message of a few short sentences, and advertise with an entire community for upcoming events. Pinterest carefully catalogues an endless world of creative ideas into an accessible and practical tool useful for bringing new life and energy to ministry and home life. I could go on but I think you catch my drift! For all the bad, there’s a world of good too!
I believe that our challenge as followers of Christ is to learn how to use social media in a healthy way that reflects kingdom values. Technology and social media can be our greatest asset to a vibrant life of faith and community if we can navigate the roadblocks that our own lusts set up for us. I believe it naturally begins with honest self-reflection. It means asking ourselves a few tough questions and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our own hearts to lead and guide us to that healthy place where we are able to grow and He is honoured.
So, I dare you to take a few moments this week to think about these questions. Just a little homework to keep you growing!
- Am I more connected with the social media world than I am to the spiritual world? Do I spend more time reading newsfeeds than the Good News?
- Does the content I consume and contribute on social media reflect Paul’s affirmation to us in Phil. 4:8 to, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable”?
- Do I allow my connectedness with the social media world to disconnect me from those in the world around me in real time?
- Are there areas in my online persona and world that I do not reflect Christ?
- Laying aside my own struggles and personal bias, what does it look like for a healthy disciple to use social media?
It might take a few confessions from a few repentant LinkedIn Tweeters on Facebook but with the grace of God we can redeem social media for the Kingdom of God unfolding in the world and in our own hearts. I mean it.