“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Social media has seeped into every aspect of our lives. The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is now worth $245 billion. The reason why it’s so popular is because it allows us to keep in touch with people. It gives us the platform to express our opinions and our lives. And to be honest, it feels good when people respond to us. When comments show up on a recent post, it affirms who we are and what’s important to us.
But isn’t there something we’re missing amidst all the likes and comments? What about actual connection? Is Facebook something that exists for us just to keep tabs on each other? The truth is it’s easier to hide behind a computer screen than to engage people. Shouldn’t it really be called unsocial media?
I’ve begun policing myself by asking some hard questions: “Why am I posting this rather than calling a friend?” And, “If none of my friends were on Facebook, would I know what is going on in their lives?”
It seems paradoxical to be ambitious about leading a quiet, private life, but that is what the Apostle Paul asks of the Christians in Thessalonica. He was trying to stop the schemes of the busybodies of his day. I think we can take his advice in order to put balance in our lives.
Making real connections with the people God has put in our lives is the way we fulfill our destiny. Social media only resembles real connection. Putting down our devices and reaching a hand to the people directly around us gives us real significance.
Lord, show me my motivation for using social media. Am I keeping real connections with the people in my life? Is the draw of expressing my views and sharing my life with a bigger audience leading me away from the people you have placed in my immediate path? Show me how to use my time wisely and bring balance to my day. Amen.
Take a Facebook fast. Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media for a week. Or make a deal with yourself that for every check of your news feed or every post you make, you must call or meet face-to-face with one friend. (That’s right, call. Texting doesn’t count!)