This day and age, people choose Social Media to feel connected to one another. They crave community and scroll through endless feeds in order to feel some kind of connection to the outside world. Yesterday, my adorable, brave friend Carmen spoke at MOPS about the dangers of being distracted by social media, phones and screens. It’s become a sad truth that people spend more time making eye contact with a screen than a person. We were created with the purpose of spending time together with one another. We were created for interaction and community. When I spend too much time looking at my phone, it makes me feel physically ill. There have been times where the kids are busy doing something, Daisy is asleep, Jordan is at the station and I will literally get lost in my phone. The lure of the screen and wonder of what everyone is doing is strong. I feel pulled to look at Pinterest to find my next project or perfect recipe. I feel pulled to Instagram to scroll and look at what all my “friends” are up to, maybe even become inspired to try something new. It’s a mindless thing, it is never intentional. I purposefully DELETED my Facebook. Not DEACTIVATED, where all your information is saved for whenever you want to log on again… DELETED! I have thirty days to change my mind… that’s where they get ya. If you sign on during those 30 days, your deletion period starts back over again. I have made a commitment to be completely done with that part of my social media life.
I have been reading this book called, Quit Like a Woman and it’s about living a sober life in a culture obsessed with alcohol, but she has a lot of good points for daily decision making. If something is stealing pieces of me, or not putting me on a road to the life I want to lead – it has to go. If there are multiple places in your life where you’re giving of yourself, get rid of the one that’s killing you FIRST. Social media addiction can have the power to steal your very life from you. Your eyes constantly diverted to the screen instead of those around you. Getting angry at your kids for interrupting your train of thought while you’re reading a post or looking at something on your phone. Missing out on the real life that you are living. For me, Facebook was on my list of things that was not putting me in line with my life vision. It had to go, and immediately. It made me angry and frustrated and created in me a comparison mindset. I have not really been the girl that looks at others with envy, and somehow Facebook was doing that to me.
I have found that the most meaningful moments I have are in true conversation with my “herd.” I am one of the lucky ones in this aspect. I know a lot of people are in towns or seasons of their life where it feels like they don’t have anyone. To these people I say, GO FIND THEM! But for me, I live in a town where both my husband’s and my families live here. My kids are growing up around their cousins and both sets of grandparents, and for this I am truly thankful. I have a solid set of friends that I could tell my deepest darkest secrets to, cry with and call if I need anything. This is the season I am in and it would be silly of me to waste my days lost in social media. Instead, I frequently see my friends, spend every Sunday at my in-law’s house for lunch, work with my Mom, meet up with my sisters and reach out to people that I want to see face-to-face and not just over Instagram (because, I kept Instagram… because, I love it.) I have gone through a very difficult 2 years since the traumatic birth of my daughter and have had my family and friends by.my.side. There has been a lot of fear of what others will think of me but I have not felt abandoned in this time. My community has got my back. As I was thinking about the words “connection” and “community” a few bible verses came to mind.
James 5:16 “Confess and acknowledge how you have offended one another and then pray for one another to be instantly healed, for tremendous power is released through passionate, heart-felt prayer of a godly believer!”
If you know my friend Carlin, this bible verse should be posted in her house. Whenever I meet with her, she usually prays over our conversation, current situation or even an unknown future. Her prayers have been known to be backed by random cracks of thunder and will often bring me to tears. Her words are gracious and hopeful and I feel truly loved. THIS is the kind of connection we are called to.
Proverbs 27:17 “ It takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade, and so one person sharpens the character of another.”
This verse is touching on the Godly correction or graceful calling out of a sin that needs addressing. I have had many moments with friends or family gently pointing out a fault of mine. It’s never easy (like a blade being sharpened) but it always makes me sharper. I have had so say things to people close to me, often in fear that I will offend or even lose a friendship, but it has proven to create strength in the relationship or in the person.
Matt 18:20 “For wherever two or three come together in honor of my name, I am right there with them!”
Obviously, God’s presence is constant. This verse is speaking on meeting to pray or plan, He will be at work right alongside you if we are seeking Him during the process. I have seen God do mighty things above and beyond what was even prayed for after diligently seeking after Him alongside others.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them towards acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to PULL AWAY and neglect MEETING together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”
I really feel like this verse might speak for itself. God does beautiful things when we are in community. We were not made to live in isolation, living vicariously through one another on social media, but living the lives WE were made to live.
Romans 1:12 “Now, this means that when we come together and are side by side, something wonderful will be released. We can expect to be co-encouraged and co-comforted by each other’s faith!”
This verse is beautiful. Just re-read it and let those words sink in. “…something wonderful will be released.” (insert heart-eyes emoji x10!!!)
Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list by any means of verses about community and connection. It is merely a drop in the bucket. The call on our lives is to live it together. Whether that means you are investing into your children’s lives every day, putting the phone down to be more present with them, or setting aside a screen for time with your husband. Getting out of your PJ’s and off of Netflix for an evening with a close group of friends. Unplugging for an entire vacation to take in all of the beautiful scenery and experiences. Letting go of the dangerous comparison game and recognizing your life for the miracle it is. Staring into your baby’s eyes while they nurse instead of scrolling through pinterest or Instagram for the zillionth time. Getting on your knees to play with your kid during bathtime instead of zoning out on your phone while they play alone. BE with those around you. Let your eyes look at their eyes and let your lips speak words to their ears.
Don’t let the days scroll by.
Edit: I also want to mention that if you are in a place where you don't have a herd or community, find a local MOPS group, church small group, group exercise class, book club... Something! Your people are waiting for you to find them!
Also, the verses are from The Passion Translation.