Soul Detox, part 2

Monday I posted on the challenge of of soul detox and specifically, the impact of social media.  For some of you this isn’t relevant and you can stop reading, but many are asking things like:

  • If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts about it has it still fallen ?
  • If I don’t post pictures of all my child’s “firsts” do they still have a chance to get into Harvard or will they be in therapy?
  •  WWJT*
  • How many cat pictures are too many cat pictures?**

This month, Andy Crouch, the editor of Christianity Today wrote:

“The personal screen, especially with its attached and always available camera, invites us to star in our own small spectacle. As our social network chimes, blinks, and buzzes with intermittent approval, we are constantly updated on our success in gaining public affirmation. But having attracted us with the promise of approval and belonging, the personal screen can just as easily herald exclusion and hostility…”

I have wrestled with the power of social media as it affects my soul. As I’ve been thinking about this, I see at least 5 purposes for social media (and a lot of it is good!):

1.  Sharing information or resources.

2. Community connection and encouragement.

3. Mobilization of folks around a cause.

4. Self-promotion.

5. Self-promotion thinly disguised as sharing information. (See also, “humble brag”)

As a writer and a speaker wanting to reach others (hopefully FOR Jesus and in a way that honors HIM), the conventional wisdom says I have to communicate through social media.  Build a platform. Grow an audience. But whenever did Jesus go with conventional wisdom, right?

Whether your job “needs” a platform or not, social media can impact the health of your soul like sugar can affect the health of a diabetic.

When we post or scan or link or like, maybe we can ask ourselves:

In this moment is social media a tool or an idol?

  • Is this a tool that I am using in a way that will enable me to love God and others better?
  • Or is this an idol – tempting me to live out of my false self – the self that is dependent on titles and likes and comparison and promotion to be validated.

In addition to the potential toxicity, there’s also the distraction factor of social media.

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Let’s face it. We are all spiritually ADD and no amount of Ritalin is going to help. We are so bombarded with STUFF from the world that maybe cultivating some boundaries in order to focus on Jesus is a good strategy.

“Oftentimes the very things that look like opportunities are the things that later on distract us and derail us.” Michael Hyatt

I see tremendous value in social media. I just think we need to submit it, like everything, to God (which is hard!) I’m not sure the details of what’s best for me, so I’m continuing to pray. I’m asking “Lord are there boundaries of time, or sites, people, or posts that will help me love You and others better?”

“Do the right thing for the right reasons at the right time.” Greg Mckeown 

My reading this morning just “happened” to be warnings on idols from Deuteronomy. He is timely, eh? 🙂

“Don’t fool around with other gods, the gods of your neighbors, because God, your God, who is alive among you is a jealous God.” Deut. 6

I know this isn’t an issue for everyone, but I’m interested in hearing thoughts from those of you who have struggled in the area of social media and your soul.

*Tweet

**One is too many

6 Comments

  1. “If you have time for Facebook, you have time to seek His face in His book.”

    Heard at a women’s conference. So true.

    FB can be FaithBook, or FakeBook or FaceBoast or FaithBoost depending how we post and how we peruse. It can bring inspiration as links are shared to really great content, like your blog, Laura. Or it can be a time vacuum that leaves you empty and sometimes feeling “less than” as you see all the best bits of folks lives, all the cool places they have been with friends, family etc…

    I am sure twitter could have the same possibilities, but I will never know!

    Thanks for your blog. I get it via email so I don’t have to wander into the sometimes “waste land” of FB!

  2. Beautiful post, Laura – challenging without the guilt. Truly just simply thought-provoking and challenging. Social Media is here – and it’s here to stay – I just want to be wise. Always in my life, the spiritual challenge has been to serve others, love God and consider myself less – and this gets topsy turvy and interesting with SM – super easy to get back into the groove of “it’s all about me”! Lord, give us widsom! Love your reference to spiritual ADD! Reminds me of Screwtape letters. Love you, Laura! Keep encouraging us!

  3. Thank you Laura! Your blogs are powerful reminders to keep our lives centered on Christ. “In this moment, is FB a tool or an idol?” This is a great question to keep in mind — and — is it FaithBoost or FaceBoast? Very helpful! I know that I have done both! Keep it up — your messages are faith inspiring!

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