The Handcuffs of Social Media

9:25 AMHeather

Major revelation as I wrapped up a nearly 3 month study in the book of John. I've been in awe and challenged and changed and transformed by these weeks I've poured over the incredible book of John, seeing Jesus in new light.  Seeing myself in the Pharisees more often than the Jesus followers.  Seeing God's grace on grand display.  

So, I went into my last day with a climactic expectation of a fabulous ending.  I mean, this book has to end with a bang!  Surely.

But the ending nearly made me giggle--along with the sting of recognition with which I saw myself in the last story.  Full humanness on display.  Sorta the author John's way to warn us about how we might respond to this incredible book of the Bible. Or even Jesus in general as we make our way to follow him.

Here was my take away.  Social media makes me like Peter.  Peter, as in, Peter the disciple.  Who denied Jesus three times after Jesus was arrested.  Who answered Jesus, after his resurrection, with a bit of exasperation each of the three times that Jesus asked him if he loved him.

That Peter.  So, this thrice questioning and answering session has occurred and Jesus tells Peter to follow him.  (As in at that moment--not in the general call to obedience).

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them...When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"  Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?  You must follow me."
John 21:20-22

This is the way I see it.  Peter denied Jesus three times.  Jesus poured out grace and redemption by three times asking Peter if he loved him.  Peter declared his love and his intention to live out that love for Jesus from that day forward.  Huge.  So Jesus says--hey, Peter.  Come with me.

Peter starts on this road of obedience that is going to lead him to be the "cornerstone of the church" that God will build after Jesus ascends into heaven.  With Peter at the helm. 

And Peter looks back, over his shoulder.  

Peter takes that first step in this new exciting call to be part of history...and he looks over his shoulder and says, "HEY!  What about HIM?  That guy?  John? What about him?"

Oh, Peter.  Can't even take step one without looking around to see who else is coming, hot on your heels.  To become a contestant in the comparison game. Jesus picks Peter up after his epic failure of denial and dusts him off and says, "If you love me, take care of my people."  Peter responds with a resounding YES!  I'm in!  He jumps onto the path for his race of faith...and immediately looks over his shoulder.

I really picture his face kinda like that girl in green.  Sorta conveys an "Uh oh!  WHO is catching up with me?  WHAT is that person doing?"  And honestly, I wonder if John's face was a bit smug like that girl in white.  I mean, he does confidently call himself the one whom Jesus loved.  And he did write this book...consciously pointing out for all mankind to see how Peter was a bit worried about who was nipping at his heels.  

Don't we do the same?  I thought about this story all day after reading it.  I realized how often I look over my shoulder.  Which brought to mind my Biblical passage for this year about how Mary chose the one thing necessary when she sat at Jesus feet, listening to His teaching.  While her sister Martha was distracted with much and basically told Jesus what Peter had said.  "HEY!  Jesus.  What about her?  What about the other guy? Make my sister help me!"

Deeply convicted.  In my eagerness to press through impossible walls that keep me delivered but shut out of freedom, I recognized that this tendency to look over my shoulder throws me off course.  It messes with my rhythm.  It gets me out of sync in my race of faith.

And this habit of looking over my shoulder basically translates to a mom who is tied to her phone or iPad.  Looking through social media.  Seeing what the other guy is up to.  Yes, at times, out of concern and curiosity and eager to keep up with old friends.  There are genuine and positive motivations and results from social media.  But right now, I am also recognizing that frenzy in my gut when I see what the other guy is doing and it makes me basically sound like Peter.  "Hey! WHAT about HIM?  Or her? Look at what THEY are doing!"

And Jesus says, "What about them?  You just worry about your race.  You just follow me."

Drastic times call for drastic measures.  Because I've been playing around with this long enough.  I realized something as I wound up the study of John, preparing myself for the next study on the book of Acts.  If I want to be like Peter, embracing God's call for MY life, for MY race, throwing myself into the work of being used as never before to accomplish what has never been accomplished and tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit, so that I can throw off every sin and hindrance that entangles me...then I gotta quit looking over my shoulder.  

When I turn my eyes to the other guy, then are being turned away from Jesus.  

So, for now, I'm taking off the handcuff of social media.  I intend to post my blog link on Facebook.  And I might hop on to offer a birthday wish or send a particular message.  But, I desperately want to free myself from the frenzy of comparison that keeps tripping me up.  

For now, that means stopping the habit of scrolling through newsfeeds for long periods of time.  Or at stop lights.  It means learning to unwind the habit that literally feels like a physical itch or need to check in on the world.  Through Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  Looking to see how "they" are doing.  And translating that to a mark of how I'm doing, too.

I'm getting off the crazy train for now.  And since I've announced it here, for the world to know, then I'm basically saying I really need to take a breather and you might need to call me out.  

I've been working on this for a couple of days.  Here's what I've already seen.  I have a compulsion to check in on social media.  I believe that would actually be called an addiction.  And like trying to avoid a food temptation, telling myself to just stop makes me think about it more.  So, I'm trying to replace it with something else.  

Hey!  Here's a thought!  What would happen if I was looking into the Word of God or pray or making actual physical contact with people every time I was tempted to look at social media?

On day three...that is my game plan.  I downloaded a new Bible memorization app and that is what I look at while sitting in car pool line.  I actually left my phone on the charger for long spells and sorta, you know, engaged with the people I live with over breakfast and homework.  I created some new play lists so I can listen to music to fill some lulls.  And I downloaded some new books to my Kindle app. 

That's as far as I've gotten.  My husband asked me how long I was planning to tackle this media fast?  

My answer was I don't know.  I really don't know.  I just know that I have a problem.  And I want to be like the Peter who leads the charge in the book of Acts to build the church and meet the needs of those around him and be engaged with those who crossed his path.  

I don't want to be like the Peter who is literally walking with the resurrected Jesus and is distracted as he looks over his shoulder at the other guy.  

Social media.  It has so many benefits.  I think it's similar to anything in life, when used in moderation with proper motivation and responsible use, it's a good thing.  Even beneficial.  But when the user moves beyond those parameters, it can be a handcuff.  Tying you into the habit of comparing.  Stealing your joy.  Tripping you up.

Deep breath.  

Here I go!  We'll see how this goes.  I will keep you posted and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Bloggy friends, y'all hold me to it.

By calling or texting or emailing or--hey--when you see me in person!  And if you are slipping up behind me--I may not see you.  I'm trying to not look over my shoulder, you know.  

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Contact Form