Social Media is like a fickle boyfriend……..

Eponine-A-Rose-in-Misery

“He slept a summer by my side, He filled my days with endless wonder,

He took my childhood in his stride, but he was gone when autumn came.”

“I Dreamed a Dream” From Les Miserable (Fantene)

Passionately singing this song, above the resounding notes of Sarah’s piano playing, the three girls in our family find this song  hauntingly beautiful. The image of a young girl, innocently convincing herself that she is deeply in love, giving her whole being to one who is there to consume her. When with child at the end of the summer, Eponine, the young girl, is left with scars, a pregnancy, responsibilities; her so-called lover is no where to be found.

I meet so many precious young women who gave themselves so such men. Women, longing for love, acceptance, purpose, a place to belong and to be validated, gave their souls to one who could never be a source of long-term love, strength or goodness.

So many voices lure us toward the very relationships and decisions that will, in the end, destroy our souls.

I see that social media, success, prominence, illusive material possessions, status–all fo these “Idols” could be this kind of boyfriend–here to entice you today, but gone tomorrow, where you are left to clean up a life with scars, loneliness and rejection or just silence, the  feeling of being invisible.

Social media is the newest version of promising what it cannot deliver. Thousands of friends, but no one who has the time to talk to me personally. Now social media has its place–we can write articles of encouragement to be read by others all over the world. We can connect with old friends and meet like-minded friends on the internet. We can show pictures of our children, birthdays, holidays. There are many amazing revelations through the internet.

But there is a possible down side to this is “just virtual” relationship. I do not deny that social media and the web can fill some very important needs in our lives and can give us information at a moment’s notice. But throughout history, life was never meant to be lived this way. God designed us to live in such a way as to leisurely be able to observe His handiwork, to breathe in creation with all of its color and variation. We were to  to see His beauty in the seasons, a rainbow, to feel the course of nature.

Relationships were to be slowly simmering through seasons of shared time, work, love, seasons and years, with a knowledge that people would be in our lives endlessly through our whole lives without ever moving to another location. The gentle comforting hands of God wiping away our tears; the heart-smile that comes from being mutually understood; joyful celebration of life milestones, as kindred spirits walked through the cost of ideals together–these are the deep fulfillments God intended us to share in real life with present and engaged friends. f

God intended that we have time to sit and ponder mysteries of the universe, to have to work out our thoughts, to have time to work and read and create food and gardens and the works of our hands. He longed for us to seek Him, His presence, His relationship to us as God and savior, to fill in our hearts’ needs–pondering and loving Him through time that is focussed on prayer.

God intended that we have real lovers, loyal, present friends, who would be here for us to celebrate life’s daily moments and the tragedies and momentous occasions.

However, contemporary culture has forgotten these realities.

Perhaps, on the internet, we build up a couple of thousand of friends–that does not mean they know us, our real lives, our silent aches of heart, our loneliness, our dreams, insecurities, needs or doubts, or love us. Often it just means, they, too, are trying to build their list. Our social networking friends cannot bring us a hot, delicious meal or a fall bouquet of blooming flowers when we are sick or depressed or just need to know we are on someone’s mind.

Our social media friends cannot hold our hand or give us a gentle embrace, when we  pray  through a heartbreak or  sit and drink a real cup of tea on the porch as we watch a fall sun melt into the sky, and share secrets. Our social media friends are not here to touch, see, experience, giggle, to validate the memories of real life.

Our children also long for us to see them as the important ones–they long for our words of love and laughter at their jokes and engaging in their hearts and attention. Our children are only with us for a window of time, to receive our attention, loving touch, tasty meals, to celebrate life as we pour into their souls. If we are looking to the internet for our relationships, our children will look for love and attention wherever else they can find it–away from us.

We are their first choice, but they will settle for others if their needs are not met at home with our intentional and present attention.

Suppose, we get lots of comments on our blogs today, or an increasing number of visits. The pressure is on to try to keep that going tomorrow. If we feel good when people respond, must we feel bad about ourselves if they don’t leave a comment? If we are one of the most popular blogs or web sites today, eventually there will be a “cuter girl on the block”, where people will search for something more, something new, leaving us longing for the same affirmation and love we sought in the beginning.

I think that many young women become addicted to social media and neglect their families and children out of a God given desire to be loved, to have friends who care, to feel a sense of importance–to push away the feeling that we are invisible in this world of ours. The desire to be loved and known and validated is God-given. Yet, He intended for us to have real community where we are loved and have a place to fit with family–cousins, grandparents, parents, siblings. For thousands of years, neighbors were to be those who knew you your whole life, who were there for you in the tragedies and celebrations of life. Purpose and meaning came out of relating and giving of ourselves to a community of people called to live, serve and validate the meaning of life together, to preserve righteousness in the presence of our children as a common group of people who loved and served God together.

Now, we live in an isolationist culture where we move from place to place, seldom knowing our neighbors; go to mega-churches where it is possible to be personally, intimately unknown in  our inner-life needs or desires. Often grandparents and siblings have different values, live half-way around the world, or are of no support at all–many who have been separated from us through divorce.

So, we seek to replace that which God intended to be real and present, with something–anything–that can help us to “feel” connected, loved, validated.

So, social media can spend a summer by our side, but might be gone when autumn comes. A fickle boyfriend–here today, gone tomorrow. Just a thought for today.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m so glad I took the time to stop by your site this evening! Your words gently, clearly affirmed something I’ve been thinking about lately, primarily a change in perspective about blogging and my online activity. Thank you! ~K

  2. says

    Thank you, Sally, Galatians 1:10 Am I pleasing God or man? If I seek to please man then I am not a servant of Christ.
    This is on my heart today as social media has hurt my feelings. Good timing, huh? ;)

    Thank you for keeping it real.

  3. says

    What a great post! I have thought about these things, too and that actually keeps me very cautious about time spent on my blog… although I want to be relevant, I also want to spend my relational time wisely. And I agree with you, that relationships must go beyond the computer. We have to be with people and have face to face relationships, most of all. May our writing/blog/ online activity serve to support and encourage those important relationships that we are face to face with in our lives. Love that I found you here, by the way :).

  4. says

    Wow-just did a post this weekend along this same lines, and your message is about the third one I’ve seen that has confirmed what God has been revealing to me about blogging over the past several months. Thanks so much for your insight!

  5. says

    I can not tell you how God has been dealing with me over this issue in the last 24 hours and this morning a friend of mine shared this link on Facebook. You have graciously articulated the very convictions that have been laid upon my heart. Thanks!

  6. says

    Sally you have nailed it. My mom took me to see Les Miserable as a young girl & I sang that very song for years…it still deeply resonates with me…a few months ago it became quite clear to me that I had made a lover out of Social Media..and so I stepped back. Oh…you’ll still find me floating around, but not near as much. And after the Relevant Conference I’m even more convicted/empowered to stop striving and just allow God to do what He will through my faithful obedience. Thank you for your words. Thank you for your life. Praise to God.

  7. says

    I love this, absolutely beautiful! After reading it, what jumps out is the fact that relationships need to simmer as you said above. As a blogger of two blogs, one being a team blog and one personal. Relationships I’ve had with these ladies on my team blog and my readers is a beautiful thing meeting them in real life like at the Relevant Conference. We get to “know” each other through online relationships but it’s not whole until you get to meet them face to face. I could hear you speaking this… can I come live with you? HaHa!

  8. Jennifer Tammeling says

    Thank you for that very beautifully written message! That musical is dear to my heart and brings out so many emotions in me. It is so true that we need so much more than our online “friends.” I have recently cut way back on the amount of time I spend on Facebook. Fortunately, I don’t blog or go very often to anyone’s blog, with the exception of yours :) But that is only because I can see you in real life every month. And you are so much like Jesus that I just have to read your blog.

  9. Brooke says

    I appreciate what you’ve written. I, like many others who posted, have been feeling convicted about social media because of some division it caused in my marriage last week. A beautiful, sweet friend posted about how her husband brought her flowers for no reason. It’s wonderful that she is praising her husband so publically. However, what happened is that Satan used it to plant a seed of dissatisfaction in my own husband, who is a wonderfully strong Christian man who loves me in spite of me! When this happened I thought to myself, “Wow, social media is a real tool that the Devil can use against us.” I don’t think it has to be that way, but I think we need to be careful not to get sucked into things that will begin doing war with our flesh. Anyway, thanks for the post. I need to take it down a notch! Blessings, Brooke

  10. says

    What a blessing this post was for me to read! It is truly an echo of what has already been simmering in my heart and head as of late…

    I happened upon your blog as I was perusing links regarding the recent Relevant conference. I would have so loved to have been there…maybe next year? :)

    Thanks for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

    ~heidi

  11. Carri says

    Thank you for your post. I shut down my Facebook page a few weeks ago because of God’s conviction to me that I was using it as an idol in my life. This statement you said here was so true for me, “I think that many young women become addicted to social media and neglect their families and children out of a God given desire to be loved, to have friends who care, to feel a sense of importance–to push away the feeling that we are invisible in this world of ours.” My 5 yr old daughter would want to play and I would say “just a few minutes more, mommy needs a few minutes of quite.” I ignored the Holy Spirit for a month when I heard him telling me to shut it down. It was not an easy choice but one I’m glad I did. It’s so freeing to not be wondering what everyone was doing on Facebook all the time. Thanks for this post!

  12. says

    “I think that many young women become addicted to social media and neglect their families and children out of a God given desire to be loved, to have friends who care, to feel a sense of importance–to push away the feeling that we are invisible in this world of ours.”

    oh, how often God uses your words to send such a strong reminder to me of the importance of my family and my “real” world in which he has put me and not to seek an escape from my troubles, those things that tire me etc in this virtual world. blessings to you always for your honesty.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] “I think that many young women become addicted to social media and neglect their families and children out of a God given desire to be loved, to have friends who care, to feel a sense of importance–to push away the feeling that we are invisible in this world of ours. The desire to be loved and known and validated is God-given. Yet, He intended for us to have real community where we are loved and have a place to fit with family–cousins, grandparents, parents, siblings. For thousands of years, neighbors were to be those who knew you your whole life, who were there for you in the tragedies and celebrations of life. Purpose and meaning came out of relating and giving of ourselves to a community of people called to live, serve and validate the meaning of life together, to preserve righteousness in the presence of our children as a common group of people who loved and served God together.” - I Take Joy blog [...]

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