Idol of Social Media

PHONE ADDICTION, SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION, SOCIAL MEDIAYesterday I discovered something that I had no idea could even be possible.

Something that might bring you such profound revelation that you’ll have to rethink about how you live your entire life.

Something you probably won’t believe.

You might need to sit down for this:

Here it is.

You can survive a day without your phone.

Crazy I know.

It’s a miracle that even I can hardly believe it.

Of course, I only know this incredible truth because I unintentionally happened to leave my phone at home in the morning yesterday.

Otherwise my precious phone would have been faithfully by my side all day long.

(As I’m sure yours is too.)

But putting all sarcasm aside when I think about technology and our addiction to it I always say “well, that’s just the world we live in now, you need a phone and every single social media account to stay connected and to survive these days.”

But that’s far from the truth, because I have a cousin who has no social media accounts whatsoever and she’s living and breathing just fine.

Maybe even a little bit better than the rest of us.

The sad thing about phones isn’t that they exist, but the fact that they steal way precious moments that can never be replaced.

Sometimes I get so tired going to group gatherings because I feel like I hang out less with the people themselves and more with their phones.

And the saddest thing is that it not only steals moments, sometimes it even steal lives.

Countless people have died from texting and driving.

Because obviously sending that tweet, posting that picture, and responding to the message was so important.

It’s always entertaining to watch people come to a place where there is no service available as they are frantically sending that last message online and acting as if running out of phone service is like running out of their last bit of food to eat and water to drink.

I may be exaggerating a little.

But not too much.

Technology has been revolutionizing and changing the way we go about our daily tasks, how we communicate and connect with people, and simply, how we live.

And I don’t want to paint it out to be all negative because there are tons of positive aspects of it.

But I think we can all agree that there is a problem when lives are lost due to the addiction to this tiny little gadget in our hands.

I think we can all agree that there is a problem when we get so consumed at looking at our bright cell phone screens that we forget to look up at the people we are spending time with.

I think we can all agree that there is a problem when we wake up in the morning and the first thing we reach for is not our Bible, but our phone.

How is that such a small technological gadget that barely anyone owned a mere twenty years ago dramatically affect how we live today?

Believe me if I’m pointing any fingers, I would first be pointing at me because I’ve done everything I’ve listed above.

I’ve been interrupted in my Bible study or prayer time by the buzzing of my phone.

I’ve missed moments with people I love when I was too busy scrolling down social media feeds.

I’ve probably had gotten close into getting into car accidents because I just had to respond to the text message that seemed so urgent at the time.

It all made sense back then but now it seems silly to me.

Often times the reason we have this tendency to be addicted to our phones is because of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out.)

We think that somehow by not logging online for an hour or two and checking up on what the world is up to will miss something.

Something big like our best friend getting proposed to, a new invention that will transform humanity, or the start of World War 3. (Or more like pictures of what your friends ate for lunch, what outfit someone wore, and how that one person you randomly met at some event three years ago feels.)

Is all that really important?

We obviously think so.

But the truth is while we are “missing out” on what’s happening in our social media worlds what we actually miss out on is something much more greater: real life.

While we are busy staring at our phones we pass by that person on the street that could have used a smile.

While we are busy staring at our phones we miss out on having deep conversation about things that matter with our friends.

While we are busy staring at our phones we miss what the pastor said during his sermon on stage and what God said in His Word when we were so (inconveniently) interrupted.

While we are busy staring at our phones we traded what was happening in front of us for what we saw on a screen.

That is what I call some REAL missing out.

I don’t want to look back and remember how many moments I wasted being glued to a little plastic thing in my hand when I could have been spending quality time with loved ones, growing in God, and pursuing my dreams.

Because life is more…

It’s more than always being up to date one what the latest famous person on twitter said or what your friends are posting on instagram.

It’s about living life in the here and now, fully embracing the moment, without being attached to a screen.

Yes, I know social media is all about sharing.

And sharing I love to do and sharing I love to see.

I love seeing pictures of people’s little children growing up, I love seeing pictures of new adventures someone was on, I love seeing pictures of special moments shared between friends and family and loved ones.

But you know what would be better than seeing what people are doing on a phone screen?

Experiencing life with them.

Playing with that little baby that is growing up too fast.

Going on that adventure with that friend you haven’t seen for so long.

Sharing your own moments with loved ones.

Without the distraction of a phone nearby.

This Christmas I challenge you to do something that may seem impossible for you.

I challenge you to intentionally and purposefully choose to put your phone down every moment that you can.

Hide your phone in the other room if it distracts you from your time with God.

Turn off your WiFi in the morning when you wake up so it’s not the first thing you check before you crawl out of bed.

Leave it in your purse or set it aside when you’re spending time with friends.

Have it out of sight when you are driving in your car.

And maybe just maybe… you will see that you are not at all missing out on life when you don’t know what’s happening in your phone.

You are finally living it more fully.

I hope you are all enjoying this wonderful season celebrating Christ’s birth. And to enjoy it more you can do one simple step: turn off that phone of yours! If I can live without it for a day then so can you! Have a blessed night and if you have snow where you are at please make sure to send some my way!  -Anna… 

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23 thoughts on “Idol of Social Media

  1. Anna, this was so good. You put your finger right on the heartbeat of my heart (as it relates to social media). I have set boundaries for myself in this area (because I saw what it was doing to me and others). As a result, I only joined Facebook last year, but closed my account after only 4-5 weeks. I have no twitter and no instagram. Also, as a general rule, I don’t take my phone to my bedroom upstairs when I go to bed at night. I don’t want it to be the first thing I check, nor the last.

    I feel we’ve traded depth for the superficial. And I like what you said. Rather than spending (quality time), we are viewing pictures while (the real, tangible, actual lives and moments of those same people) are passing us by. Friendships are becoming more and more superficial and less and less personal/intimate. Many of us are (unknowingly) growing in breadth and square footage than we are in depth (no roots). Hurts my heart.

    Such a great topic you took on. Thank you for writing about this.

    His VERY Best,
    Marlene

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  2. Recently went somewhere for three days without my phone or laptop, a little retreat at the beach. Honestly, the first day I thought I was going to die, it was like withdrawal. But I needed that time away from being “plugged in.” We all do. Greatly needed post.

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    • I can imagine being without a phone feeling somewhat like a withdrawal (sadly) but having some time to be unplugged is important if we want to hear from God and turn down the noise of the world (and remain sane!)

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  3. Love this! I’ve definitely been struggling with this lately as well – allowing my life to be interrupted way too often by my phone! I have actually removed all my social media apps which has helped a lot!

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  4. Thanks for being so transparent. I am also one who had a phone=less day not long ago when I forgot it at home. Love to hear you share on some specific ideas to help us Phone-atics get free from our devices!

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    • I think we are all in this fight together when it comes to our technological gadgets. Phones have moved from being able to text and call to do almost anything we want them to, and while that is convenient it can be a huge distraction and disadvantage to us in trying to live a purposeful life for Christ daily. May He help us choose wisely every day how much and when we use our phones so that they don’t take away from a life that can be fully lived for Him!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is great and so coincidental. We discussed today at my “Joy of Budgeting” support group this topic of frantically checking phones/social media and how it has stolen our attention from our loved ones, and that’s really what our loved ones want most. “And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,” Mark 9:47

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    • I think that’s awesome that you discussed this topic with your support group. It’s one we should all be discussing because it’s something that affects each one of us. I think it’s one of the enemies easiest tools to keep us off track from focusing on what matters most, the people and life in front of us. And that Bible verse is great! It would probably be impossible for someone to get rid of their phone 100% (as they are very much needed) but we can do what we can to limit our time on it so they don’t cause us to stumble or sin in our walk with Christ.

      Hope you have a blessed day!

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  6. I recently went 10 days without my phone or laptop. Hard to believe, I know! I didn’t know how I would do it, but I attended a meditation retreat, and giving up electronic devices was part of the requirement to attend. The retreat had a phone number to give to family for emergencies, so I wasn’t worried about that aspect of being without my phone. Surprisingly, it was easy! I was so involved with what I was doing, and I think the mental commitment to give up the phone helped. I didn’t even think about it more than a couple of times, and was actually a little reluctant to switch it back on when I was able to have it again…I knew there would be a backlog of all the messages, emails, voice mails, etc., from 10 days of neglect, and I honestly dreaded wading back in. Of course I did it, and I will keep my cell because I really do need it…no land line, and I travel a lot. But the experience has made me think about the roles…do I own my phone or does it own me? And though I try to be courteous with it, I know there are times, just as you describe, when I am not fully present, because I am ON THE PHONE in some capacity or other.

    Good for you that you forgot your phone! Have a blessed day! ~ Sheila

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    • Hi Sheila, it sounds like you had a wonderful experience without your phone at your retreat! I honestly love it when I go somewhere where no one has service because after the initial worry everyone has about not being able to use their phones it opens up a new kind of atmosphere where people can fully participate in the environment they are in with the people around them. We should all ask the same question as you have, do we own our phones or do they own us? It’s really easy to move from one to another without even noticing.

      I won’t be leaving my home intentionally anytime soon but I’m learning how to step back from it in little ways every day and I can already see how much of a difference it makes! I hope we can all learn the freedom of depending less on our phones and being present right where we are at without any distractions. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Be blessed!

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    • Thank you Kim! It has been on my heart for quite some time too…. those phones of ours are a big deal these days and how we use them is an important subject to discuss as we strive to live our lives wholeheartedly for God!

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