Hey guys! I'm back with my second Faith Post Friday! As many of you know, my topic for the month of September is Invisibility. Last week I wrote about the Invisibility of Motherhood. Today is all about the Invisibility of Social Media. Before I go any further, I want to be clear that there's a lot of good that has come from social media. But, like with most things, us humans can misuse it. My words today are meant to encourage you that you are not alone in the struggle to keep a social media balance.
Love / Hate
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love that it truly helps me feel connected (I mean, otherwise I'd have no idea what my second cousin's baby looks like) but I also hate how it makes me feel disconnected (Why visit my cousin when I can see all her baby updates with the click of a button?).
Once upon a time in a land far far away (circa 2006ish) I had regular coffee dates with a good friend of mine. We would meet at Starbucks and talk for hours. I didn't realize at the time how amazing this was. I took it for granted. Fast forward to 2017 and I haven't had coffee with my friend in yeeeeears. I joined Facebook in 2008 and our coffee dates got less and less frequent until finally they stopped altogether. It wasn't a conscious decision. It just kind of happened. She had babies and my babies grew and now we're so busy it's more convenient to stay connected on social media.
I miss talking with my friend face to face, rather than texting or posting. I crave geniuine human connection but it's hard to make time for friends when I'm so busy. My days go by like a blur and at the end of these busy days I find myself wanting to zone out and scroll through my facebook (are you feeling me on this? Surely it's not just me?). It's a cheap substitute for human connection, kind of like eating a granola bar for lunch. It ties you over for a few but it doesn't really satisfy. I scroll and see all sorts of interesting things; news stories (mostly sad & disturbing), funny memes, inspiring quotes, photos of family and photos of friends with their friends.
This counterfeit social experience gives us a surge of momentary fulfillment, kind of like a candy bar gives you a sugar rush, and we all know the rush eventually crashes. So we either go back for another hit or the loneliness sets in. But who wants to feel lonely? So we go back again and again. Some of us are addicted to this dysfunctional roller coaster. Let me restate that, I am guilty of letting myself ride this crazy train.
Comparison: The Thief of Joy
Remember when ignorance really was bliss? Here's what I mean.
Have you ever been in a pretty good mood and then after ten minutes on social media you're depressed? This 180 degree turn occurs when you have access to information you normally wouldn't know anything about. For example, photos of so-and-so's seventeenth vacation of the year.
“Man, I haven't even had one vacation.”
Comparing my life to other people's lives never ends in joy. Never.
Oh, then there are the posts of your friends hanging out with your friends and you weren't invited. Ouch, that one stings.
“Why would they not invite me?”
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of days where I'm genuinely happy when I see my friends hanging out and having fun. I try to be a cheerleader for the people in my life and I LOVE to see my friends feeling loved and happy and successful in all areas of their lives. But sometimes, on those lonely days, it hurts to see people I'm friends with hanging out with people I'm friends with and knowing I wasn't invited.
Close friendship can start to feel more like an illusion, a social media mirage.
Bait & Switch
This is the point when the connectedness of social media betrays you and switches to disconnectedness. It happens so fast that you don't even realize it until you find yourself feeling sad, lonely, and even mad at your friends. You start to feel forgotten, invisible.
As a Believer in Christ, I truly believe this is a spiritually vulnerable place we put ourselves in, and I am guilty of it. The enemy loves to isolate us, like a wolf isolating its prey. And when we are alone he whispers all sorts of accusations against our friends (Look at them having fun without you, they never really loved you) and accusations against us (You're worthless and unloveable).
Satan baits us with a false reality, a false sense of connectedness and once he snags us he makes us feel invisible. That is when he does his best work, whispering lies that sound so true.
Jesus says Satan is a liar...
“When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8: 44
and he's a thief...
The Power of Community
“Let us not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another...” Hebrews 11:25
This verse is at the heart of what My Journey of Faith is all about. God created you to be in community with other people. In fact, it's scientifically proven. When you spend time with a friend, your brain releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as “the feel good hormone”. This is why you feel so much better after a girl's night!
I just experienced this today. A sweet neighbor friend of mine came over and we talked for a couple of hours, by ourselves, no interruptions.
(Let's pause for a moment to thank God for this small miracle!)
She shared with me what God was doing in her life and she gave me a perspective on God that I haven't even thought of. She encouraged me in ways I never expected and I felt anything but invisible. This week I encourage you to limit your social media and make the effort to connect with a friend, face to face, even if it means inviting someone to your messy house.