Denying My Social Media Self In An Unsocial World

Andrew Jacobs
Andrew Jacobs

social media fast use distractions guy with smartphone image

Today we are bombarded with a cultural norm that is destroying relationships.

With all our mobile and connected devices, “selfies” and “follow me” mentalities, it is easy to want to “like” such a cultural norm. It’s fueled by feelings of selfish ambition, and unfortunately this selfishness hinders our relationships!

Believe me when I say that I too struggle with this so much! I can easily become distracted by the timelines on my own screens!

I can “unintentionally” waste hours scrolling down my news feed, taking Buzzfeed quizzes that lead to nowhere, watching videos, from seconds to minutes, that inevitably remove me from beneficial, quality time with other people who are hurting and longing for community and, more importantly, are missing out on knowing Christ!

This is a subject I took steps in personally addressing over the last year before I felt I could even be worthy to step up and say something. I realized how separated I was becoming from the relationships I have around me and realized that if I wanted to change something, it had to start with myself first.

So I got rid of my smart phone.

This was one of the best, most freeing decisions I have ever made for myself after feeling convicted by Christ to do so.

Our Social Media Use And Discipleship

You see, above all else, I want to strive to be a disciple of Christ. In order for this to happen, I must be willing to put down my own preferences to imitate and follow Him.

This is not something that will just auto-correct itself.

I must engage in community just as Christ did. He went out of His way, found twelve guys that He wanted to pour so much of His life into, along with many others, and established a community that learned to share, grow, and fellowship in love.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Hindering And Even Faking Relationships

As a college student, I spent some time in our student union observing people in how they choose to interact, or not interact, with others. One of the most common things I saw was the amount of students that were browsing through their social feeds just to make it look like they were connected with others when there was opportunities to connect with people right in front of them!

I know this because I even asked some of them why they chose to engage in social media rather than engage with social people. They wanted to make themselves appear as if they were connected to society.

This only leads to a place where people begin to measure their self-worth by the amount of likes or followers they receive. For many though, establishing bigger friend lists actually leaves a person truly friendless.

Rather than showing off the food that we’re eating by ourselves, what if we chose to invite a friend or two over to enjoy the meal with us?

Another unfortunate attribute of overstimulation of social media is a dissatisfaction in what truly matters — decreasing our attention span to the point that holding a verbal conversation with someone seemingly needs to be limited to 140 characters.

As a matter of fact, if you are still reading this, I’m actually impressed!

We Must Rightly Assess Ourselves

This has reached the point in which I’ve had to call out friends I’m trying to talk to that would rather scroll down a screen rather than communicate with me. Some have chosen to take a big and courageous move of stepping away from the distractions of social media, and I can confidently say that I have seen some really big changes in their lives.

I realize that social media may not be a distraction for everyone, but I feel that it very much puts up an easy way for us to withdraw from investing in others or from having some awkward discussions or talks with others that can really lead to growth.

A Challenge For You

Like I said before, I felt so convicted that I got rid of my smart phone. So, I would like to challenge you.

I challenge you to temporarily delete an app or two, or maybe all of them that tie into social media, for at least a week.

Consider it a social media fast. I feel that through this opportunity, you can experience what this type of freedom can reveal.

I would love to hear about any questions or thoughts that you guys have on this topic! Let me know in the comments below.

This post is part of a multi-author series we grouped as #RelationalMedia. A series on godly and wise use of social media and its effects on our relationships. Go here to see the full index of posts.


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