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(Anti) Social Media Experience

Originally published Monday, 13 July 2015.

Can you remember what life was like before smart phones,FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestTimehop, or even the newest “Oh, look at how awesome my life is!” app, Periscope?

I began to ask that question recently.

I took a trip back down memory lane in my mind to when I was around twelve years old. I enjoyed going on walks to get some fresh air and reflect on the complexities of life. Even then I was a deep well and an old soul.

I’d let my parents know that I was going for a walk around our town- population 3100. I might take along my CD Walkman to have some music on my little journey, but back then, there was really nothing you had to make sure you had to take with you. There was no need to make sure you had your tracking device, I mean, cell phone. If someone wanted to talk to you or get ahold of you while you were away, they would call your home phone and leave a message with someone who was home or record a message on your answering machine. I didn’t have to document my walk with Instagram snapshots or “check in” on Facebook to let everyone know which gas station I grabbed my soda from. I didn’t have to tweet some witty thing that popped into my head as I enjoyed my reflection time alone.

For those born in the last ten years, this sounds extremely primitive, but oh, how I miss those days!

I miss the simplicity, and not just because in this instance I was twelve.

Without cell phones, iPads, apps, and social media, life had less distractions and experiences were just more tangible and most times more enjoyable.

Relationships were more real and often, stronger.

People actually called each other on the phone to talk.

And they even spent time in person!

Imagine that!

Have a couple hours of down-time alone?

Even though there was TV, most people would use that time to read a book, instead of pinning and pinning and pinning and pinning and pinning and pinning on Pinterest or watching entire TV series on Netflix.

After almost ten years of having a Facebook account and watching it evolve from a tool for college students to exchange information about their classes and stay in touch with friends at other universities to a platform for ignorance and foolishness where just about anyone with a pulse can share their two sense of what is going on around the world.

Facebook, along with all the rest of social media platforms, has become a way for all of us to make our lives appear more glamorous, exciting, adventurous, blessed, richer, etc than they really are.

Filters on Instagram are proof of that.

Our eyes are forever on each others’ lives, sometimes people who are complete strangers, and we are given countless opportunities to experience  and embrace comparison, jealousy, envy, covetousness, bitterness, hatred, anger, frustration, materialism, and pride-fullness. These social media platforms can be unassuming accomplices in stealing our peace, joy, humility, and love for one another. I have been caught up in that whirlwind, especially the temptation of comparison and jealousy, believing God has cheated me in some way.

Around and around and around, documenting, venting, shooting live video, editing, debating, posting, checking-in, wasting hours upon hours of our precious time, every single moment of every single day…

…and today I’m screaming “I want off the (social media) merry-go-round!”

I know that my mobile devices have become mobile distractions. 

Distractions from the people that matter the most to me like my husband and my son.

But most importantly, distractions from THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE OF ALL, the Lord.

If I'm connected to social media constantly, how can I be connected to the Vine?CLICK TO TWEET

(And as I ask that question, I find it interesting that there is app out there called Vine)

How can I pray without ceasing throughout my day?

I can’t if my mind is crowded and my heart is devoted to giving time to not people, but things.

The Lord has been working on my heart regarding giving Him more time. And like my pastor says “We can’t say that we don’t have time, we must carve out time!”

After the Lord revealed two different verses in the Bible to me the other night, I knew what I needed to carve out.

…and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. (Mark 4:19 NKJV)

 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that isin the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17 NKJV)

Social media is consumed with the cares of this world, the desires for things, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and most definitely the pride of life!

Above all, anything that replaces your affection, time, devotion, love, passion, or money for the Kingdom and the Lord is an idol.

For me, although I use social media for ministry purposes to further the gospel with Truth of God’s Word and my personal testimony, I have made these things idols in my heart and life.

And I’m carving them out, not just limiting them, but carving themcompletely out.

The Lord directed me to release social media to Him for one year and maybe longer, I’m not sure.

He is allowing me to continue to write, so I will be posting blogs here, as well as through the other websites I write for. He is also allowing me to post the links to my articles through my Facebookpage, which will automatically post to my Twitter account. I have deleted all social media apps from my phone, including Instagram, so you will not see any new pictures posted there or anything posted to my personal Facebook page after today.

This direction is for me because social media has become a stumbling block, even in the midst of using it for ministry, so I do not want you to think that I am implying that I am better than you because I am abstaining from it. Paul tells us:

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. (1 Corinithians 6 ESV)

Although using social media is not illegal or sinful, it has not proven to be helpful on my walk with the Lord. I will not allow any thing to dominate my heart.

My heart is reserved for the Lord and through it, I love Him, my husband, son, family, friends, and everyone else.

I need to make sure that the garden of my heart is tended to. I cannot have thorns or weeds from the cares of this world choke my heart. I must be fruitful for Jesus!

I’m excited to see what kind of experience lays before me as I carve this distraction out of my life!

Stronger relationships, especially my marriage, clarity of God’s voice and direction, more time for prayer, and reading my Bible and other books, more peace and joy, and I can’t imagine the songwriting season that is ahead of me!

In the meantime, I am sure I will have much to share in my writing as I embrace a life free of social media distractions!

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(Anti) Social Media Experience is also posted on emilyrosemassey.com!