Instant Gratification Is Not Our Destiny
For the past several weeks I’ve felt convicted about my phone being a part of my existence rather than just a tool. This realization came about one day when I noticed my phone was the first thing I grabbed in the morning and the last thing I put down at night.
I’ve stumbled upon multiple blogs, podcasts and chapters in books recently that have been hitting on this hot button topic of social media and phone usage. It’s safe to say we’re not alone in this mess. But as it keeps reoccurring in conversation, I’ve started to ask myself a simple question: Why am I doing this?
Well like any good defense attorney, I have a long list of reasons why I pick up my phone. It’s my calendar, it’s my alarm, it’s how I communicate with my employees, it’s how I stay up to date with friends and family from out of town.
But when my friend gets up to grab silverware at lunch, I check for that text. When I’m watching a movie with the kids for the thousandth time, I’m scrolling through Instagram. When I’m waiting in the carpool line, I’m sending an email. If there was ever a time I didn’t want to sit alone with my thoughts, my regrets, my pains or my deferred hopes, I could pick up my phone. My phone has become a habit that never gives me peace but it keeps me occupied, no doubt.
Welcome to 2018, friends.
When it comes to social media from my 35 year old lens, I’m not sure I could have handled being a teen or in my early twenties in these days. It’s scary to think of the rejection and comparison we have immediate access to. I’m a mom to three little kids and I constantly have to think about how I’m suppose to raise them up against this social media empire to use it healthily and as a means of encouragement.
Instagram has recently rolled out a new update to remind you when you’re all caught up on viewing posts. It’s even starting to let you set a time limit for yourself so the app may remain “positive, intentional and inspiring.” Remember those Push Notifications everyone was telling you to turn on? Yeah, Instagram is actually encouraging you to mute those now.
To put it simply, our social media pages are generally highlight reels of the good stuff going on in our lives. When we consider that to be a front or a disguise for the reality of our hearts’ condition, I think we’ll each find a lot of conviction in where our approval comes from. In 1 Samuel, we are reminded that the Lord looks at our hearts, not our outer appearance. He wants us to find our validation in Him, which is freely given to us.
Christine Caine recently spoke on this subject and went in to depth on the dinosaur age of taking your roll of film to Eckerd’s to have your pictures developed. Your film would go into a dark room to be processed—it would have to be forged in the dark on to the negative. If you opened that dark room too soon or if you brought light into it, the exposure would ruin the image permanently. She encouraged us to look at social media in a different way: that upload of instant gratification is not our destiny. We don’t need to be discovered. We need to be developed by God and oftentimes we use social media as a place for waiting for man to discover us. I’ll feel more secure if I get over 100 likes. If this person sees my story, I’ll feel noticed. We don’t need to be discovered by man. We have already been created by the God of the Universe, who has already put His stamp of approval on us. We need to be developed by Him in the dark room, in solitude, not out front for all to see. We need to get comfortable with sitting still and alone before God where He can forge His image into us.
The Apostle Paul made it a theme in his teaching to speak about the things that can have a hold on us. He often asked believers to think about the choices they made in regards to their body, what they ate or drank, or the day they chose to worship.
“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but I will not be mastered by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12
I think we could all use that kind of self-examination. What is the output of the input? Where are our thoughts susceptible of going when we get into a trend of bouncing around from account to account? It takes a lot of maturity and humility to ask: Am I okay with not being in the spotlight? Am I okay with being blissfully unaware of not being invited or unrecognized? Can I be content with solitude, silence and stillness before God?
It’s time to take a breather from the comparison, the measuring up (or lack there of), and the numbing. It’s time for me to intentionally sit down the Lord and focus in on the condition of my heart. Let’s be more intentional with who is physically in front of us.
A few things you might do starting this weekend that may help you or heal you:
Turn off your phone for a few hours.
Practice a new morning habit that doesn’t include your phone (i.e. make your bed)
Simplify your life—clean out your closet or maybe just delete old texts out of your phone.
Go on a walk with a new friend.
Figure out one thing you really enjoy doing by yourself, and do it.
I recently read, “when something, no matter what it is, takes more from us than it gives us, we are wise to put it down.” There’s a lot of truth in those words and a lot of freedom in them to lean in to God’s best for us. Let’s be women that care more about the light that is in us rather than the light that is on us.
I’d love to hear what other ways you’re disciplined in this!