Sometimes I get really frustrated at this world we live in and myself. I think about a simpler time in the 80’s when I got in trouble for long distance phone calls and there were party lines.
Recently I’ve watched the effects social media has on my two teenage daughters in two very different situations. And, honestly, don’t I see this every day (maybe not the crying). Both of the girls were brought to tears by situations having to do with social media that caused hurt feelings. My girls are pretty typical teens, I’d say, both of whom I think have a fairly healthy self image and confidence level. But no child, nor full-grown adult is immune to this consumption epidemic that is happening right now, and the hurtful effects – myself included. We all have feelings about everything and social media is a catalyst for emotions. (I’m so not even going to mention politics, but talk about adding fuel to the fire.)
Here’s a great quote about feelings and the truth.
Great words by the very wise, John Piper.
Y’all, the sad truth is – we are just mad consumers.
Daily, I find myself simultaneously consuming multiple streams of social media, consuming entertainment, consuming traditional media, consuming/buying into all the stuff this world is dishing out and it’s just too much! Heck, I can’t keep up! And let’s get real, social media is mostly a farce or just a little bit of our “friends” sandwiched with high carb marketing bread, entertainment muddies our morals, traditional media is not trustworthy nor unbiased and the stuff we are mentally and physically feeding off of – well, it’s mostly to our detriment, I’d say. What do you think? What are we gaining? What are we missing? How is being “connected” causing a major short in building and maintaining relationships? Sanity? Oh goodness, I have so much to say about this. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Solomon – said to be the wisest man – wrote in Ecclesiastes chapter 1 verse 2 “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”
It never hurts to really look at a word you’ve known nearly your whole life. Do you know exactly what vanity is? The definition of vanity is “emptiness.” I feel like all the things in that list above are total vanity. The definition also says “untruth; Fruitless desire or endeavor.” Hmm. Sounds familiar? Sounds like the cold, hard truth. I am just consuming vanity, aren’t I? Ugh. I’m so guilty.
What then should we try to consume? What should I purpose to feed off of? What do I model for my kids when I do in fact glean a lot of good and necessary things from the media/social streams I frequent.
What about a focus on consuming wisdom? That sounds really good and easy enough, but I wonder if it’s actually possible. Isn’t wisdom more of a result of consuming truth, acquiring understanding and growing knowledge. Wisdom is an outcome – an effect – of experience. And guess what, David thought this too…as my study on this matter took me here:
Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief. Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
So we started off talking feelings and truth, then consuming (stuff) and then wanting for wisdom. I’m all over the place, aren’t I?
So it’s like this. It’s our job to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), right? Surely, we also want to feel that peace and contentment that comes with a pure and light heart? What about filling our minds with those “precious riches” of wisdom by cultivating relationships (seeking that relationship with God first)? Focus on consuming the stuff that matters – that unchanging truth that will feed and lift our spirits.
I don’t think this means throw your phone/computer/device away, it just means in this world we’re living in we have to combat the streams of nonsense, quit consuming the crap and really focus on feeding our souls every day. That could mean a lot of things: purposing to spend time creating art, reading a real book or studying the Word (truth). Make a date to go to coffee and have a real conversation with a friend, or literally turning the phone off and putting it in a drawer on a Sunday afternoon and just look up and detox from the screens. Lord have mercy, I know I need to.
Is anyone with me?
(p.s. I’m looking forward to reading this book 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You. )