In the Youtube-Facebook-Twitter etc. world we live in, it is easy to get 100 likes because you finished a paper, bought a Christmas tree, or heard a meaningful quote and passed it alone. It seems we have grown accustomed to living our lives through social media and the praise it brings. Sometimes it looks like this..
FB Status Update: Today I ran 5 miles.
FB Response: 25 likes; comments like “Go girl”- “You rock”- “The only way I am running is if something is chasing me”- “love this” etc..
This month, my wonderfully lovely group of Bible study girls is fasting from media. The consensus so far is.. this is hard. And we spend a lot of time on social media. A LOT. So brutal honesty time, my (embarrassingly) typical morning routine..
Drive to work.
Did you notice a trend? How much has really gone on in FB world between 9:30pm and 5 am?? I can assure you, not much. But I guess I never noticed how truly tied to Facebook I was until we embarked on our media fast. All of a sudden, I have all this extra time in the morning, during the day, and in the evening! I am more productive and ahead on all my final school projects. However, beyond my slight addiction to Facebook, something far deeper has stood out to me.
I crave the validation Facebook brings. I miss feeling like people care because 25 people liked my status or commented on a picture. At what point did I start to base my feeling of self-worth on a dumb social media website? When did I decide my life needed to be validated by social media? Ironically, it doesn’t bother me that my average blog post gets about 2 hits. But if my FB status only got 2 likes, oh the tragedy!! (ok..that was a joke..kinda)
One of my favorite verses is Zephaniah 3:17 which says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.“
What more validation do we need aside from the fact the Lord is singing over us with gladness? He cares about our needs, knows the number of hairs on our head, and surely understands the triumph of finishing a grad school paper or the devastation of disappointing news. How often do we run to Him in prayer first? How much deeper would our relationships be if we picked up the phone to share exciting news or asked a friend to pray with us instead of posting it to FB? This is not to completely discount the value of social media. I think it does have a place and probably isn’t going anywhere as a fixture of society. However, the craving for validation it creates is not healthy and displaces where our identity lies. I am beloved of the Savior of the universe. He rejoices over me. And that is far better than 10,000 Facebook likes!
So while my month of fasting is only 5 days in, I am not sure this is going to be a fast I quit. I may modify it at the end, but I am not sure I will re-install FB on my phone and I am going to make more of an effort to share my triumphs and heartaches with actual people, not a computer screen. Perhaps you will too. Maybe this holiday season is a good time to distance ourselves from social media and to embrace holiday gatherings, family, and friends.