I just returned from the Georgia Aquarium. It was an amazing experience. But, it wasn’t the attractions of the aquarium that amazed me. You see, my family went last year as well and I was greatly impressed. This year, however, I wasn’t so much amazed by the attractions and shows because pretty much everything was the same. I was amazed, instead, at the people. People everywhere stumbling around texting and walking and doing who knows what on their phone. I had the pleasure to push Annabeth around in her stroller and I lost count at the number of feet I ran over as people just stood in the middle of a crowded walkway totally and completely entranced by their phones. I realized that this public display was the most selfish, self-centered activity one could be involved in. When thousands of people are walking shoulder to shoulder and you are completely absorbed with what is going on in your own little social media and texting world…well, Atlanta, we have a problem.
After I came home from that circus of social media/texting worship I came across this blog post on my Facebook feed:
I totally could of written this blog post had I been as talented a writer because I have experienced everything that this woman wrote about. And I have been convicted to the core. Like weeping over my sin convicted. I went offline from Facebook for about 9 months and around Easter I got back on because I told myself that my church and lost people needed me to have a presence online. And there is totally some truth in that. But even before I got back on Facebook I was still using my Twitter and Instagram accounts. So, I was missing out on what was going on Facebook but was using cheap substitutes to manage my addiction. Then when I got back on Facebook I felt this immediate gratification. Like a drug addict who had been sober for 9 months and then took a hit of something, I was transported back to place where my sinful heart exhaled in relief.
I have become majorly convicted that when I do have free time it needs to be spent with my Lord, my wife and my children. Therefore, social media, I think I’m finally breaking up with you. I’m praying that it is for good.
Church members: I am in NO WAY seeking some sort of super spiritual approval or attempting to make you feel guilty for not doing the same. Everyone has their temptations. Many of you can be on social media and not be drawn into its web of self-extaltion and absorption. I’m just not able to do so. For some of you, you can manage it by setting up times and parameters to govern your day and night. I’ve tried all of these things but I keep breaking them because the heart loves to break the “law.” I’m just being completely transparent and honest with you about my struggles. I’ve come to the conclusion that being off of social media will not only make me a better Christian (I will be able to love Jesus more and my self less), husband, parent and person in general….but I KNOW that it will make me a better pastor. I am majorly concerned about the church in America. And God’s church desperately needs better pastors. What makes better pastors? Those who love Jesus and his church and hold fast to the truths of the Word of God. I’m ready to be that pastor.
I’m already setting up a blog reader so that I can still read the articles and blogs that I like to read without using social media as my link provider. I’ll still be online and using my computer and reading. But I won’t be addicted to “likes” and social media approval. I also plan on using this blog more often so that I can actually spend time writing things worth reading: not just thoughts that pop up in my head on the spur of the moment and may or may not be God-glorifying and beneficial.
Therefore, social media, this is my goodbye letter. I’m going to post this on the church Facebook page (through another account) so that you’ll know I haven’t just disappeared. I will still have plenty of opinions on things. And I still want to use the internet to pastor and point people to Christ. But I’ll just handle it from my blog now. I pray that my blog does not become a substitute for social media and that I’ll have enough self control to set parameters on when I can’t check it and respond to potential comments. The human heart is a relentless idol factory and I know I’ll be tempted to replace one idol for another. Therefore, be praying for me and I’ll be having more time to be praying for you. God bless!