Social Media & Healthy Living
A few years ago there swirled a tradition on social media where each day of November you would post a picture or statement of thanks about someone or something. The idea was to develop the habit of practicing gratitude everyday. Of course, like so many other things on social media, this became something to be ridiculed by self-appointed critics suffering from an overwhelming need to let others know their strongly stated opinions. I suppose, for some, it's not enough to just scroll on by.
After years, if not more than a decade of social media usage, (yes, I was one of those college account Facebook users), I am disenchanted with social media. Granted, this is not the first time! IMHO the evolution of social media heralded the de-evolution of humanity. At one point I was ready to fully give up all social media engagement and delete my accounts. But, there were all these wonderful pictures of friends and family capturing memories and chronicling important events. I love seeing these! I decided not to give up, but to try to counter the negative flood of posts with something positive, inspirational, or life-giving every day. Some days I post several, because, let's face it, there is a lot we have to overcome out there!
As a pastor, there are occasional moments when I witness the less than gracious side of parishioners on social media. These moments are difficult, because my first impulse is to respond with some kind of faithful statement meant to correct their posting behavior. Yes, even I struggle with the need to make my opinion known. Instead, I scroll on by. Then, as I set to work on each week's sermons, there is a struggle to not bring up the very things I've condemned in these individuals. I take my calling seriously and strive to preach responsibly. I listen hard for what God needs me to preach to my community of believers. But, in order to do this, I have to, first, quiet the noise that swirls through my head. I have to let go of that condemnation that dwells in my heart. I want desperately to put away my will so I can impart God's Good Word. Some days are easier than others. God may be good all the time, but I am not.
I am at, yet another, juncture in my social media usage. I've decided, for now at least, I'm going to continue my positive, life-affirming posts, then search each of my children's social media accounts to see if there are any new pictures of the grandchildren, then log off. This is a struggle. I know I will miss out on so much in the lives of the people I love dearly, but, hopefully, it will also help me miss out on a good deal of the stuff that is harder to witness.
I've discovered that a diet is not only about what you eat or drink. It's about everything we consume. If we feed ourselves an overwhelming amount of junk food, we end up with some pretty serious health issues. The same goes for media and our spiritual health. This is my effort to live a healthier spiritual life.