How much time do you spend on social media each day? Updating your status? Tweeting? Posting photos to Instagram? Trying to come up with catchy captions? Researching hashtags? Liking? Commenting?
We tell ourselves we’re connecting. Staying current. Keeping up with friends and family.
Maybe. But at what price?
I opened an Instagram account in 2017. It’s been fun. But two years later, I started feeling like something was missing. It started feeling shallow. Artificial. Like a chore.
The last few times I’ve been to a restaurant I’ve been struck by the number of diners who’re buried in their phones. A real live flesh-and-blood person is sitting right across the table from them. And they’re ignoring them. Choosing to dive into – or hide? – in their phones instead of engaging with the person who’s literally right in front of their face.
What’s up with that?
It’s like we don’t have time to grow strong in soul or spirit anymore. We’re buried under a deluge of instant facts, commentary, tweets, news, or the latest global crisis.
After pouring countless hours into Instagram and other SM venues last year, I sat back for a minute. Took a deep breath. And asked:
“What am I accomplishing with this? Where is this going? What’s the end game here?”
Followed by: “Whatever happened to stillness and solitude? To quieting my soul long enough to hear that still, small Voice? And find direction, healing, and grace?”
What I’ve Learned
One thing I’ve learned about the Lord over the years is that He doesn’t shout. He waits for me to be quiet long enough to hear His whisper. He doesn’t compete with noise. He waits for me to still the internal chatter so He can “get a word in edgewise.”
I had to decide. Do I want to pursue solitude and untangle my soul with Him, or chase Likes and Comments and Followers, et.al.?
The ongoing deluge of intriguing facts and commentary, scandal and crisis, genuinely important guidance combined with the latest insider news from across the globe and our friends’ personal lives, gives the soul a medicated feeling of awareness, connection, and meaning. Really, it’s the new Tower of Babel—the immediate access to every form of “knowledge” and “groundbreaking” information right there on our phones, every waking moment. It confuses the soul into a state of artificial meaning and purpose, all the while preventing genuine soul care and life with God. Who has time to read a book? Plant a garden?
I made a decision in December 2019. I decided to dial back on social media. Way back. Eldredge sums it up like this:
“… what has become the normal daily consumption of input is numbing the soul with artificial meaning and purpose while in fact the soul grows thinner and thinner through neglect, forced by the very madness that passes for a progressive life. We are literally being forced into the ‘shallows’ of our life.”
Did you get that? “We are literally being forced in to the ‘shallows’ of our life.” As John puts it, it’s:
“the new Tower of Babel—the immediate access to every form of “knowledge” and “groundbreaking” information right there on our phones, every waking moment. It confuses the soul into a state of artificial meaning and purpose, all the while preventing genuine soul care and life with God.”
I don’t know about you. But I don’t want splash around in the shallows. I want to dive into deep water. Have time to read a book. Plant a garden. Hike. Walk the dog. Splash in rain puddles. Throw snowballs. Picnic. Go out to lunch with a friend. Watch a sunset.
Get some breathing room in my life.
Time for a deeper dive?
Before I read John Eldredge’s perceptive insight, I completed an assessment related to social media. And how much time it gobbled every day. Tangled up my soul. Created needless internal noise and tumult.
I have a choice. I can choose to reduce my media and SM intake so I can practice stillness every day.
So I dumped my Twitter account. Left a bunch of Facebook groups. Deleted apps. Turned off my phone. Reduced the number of blogs I administrate from 6 blogs to 3. Told my Instagram followers I’ll be on IG hiatus for January and possibly February, too. Maybe longer.
Because I want to focus more on and enlarge the quiet spaces of my soul instead of filling them with constant, incessant noise.
Because I want to return to my twin passions: Writing and Reading. Books. And blogging about same.
Back to basics.
So thank you to every one who’s taken the time to affirm that decision. Your kindness is greatly appreciated. Thank you also to my new blog followers. I hope you find this little corner of the blogosphere helpful and interesting. And of course, I’m always open to your ideas for worthwhile content.
I was just a young pup last Thanksgiving. Chewing on slippers. Dish towels. Wayward fingers. Learning Come. Down. Jump. Sit and Stay. Also how to jitterbug. That just kinda happened. I mean, who can listen to In the Moodsitting still?
Anyway. I’m coming up on two and a half years now. So I’m leaving all that baby stuff behind. Well, some of it. But I’ve gotten pretty good at chasing fallen leaves. Wearing that stupid “doggie jacket” Mom insists on when the temperature drops below forty degrees. Swiping turkey leftovers when no one’s lookin’.
Even though it’s cold and crisp outside, it’s not all bad. A neighbor’s cat, Sir Puddleglum, is staying indoors most of the time. (That’s not the orange tabby’s real name. I just call him that because it gets his goat. Or his cat nip. Whatever.)
Anyway again. Apple cider. Crunching leaves. Snoozing by the fireplace. Mom says fall is a great time to re-read some favorite authors. She showed me her list. I’m passing it on to you at no extra charge. (Don’t tell anyone.)
5 Cool Authors for Cold Weather (in no particular order):
Hamner is best known as the creator, executive producer, and warm narrative voice of The Waltons. He wrote several books, including the autobiographical Spencer’s Mountain and The Homecoming. The latter inspired the movie of the same name. It became the pilot that launched The Waltons. You can almost hear the snow fall… G’night John Boy…
Never heard of her? Me neither. Until Mom swooped into the library and yanked Samphire Song off a shelf. The librarian said it was on the “weeding” (death) list. She felt sorry for it. Read it. Loved it. Said it’s brisk. Engaging. Beautifully written, with memorable characters. The story revolves around a young girl, Jodie, and her half-wild stallion, Samphire. Both are damaged. They inch their ways toward healing together.
Mom says this guy is a prolific, award-winning author perhaps best known for The Christmas Box. Richard publishes a book every year, usually when temperatures start dropping. Says Mom: Richard’s gentle, uplifting stories are a great choice for curl-up-near-the-fireplace reading!
Looking for larger-than-life outdoor adventure told with a keen eye for detail and a gritty, spunky writing style? Gary Paulsen’s your guy, according to Mom. His many books include The Hatchet series, Dogsong, Harris and Me, Woodsong, and Winterdance.
Even Sir Puddleglum can’t complain about that.
Hey. You gonna to finish that turkey sandwich? Askin’ for a friend.