Sunday, June 02, 2013

Confession of a Social Networker

January 1st, 2013, 4:53 AM: 

Hayley Rowena Rhodes, my beautiful daughter, was born.

January 1st, 2013, 4:59 AM:

The first calls, texts, and Facebook updates announcing her arrival, were posted.

My original Facebook post:

"Hayley Rowena Rhodes, 8lb 5oz, 19 &1/2", born at 4:53 am after 4 &1/2 hours of labor and one good push . Happy New Year!!!!?"


-----------------------------------------------------------

I was so excited for the birth of my second child, all I wanted to do was shout it from the rooftops! But lacking a convenient high and central location, I decided that Facebook would suffice. Her eyes were barely open before the news of her arrival flooded the social network walls of every friend and relative I had. Soon everyone was able to share the joy that I was feeling! Or at least I thought I was feeling...

When my first child, Luke, was born, things were a little different. I hadn't prepacked all of my networking equipment, nor had I checked to make sure that I had the hospital wifi password, so that I could access the internet quickly. Nope, his birth was spread more by word-of-mouth. Parents told family; family told friends; friends told friends of friends; and slowly the world became aware of  the new and precious arrival. A slow trickle of loved ones swept in and out of our hospital room, and I had plenty of time to rest and marvel at the child that God had blessed me with.

But with Hayley, the word was out! That morning I did not get any sleep...I was too busy taking pictures and posting updates, calling family and worrying about who I had forgotten to tell. When visiting hours rolled around I was exhausted, Hayley hadn't slept all night and I had to entertain the many guests that I had invited to, "COME SEE!!"

At the time I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong, but as the weeks passed I knew that I did not feel as close to my little girl  as I had with her brother. There was a distance there, a barrier that I couldn't, at first, put my finger on. It wasn't until I turned to God and asked, "Why?" that the answer dawned on me; Facebook.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Facebook, I spend quite a bit of time on there, but that was exactly the problem! I had been so concerned with updating my status that I had missed many of the moments that are needed to build a relationship. Instead of reveling in the experience as Hayley first snuggled into the warmth of my arms, I was busy trying to find a good angle to take a picture of her on my phone.

I was guilty of this, and many more injustices, due to my attempts to capture the moment, but not live in the moment. When I learned this, I was dismayed, but I was even more upset when I realized that it was more than that single relationship that was affected. If I had done this terrible thing to my daughter, who else had I done it to? The heartbreaking answer was everyone, and most importantly, God.
--------------------------------------------------------------

The knowledge of this has been heavy on my heart lately. I am just coming to  recognize how I have used tasks, updates, and posts as an excuse to fill my time and not pay attention to the work that God asks of me. Even now, the words, "Be still and know that I am God," ring longingly in my ears and I am aware that though my body may be still, poised in front of a computer screen, my mind is not.

I think that this might be a growing problem for my generation; the concept of "plug-in and tune out". We are so wrapped up in our texting, tweets, FB updates, IM's and phone conversations that we are missing out on life! It is hard, as young believers to shut off the loud and needy technology that dictates our lives and tune into the soft whispers that God speaks to our hearts. I don't know about you, but I actually feel guilty for "being still" most of the time.

Imagine this though: you are sitting at a table with a friend and you are trying desperately to have a quiet and deep conversion with them, but they aren't paying attention. You get the "uh huh" nod every once in a while, but their eyes and fingers are perpetually locked on their phone screen. It turns out that they are having another conversation on the side about their cute lab partner in chem class. How would you feel? There you are, sharing our heart with them and they are ignoring you to chat with someone who isn't even there!

Let's turn that situation around. Do we do this to God? I know I do...

"Heather I want to talk to you today."

"Uh huh"

"I am so excited about the plans that I have for you and your family!"

"Cool"

"I want to tell you about how much I love you!"

"Neat-o"

"I want to tell you about your purpose; your potential; the woman I created you to be!"

"Awesome....Hey how do you spell 'pomegranate'? "
--------------------------------------------------------------

I did not make the time to soak in the miracle of my daughter's birth; I do not make the time to absorb the wonder of God's love and the awe of His grace. This is something that I am struggling hard with, but because I am now aware of the battle that I am fighting, I can already see results. Every time I stop staring at the screen and stare into Hayley's eyes, every time I let go of the computer mouse and grab my Bible,  I am winning.

I feel for those of you who are having a hard time with this as well. I pray that we stop cheating ourselves. Social networking is good to have, but we must not use it in replacement of life, love, and faith.

Posted with love and conviction,
Heather

3 comments:

  1. Oh boy this one really hit me between the eyes this morning. I am so very guilty of this very thing. Sometimes when I sit and pray and spend time with the Lord, I'm tempted to pick up my phone and check facebook, e-mail, etc. and I have to ask myself "Really"? I'm going to start putting it in another room when it's time for prayer, reflection and glorifying God! Thank you for the wake-up call :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Coffee With Christ is going through a bit of a siesta at the moment.

    I hear ya! There are so many distractions that tug and pull at us these days it's hard to just be still. I was a bit of a late bloomer in the technology word, but now that I've started, I find it so hard to stop!

    One thing I realized recently was just how alive the Word of God is. When He said, "Be still, and know that I am God," He wasn't giving David a private message; it was a message for us all, in every generation!. It's as if He wrote, "Be Still, put down your smartphone, and know that I am God."

    Thank you for your comment. When I pray for stillness, I will keep you in my thoughts as well.

    Blessings,
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  3. Loved this! I think a lot about how technology has changed society and the way people interact. Very refreshing to know that some of our younger generation understands this and what it is doing to our society.

    ReplyDelete