The response to my first post about this topic has been overwhelming, indicating that I may have struck a nerve. I have had multiple people communicate to me that they were struggling with this area of their life in deep, controlling ways and the blog was able to help them articulate their feelings.
The following is in response to the … NOW WHAT…specifically setting up Boundaries
Obviously, we live in a technological age and simply trying to remove it completely or ignore it is just about impossible. For many of us social media is social but it also involves our work places, marketing, family members/ loved ones, and a way to keep the pulse of the world/ current events.
So, again…NOW WHAT…
Below are list of helpful boundaries and warning signs I have personally adopted after praying, digging deep, and talking with others. Maybe some of them will help you in mastering this potential monster.
1.) Make first things first…
What comes first in your life? What do you think on, dream about often? What takes up most of your heart? What do you find delight in? These are important questions to ask, and even more so to answer…sincerely.
C.S. Lewis is famous for expounding upon this principle in one of his writings, providing timeless wisdom.
“. . . You can’t get second things by putting them first. You get second things only by putting first things first.”
“Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.”
For the believer in Christ, Gods order of priorities in life are: God, others, and self is last on the list. But, maybe your not a believer…the principle still stands if you intend to have a relationally rewarding life. Relationships require sacrifice, demand time and will only thrive in sincerity and authenticity…others still come first.
2.) Accessibility all the time leads to separation…
You ever come across that person that is always accessible…maybe you are that person…or maybe you are frustrated at everyone else for not always being accessible. A major convenience initially brought one by technology was the ease of accessibility…however, have things gone to far? Have things gone to far when you can’t even walk in front of your TV without being accessed? Have things gone to far when you can’t even go to the bathroom without being accessed? I would say YES and NO. This is where it gets tough, because the excuses are plentiful, often times being cloaked under: It’s my job, I’m that important, it will only take a second, people need me, etc.
Here is the reality; YOU control your accessibility.
Being accessible all the time is NOT HEALTHY.
TURN it OFF!!!
Not being accessible is a time of regrouping, a time of recharging, a time of reflection, a time of peace. In a very real sense I believe this is one of the elements God intended w/ the Sabbath. That we would disconnect from the distractions of every day life by focusing on Him and RESTING.
All the time accessibility eventually leads to separation…especially with those that love you most. You see, if we are accessed all the time, then that means we are never accessed completely by those whom are closest to us. There are always interruptions, always mood changers, always things that will take our minds away from the moment at hand. Let me ask you, how many times have you been away, maybe vacation, and you or someone you are with reads a Facebook post, a tweet, an email, a text and the moment is ROBBED! What one second is joyful, fun, loving is immediately side swiped.
Don’t let accessibility rob you of the present blessing God has given.
3.) Sacred spaces…
This is simply just practical; Adopt and agree upon sacred spaces in your life. What I mean by sacred (use what ever word you want) is there are no electronic devices allowed within this area…including, but not limited to: phones, tablets, computers, leapfrog, TV, etc. If you have family members, loved ones, or friends that you live with communicate and agree upon them. Hold true to them and enforce the guidelines of the space. There will be great liberation if you do so.
My Spaces: (catchy I know)
- the dinner table… This can be one of the greatest places of connection w/ loved ones. Take time, have long meaningful conversations, ask about others, speak words of encouragement towards one another, ENJOY the real company of those you love.
- the bed… This one might take some of you by surprise, but let me explain. The most important relationship I have, aside from Jesus, is with my wife. When we are in this space it should be seen as a rewarding, restful, and meaningful space…both physically and symbolically. She deserves my awakened full attention…of course until the ZzZzZzZz’s kick in.
- dates… The kind of thing that people do when they love each other, not marks on a calendar. Dates are carved out places in our busy lives, often times costing money, that we set aside to focus on that whom we LOVE. There are fewer things in this life that crumble love than being half-hearted. Don’t share the time…love the one you are with.
- worship venues… (yes, for all of you haters…I know our lives are worship) I am talking about the place/ experience you go to. The place we visit/ set aside for worship, should be just that…a time or space you have for you and God to connect. It is also a time for you to connect w/ other people…meaning real people…those that are actually in the building/house/ place.
- special moments w/ family… You ever go to kids sporting events, to vacation spots, etc. and you notice that many are missing out on what they supposedly came to be a part of. That’s just it…be a part of what is important. Communicate to your family that they are worth your full undivided attention that refuses to be interrupted.
4.) Time accountability…
I challenge you to log your usage (time/where) and your reason (motivation) for social media for a solid week. The results might just startle and sicken you. Here are couple quick questions to help gauge:
- Did I spend more time with/on it then with what I say I love most?
- Am I an adult, but still use a “pacifier”?
Are you wasting your life, by letting the pacifier in your pocket suck it out of you?
- Am I wiser or dumber for using it? (that’s right…energy, mental capacity, and effort are used to interact…even with social media). I found I actually became smarter (I know, debatable) when I used/ interacted w/ it less.
5.) Listen to others…
This may sound too simple, but I believe it can be one of the most helpful on the list. Simply put…LISTEN TO OTHERS. I have found that w/ social media and other areas of my life, God has often times warned me about my overindulgence/ abuse by others speaking into my life.
Do others make comments to you like: you sure are on that a lot, can you look at me, can you put that down, I’m talking to you, you’ve got an addiction, I never see your face, etc.
I believe these are all warning sign questions and should be alarms to us tech junkies that we have probably crossed the line of obsession/ addiction/ dependency. The hard part about this, is our rebellious hard hearts never want to listen to others that question what we so deeply covet. In many ways, we will guard these sins and embrace them close to the chest, where few have access to.
LISTEN TO THOSE WHO LOVE YOU…THEY LOVE YOU.
In my next blog post I will try and help by offering ways in which we can use and enjoy social media in healthy ways.