Yellow tape blows in the wind as tourists press in to peer over the edge of Niagara Falls. Emergency vehicles swirl their lights as firemen and police officers put their heads together and talk quietly.
“What happened?” my husband asked a man standing next to us.
“Some guy went over the falls.”
I suck in a deep breath and whisper a prayer. But it’s what the man said next that stung my heart.
“He probably wanted to get a good picture for Twitter. You know how people are. He ignored the signs. Then he got to the edge and slipped over.”
It turns out that’s not what happened and miraculously, the man survived.
But I kept thinking of those words again and again because it could have been what happened.
A man risking his life for Twitter.
It sounds so foolish.
And yet…don’t I sometimes do that too?
Perhaps not my physical life but the life God has given me.
I love social media. It’s a beautiful way to connect. Some of my deepest relationships have grown from this space. I feel called here.
And yet like with all gifts from God, I’m learning there are boundaries to be heeded. All around Niagara Falls there were signs declaring to stay behind the rails.
There’s a voice within all of us that says, “Just a little bit more…”
One more tweet.
One more email.
One more hour on facebook.
And it happens in our real lives too.
One more drink.
One more purchase.
One more inappropriate conversation.
We ignore the warnings because we think God is holding us back. And He is. He’s holding us back from destroying ourselves.
What are your boundaries?
Besides the clear commandments God gives in Scripture, I believe it’s different for everyone. One question seems to help us determine the distract: When does this shift from life-giving to life-threatening?
At some point even what’s good can become the enemy of what’s best. Sex. Food. Social Media. They can all be full of joy and bring life. But they also can destroy us if we let them. I’m weak and easily tempted. The moment I forget that is the moment my heart begins climbing over the rails.
For me, that means I have a Cyber Sabbath each week and I ask close friends to keep my accountable in other areas where I struggle. We can’t do this alone.
As I drift off to sleep in my bed that night it seems I can still hear the rush of Niagara falls in my ears. So much beauty. So much capacity for destruction. God, help us always choose the first.
Holley Gerth, author of You’re Already Amazing
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