Although I try my best not to get on my phone first thing in the morning, the other day I checked Instagram soon after I woke up. Twenty minutes later, I went downstairs, made breakfast, scrolled through Instagram again, and then hopped on Facebook.
I put down my phone, feeling like I needed to actually get something done and decided to read my Bible and a devotional. When I was finished, I took a shower and got ready, pulled out my Macbook and sat down at my desk to check email. Once my inbox was manageable, I hopped over to Instagram and Facebook — again.
It sounds crazy as I type it all out. And that day, when I caught myself checking social media a few times within a couple of hours, I wondered why I was doing it incessantly. Deep inside, I knew my constant checking was about more than keeping up with emails and updates.
My heart was chasing after something more.
Finally, I paused to ask myself why — Why do I keep checking online?
I sat there for a moment, waiting for my heart to respond when these words rose up in my thoughts: You keep coming back because your heart longs for connection.
I wasn’t sure if it was God speaking to my heart or me answering my own question, but I did know this:
No matter how many times I hop on social media, it will never be enough to satisfy my need for real-life friendships.
Back in the spring, when our country entered the startling uncertainty of navigating a deadly global pandemic, our lives and relationships changed in an instant. Walking through various phases of COVID-19 quarantine, being with only immediate family, wearing masks and social distancing, we all grieved the loss of real-life relationships that were getting reduced to quick conversations via text.
That morning, as I stared at my phone, I recognized how much face-to-face time with friends over the past six months (even those wearing masks) had been reduced to a bare minimum.
I was trying to fill a God-created need for real-life relationships with a screen and alphabet keys.
My heart craved something no amount of digital conversations could fill. So what did I do? I pulled out my phone and did the old-fashioned thing of calling a friend without texting her first to see if she could talk.
She was at work and didn’t answer so I left a message in voicemail. I told her what was going on with me and asked if we could get together soon. I promised we could sit six-feet apart on my front porch or backyard patio and wear masks if needed. I just needed time together, to connect in real life.
The following week we met for lunch at my house. Looking into a friend’s eyes, listening to each other talk, and being listened to was just what we both needed.
Jesus valued face-to-face connections and surrounded Himself with intimate friends — His Father, His close friends John, Peter, and James, and then the other nine disciples.
He also had friends like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus — people He spent time with over meals and with whom He had conversations about spiritual truths that applied to their everyday lives. Through His example, we see how important it is to satisfy our craving for connection by spending face-to-face time with friends, even if it means getting a little bit creative.
Do you ever catch yourself checking social media more than once in a three-hour span? If so, the next time you do, ask Jesus to help you get creative in connecting with an in-real-life friend. Maybe you could go for a walk together or sit outside and visit. And if that’s not possible, schedule time for more than a quick phone call, so you can hear each others’ voice or a zoom call, where you can see each others’ face. I promise you will be glad you did!Leave a Comment