I realize that the title alone would cause the stanchest of Believers to turn their heads and move on from this blog. And yet, if you are daring enough to read on you will discover a very painful lesson I learned over the passed few months.
Instagram. "Capture and Share the World's Moments," it boasts. "Instagram is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family. Instagram. Created with the intention of capturing life and sharing it with others. And yet, it seems to have done the complete opposite. It has been used by countless individuals as a way to capture a life that they are truly without. One that is fulfilling, meaningful, and freeing. Instagram is addicting, accessible, and subtle. You can easily receive updates on your mobile phone at all hours of the day and night, watching the "lives" of others and wondering why it is that perfectly painted picture of a fulfilling life does not match what you know to be true of yours.According to marketingcharts.com, "The average American spends more than 3 hours a day on social networks." I wonder how much of that time is wasted on Facebook and Instagram. One must wonder, "If my life is so great, then why do I feel as if I need to spend my time watching others lives? If my life is fulfilling, then why am I wasting it on social media networks." Why is it that we feel the need to paint a beautiful life for others to see? Do we need to feel wanted? Loved? Not alone? Why is it that we spend so much time watching others "lives"? What is missing from our own lives that makes me want to watch other lives instead of living in my own?
My journey began in July of this year. My husband and I began a 40-day prayer fast. We gave up certain things in our lives and replaced them with prayer, namely specific foods. In addition to these specific foods, I decided to fast Instagram. It began to weigh heavy on my heart how many times a day I would click on Instagram for "lack of anything better to do". A few seconds here, a few seconds there, which would sometime turn into minutes, and hours. A lack of anything better to do....Quite a disturbing statement from one who claims to have a deep relationship with the Lord, one who says she desires to seek hard after the Lord, and to know Him intimately. Hours wasted on watching others lives when it could have been spent so many other ways. Conversing with my children. Spending time with my husband. Reading. Talking. Studying God's Word. Praying. Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says , unless you have social media to fill your time. I've read the Scripture from cover to cover and never has it made mention of a lack of anything better to do.
The 40-day prayer fast came and went. I am still learning from it and it was not until 3 months later that I finally downloaded the Instagram app back onto my phone, as of yesterday. What did I find, you may be thinking? I found that nothing has changed. People are still living the same lives. Posting the same type of pictures. Liking the same posts. Life is happening all around us and yet how many of us are stuck trying to create one for ourselves through social networking? Things have changed for me. I realized the terrible cycle I was in, watching others's lives and not living mine. I read an eye opening excerpt from Pastor John MacArthur today that put my life as a Believer into perspective:
"Nothing this world has to offer is more precious than God’s Word. I have a
friend who collects rare Bibles. He owns a wonderful collection, with one Bible
dating back to the fourth century. But my favorite is a Bible from sixteenth-century
England, one of the earliest printed copies of God’s Word. The top third of this
Bible is covered with the blood of its original owner. My friend let me hold it in my
hands, and tears came to my eyes as I leafed through it. How did blood get on the pages of that Bible? When Bloody Mary ruled England, she terrorized Protestants, murdering as many as she could. Her soldiers would spill the person’s blood, then take his Bible and dip it deep into the blood. A few of those Bibles have been preserved and are known as Martyrs’ Bibles. Scientists have tested the paper and confirmed that the dark stains on every page of my friend’s Bible are human blood.
I examined that Bible carefully, page by page. I could see where it was well worn from being studied. There are water stains, as if from tears, and places where a thumb had frayed favorite pages. This was someone’s most valuable possession, and his or her blood is there to prove it." (MacArthur, The Sufficiency of Scripture, 2004)
I wept over these words.
What kind of life have I been living over the past few years? Where have I placed my investments? What or who have I made my gods? Look at the pages of my Bible and there you will find where my true affections lie. Look at the lives of my children and their you will hear of where my precious time is well spent. Look at my knees and there you will find what I do with every waking moment of the day. None of these can bear witness of a life that pours into others. None of these can bear witness of a woman who prays without ceasing, desires the pure milk of the Word above all else, or truly desires children who love the Lord with an unquenchable love. These things that I speak of will bear testimony of one who is selfish and who desires to fulfill her own flesh above all else. One who is truly without love for The Lord, for His Word, for her children, for her husband, for her family, for the eternity of others. Would you like to see where my affections lie? Where my time is spent? It can easily be done if you can pry my phone from my fingers, as it goes everywhere I go. You can easily see by opening my laptop or my iPad. I am a hypocrite. One serving multiple gods, self, while trying to serve the One True and Living God. The God that requires all or none of my affection.
I have wasted my life up until this day. I lack. I have placed self above the Sufficiency of the Word. Today, dear saint, that changes. Today I am resolving to make things different.
Burn the ships! We're not going back! Leaving an eternal mark on this world, one calle at a time.