I can handle it. I’m going to check my feed for five minutes because I need a break and I want to catch up on the news. And maybe see what’s going on with my friends . . .
Yeah, you guessed it. I was still scrolling through photos and stories two hours later, proving I’m not in control as much as I thought.
My story isn’t new and neither are the excuses. You don’t need to hear all the details about my painful joints and the amount of time I spend lying down. I’ve learned to be productive, managing my daily tasks as I rest, and I’m delighted I can get so much done. But after work I check my feeds on Facebook and Twitter and too often there I go again, sliding into the void . . .
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV
There are so many opinions on the dangers of social media, my little brain can’t process it all. What concerns me, though, is how easily I’m drawn in – and kept there – by the distractions. Dare I use a stronger word and say seductions?
A few days ago my husband and I watched interviews of former executives and designers of the most popular social media platforms. It was alarming. At the end we asked ourselves what they were going to do to fix the problems they helped create.
But what they do is not my business. Instead, I should be concerned about how I’m managing me.
Where to start? I acknowledge that I’m a sheep. I follow other sheep because that’s what sheep do. No matter how convinced I am that I’m choosing my own path, I have to admit that my default is to take the easiest way without thinking things through or asking God for guidance.
Sheep can be startled by a loud noise and take off running away from safety instead of towards it, all because it seems like a smart move at the time. Yup, that’s me.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.Isaiah 53:6 ESV
Here’s what Jesus, who calls himself the good shepherd, said:
“. . . The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”John 10:3-5 ESV
How can I be sure it’s his voice I’m hearing in my head? For me, the answer lies in practicing. I start by asking for his help. I read the Bible to see how people in the past communicated with God and I talk to him like they did.
Immersing my mind in his words helps me detect faulty thinking that may crop up. I love those times when I recognize something seems off and I can say wait, that’s not right. God doesn’t talk like that.
Of course I make mistakes, that’s okay. He’s patient, and he knows I am a sheep. When I say or do something silly I shine my flashlight of faith on it and confess my error. And when I’m unsure of the direction I should take? That’s when I exercise my faith and say, “Correct me if I’m wrong, Lord. I really want to do your will.”
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.Isaiah 30:21 ESV
There’s a free 30-day Bible study course in progress now from Bible Gateway. It can help you get started on recognizing God’s voice. Though it started a couple weeks ago it’s not too late to join – I did and quickly caught up. I enjoyed the overview of the Bible its given me so far, and it covers a lot of ground in a short time.
After shopping around the internet for a photo to go along with this post, I darkened the screen, set my phone down, and pushed it out of my reach. I looked up and asked God how did I do? This time I was able to resist giving social media two hours of my attention. Instead I redirected my thoughts to the One I love most, and I trust that with practice I’ll do even better.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis