I’ve realized I love Instagram more than Jesus.
I journaled this prayer a few weeks ago:
How do we retrain our brains to not be satisfied and fed by red notifications, but by the Presence of God?
To not hunger for the sound of a text message but for the sound of His Voice?
To not seek the approval of people but to know that we are His Beloved?
To dive into the Scriptures rather than swiping when we have a free moment?
We can look back and see – when have there ever been enough likes to make us feel loved? When have we heard from enough people to solidify our worth? When has a person’s approval ever made us feel wholly, fully good enough? When has scrolling ever made our hearts rest easy? Never.
But, ah, yes – I can remember the times when being in His Presence made me feel complete – and when His Voice has assured me of who I am – and when I have leaned back against the chest of Him, who tells me I am beloved – and when His Alive and Active Word has calmed my fears and stilled my heart and made my soul smile.
We are creatures of habit – and we are addicts – every single one of us. If only we could have the best habits and be addicted to the right things.
I wish the first thing I wanted to do when I opened my eyes in the morning was to seek His Presence, rather than watch people’s stories. I wish that the first thing I wanted to do when I get home from a long day at work was to read His Word rather than see all the amazing things that everyone else is doing with their lives. I wish I loved Jesus as much as I love Instagram.
If only every time we say, “I just need…” that “You” would be the next prayer off our lips rather than coffee, yoga, a minute alone, an extra hour, more sleep, less work, a boyfriend, a better friend, a drink, a smoke, a swipe, a whatever-it-is that you think will make you feel better, whole, relaxed, known.
One of my favorite things I learned in seminary was to ask the question, “What legitimate needs are being met in illegitimate ways?” Our desires and longings are legit:
We want to be known (legit) so we overshare
We want to be loved (legit) so we post for likes
We want to have influence (legit) so we work for followers
We want to be refreshed (legit) so we _____ (pick your poison)
When I find myself on the couch with Netflix for hours, or continually scrolling and switching back and forth from one social media outlet to another, I have to ask myself this question: What legitimate need am I meeting in an illegitimate way? Then I can find what I am actually, really, truly needing (sidenote: being “needy” is a reality of our human condition, not necessarily a flaw), and we can ask the real question: What will actually satisfy my need?
It will probably never be what your flesh immediately tells you. It is actually always an invitation into being loved and resting in His Presence. I cannot imagine a problem that could be too big for His arms or a need to needy for His heart.
I have this idealized picture of what I want my life to look like: graceful, tender, rhythmic, Spirit-filled. But I don’t do any of the things I need to do in order to create that kind of life. Instead I sit on my couch and waste hours watching shows I’ve already seen (which has its place, yes) and scroll scroll scroll until I hate myself, my life, and everyone else. Anybody else with me?
I have been speaking this over our student leaders: find true rest, not just the numbing of social media and Netflix. Because we find out what we love by how we spend our time. So based off my life choices, I love Instagram a whole lot more than I love Jesus.
These lives of rhythm and grace don’t just happen. We won’t just wake up one day and love Jesus more than everything else. It is a choice, a discipline, just like loving anyone is. We have to decide that we want to get there and do whatever it takes. We have to believe that being loved by Him and loving Him will be the solution to anything life could throw at us.
Practical challenge for this week:
Stay off social media (or your phone in general) for the first hour after you wake up, and the hour before you go to bed. Instead – read a book, your Bible, pray, journal, write someone a letter, make your bed, sit in silence with a cup of coffee, lay on the floor and count things you’re grateful for…send me any other ideas. (: