It was my first Christmas abroad, and it had been a FANTASTIC day. I hadn’t anticipated that it would be considering it was my first without family around. However, my husband and I had decided to throw a massive party for our Muslim friends that didn’t normally celebrate Christmas, and it was a blast. The gospel was shared to over 30 people that night! We had plenty of food and had gone through at least ten pots of tea. As we said goodbye to our final guest, I crashed on the couch exhausted and fulfilled from a fun Christmas celebration.
I did what (almost) all Millennials do, and opened up my phone to Facebook to see what all my other friends were up to and to share about my evening. It was still early afternoon back in America, my home country. I saw sweet friends opening presents with their children and I saw a family preparing a GIANT ham for their Christmas dinner (something we cannot get in my country). I saw my own family gathered together and smiling over breakfast. I saw my friend groups taking fun selfies – without my own face included. Suddenly, the more and more I scrolled, the more and more it felt like my wonderful Christmas celebration had not actually been that wonderful at all.
We have all been here at some point.
Technology has it’s negative effects
Technology, while an incredible tool, can often remind us of where we are just “not enough.”
From house cleanliness to birthday parties, the comparison game takes place in our minds even if we don’t realize it is happening.
It isn’t just social media that is the problem, however: technology as a whole can contribute to a heart of discontentment. Spending an hour watching the news, for example, can take even the happiest of souls and drag them down as they see the heartbreaking things happening in our world.
Sometimes (guilty here!) the amount of time we spend using technology is what can bring us down! Social media, movies, forums, etc. can be really interesting and even addicting, but at the end of the day we are still empty, left unfulfilled with how we spent our time.
Technology has certainly had some negative effects on our culture. A missionary once told a story of how depression was virtually unheard of until homes got televisions!
Despite the negative effects, however, there are still positive aspects.
After all, you are using technology right now to read my blog and I think that is pretty cool.
As a missionary myself living 8,000 miles from home, I am not ashamed to tell you that I LOVE social media! I love keeping up with friends and sharing my life. I love being able to call my mom at a moment’s notice.
Unlike many of the missionaries who have preceded me, I am able to keep in touch with my friends without having to say a true and final goodbye. What a blessing.
How do we maintain technological balance?
So, how do we balance the good and the bad of technology? Check out my tips below for utilizing technology while curbing its negative effects:
We often hear this idea that not everyone on social media is what they seem. She may seem perfect, but is she really? Of course not, and we know this! Well, our heads know this. Do our hearts? Do our hearts fully understand that perfection is in Christ alone? We are ALL like filthy rags, all of us (Romans 3:23).
Even the most perfect of people struggle. Even the most lovely marriages have issues. And even the most put-together-mother has days where she wonders how she will make it to bedtime.
Sometimes when we flip on our phones to our favorite social media platform, we automatically forget to look at things realistically. We see a gorgeous birthday party for a seven year old with the most lovely color palette and a gorgeous cake that the mother made herself with hands full of love for her child. In a split second we think about our own birthday parties.
Social Media Overuse Can Cause Social Amnesia
We, as humans, are naturally so self-focused that our mind jumps here first! Birthday parties take a lot of work, but we forget it so easily. We forget that she lives close to her mom who helped watch the kids while she got things ready. When we see a child with an expensive toy, we forget that she works many many hours to be able to afford something so gorgeous for her child. We forget about her recent divorce. When we look at these snapshots, we need to consider the whole picture.
Use social media as a prompt to serve
For example, when we see the above example as a woman who worked tirelessly to give her child a wonderful birthday despite his father recently abandoning the family, we are able to feel pride for her and think less of ourselves. We are able to write her and congratulate her for her strength.
When we think less of ourselves, we can even write asking if we can pray for her. We are able to truly be happy for her and her gorgeous birthday party.
We can open up on social media about our own issues. I wrote once about how I had worked SO hard the previous day by meal prepping and homeschool prepping and cleaning the house just to end up with a sick child and burned dinner.
My planning for a perfect day had actually turned into a disaster of a day. The comments I received, however, surprised me as many mothers I love and respect wrote about how they had been there before, and it gets better. Really? They had been in my shoes before? It was so encouraging to realize that sometimes my role models are just like me.
Keep Technology In It’s Place
One of the most important ways to curb the negative effects of technology is simply to keep technology in its place.
It is great to keep up with friends and family who are far away, but do we need to do that as we eat dinner with our family who is right next to us?
Keeping up with the news can be beneficial, but do we need to get alerts on our phones of every small detail and update?
It is exciting to enjoy a new show on Netflix, but do we really need to binge watch everything that moment?
Remember Your Priorities
Ultimately, our walks with the Lord, our husbands, our children, our ministries, our jobs etc. all take priority over technology. When technology starts to interfere in any of these relationships, it is time to step back and check ourselves.
Lastly, I want to remind us of 1 Corinthians 10:31:Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
How can we use technology to glorify God? We can encourage and edify those on our friend lists as they share their lives with us. We can pray over the issues we see in the news and worship simply because in the end we know that the Lord is sovereign over all!
Through social media, we can promote biblically sound resources, we can give testimony to how the Lord is working in our lives. We live in a day and age where we can share the goodness of God with just the click of a button! What an opportunity. Let’s use it well!
What about you?
When used properly, technology can be such a gift! How has technology impacted your life, the good and the bad? What do you do to keep technology in its place? We would love to hear from you!
We want you to join the Christ-Centered Mamas Facebook group! Come and ask questions and be encouraged by other Christian moms. It was mainly this group that sourced the ideas for the Dwell Journal, so it’s a valuable and beautiful community to me, and to the other moms in the group!
– Sarah Hardee
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