“Keep your heart will all vigilance, for from it ﬂow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23
It was the middle of the afternoon, not late at night when my mind was tired or early in the morning before I had reminded myself of the Lord’s faithfulness and new mercies. I was alone, but not in a dangerous place. I was in my apartment.
But maybe that seemingly safe setup added to the shock when I saw the disturbing news on my screen as I scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed. My eyes, mind and heart met with sudden pain, witnessing the rebellion of a friend against the Lord’s goodness. Her sin was blatant, and my pain for her soul was sharp. This one incident became the last straw I needed to deactivate Facebook, my only social media.
What was my reasoning?
First, I found that my newsfeed consistently threw my heart from surprise or disgust to boredom, happiness and anything in between. Moreover, I was essentially powerless in controlling what I saw. Do you feel this when you get on social media? How are you processing what you see? Have you ever experienced your heart being dragged here and there through a variety of emotions? This final incident illuminated what I was subjecting my heart to each time I logged onto Facebook. I was forced to ask myself, “Am I keeping my heart with all vigilance?” and “What effect is checking social media having on me?”
Second, I was alone – yet discipleship isn’t built in when you are alone. In the moment, I asked God for help. Later I sought the counsel of others in responding and processing the pain. I had to intentionally bring this pain to the light to receive help and learn how to respond. The accessibility of the internet and devices encourages us to see and interact in secret places without human accountability and guidance. It can be a barrier to Christians learning from each other how to live like Christ.
Convincing you to deactivate your Facebook account isn’t my purpose. But I hope my thought process has made you think more deeply about social media. Trying asking yourself the following questions:
Am I in an appropriate location? Is this an appropriate time or is this going to affect my next in-person encounter with people? Will checking now be beneﬁcial? Am I going to trust myself to process whatever my eyes see or am I willing to bring to light confusing or hard information with another person? What am I looking to get out of this time on social media? Is my heart in an appropriate posture?
Ultimately, we all need to ask ourselves – is social media moving me closer toward keeping my heart with all vigilance?
Molly Peele lives in Providence, RI, where she serves as a collegiate missionary at Johnson and Wales University.