Scrolling Zone

Written by: Jody Mugford

Social media can be an amazing platform for sharing and reaching out to others.  Our world has become so small in the past 10-20 years, it’s mindboggling.  What other avenue allows you to spread the good news of Jesus, share prayer requests, and connect with others all over the globe in mere seconds!?  God is certainly not out of touch or “behind the times”.  He knows how to best use technology to help others and do good for His Kingdom.  I must add, however, that I think the enemy also loves social media.   The internet, in general, is a tool Satan can use with expertise and I think social media is one of his favorite components.  I was contemplating this the other day and felt the Holy Spirit sprinkling seeds of awareness in my heart.

This tug I’ve been sensing in my spirit lately revolves around social media but primarily regarding the amount of time I spend on it.  In full transparency, my life can often look something like this: after a hectic day at work or home, and the evening busyness of supper, baths, and bedtime, I desperately want some relaxing time.  I exit the girls’ room and stop in the kitchen to survey the mess.  As I’m standing there, I open my phone to social media and start scrolling.  My kitchen is still in turmoil, I have projects I want to complete and lunches need to be packed, but I just made 20 minutes of precious time disappear simply by scrolling.  When I come out of my “scrolling zone”, I realize it’s already getting late and I have lots left to do.  Later in the evening, my husband and I will try to sit together and watch a television show, if we can.  After the episode finishes, I find myself still on the couch mindlessly scrolling through social media.  I don’t even remember picking up my phone!  Another bit of valuable time wasted…time I could have better used by going to bed and reading my bible, spending some time in prayer or having a nice chat with my husband.  Sound familiar to anyone?

I’m not sure if others struggle with this like I do, but I have definitely been hearing God remind me that my time is valuable, not only to me but to Him!  There is much He wants me to do for my family, my friends, my church and my community.  And, above all, I need to prioritize my relationship with Him.  My time with my Heavenly Father should be nonnegotiable to me.  So many days we say we don’t have time but God has been causing me to stop and take stock of what I’m doing at that moment.  Is this activity the wisest use of my time or reflective of His set of priorities for my life?

He’s also trying to get me to realize that when I spend my spare time “scrolling”, I leave very little space for mental silence.  Even during downtime, my mind is constantly being bombarded with images, slogans, and the “top 10 lists” of social media.  These aren’t necessarily wrong but I’ve come to recognize that if my mind never rests, I become less aware of God’s presence.  If there is no time for quiet, I become saturated with the instant gratification of technology.  Over time, the God-shaped void that aches in our spirits when we are distant from Him becomes so full of other things, we don’t even recognize the emptiness is still there.  We’ve filled it with worldly things that will never satisfy and we wonder why we feel discontent, unsettled and discouraged.  This is a key trick of the enemy!  If he can consume us with constant stimulation (social media or otherwise!), we never stop and let our minds rest.  We don’t recognize that God is calling to each and every one of us.  We miss the opportunity to evaluate ourselves, to search for Him and to know Him…simply because we never stop long enough to listen.

In today’s information-obsessed culture, these are important questions to ask.  Lord, are you trying to speak to me but I can’t hear you over all the other noise?  How should I spend my time?  Can I reprioritize?  They may be small changes or they may be big revelations, but any direction He gives us will undoubtedly improve our relationships, our priorities and our closeness with Him.  Please hear my heart!  Social media can be a great resource (I certainly use it!) but it will be even better if we let God in to guide us.  He knows how to best use these tools, for our good and for His purposes.  Let’s take some time to ask Him and listen…

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”  Ephesians 5:15-17

“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”  Colossians 3:2

Love and blessings,