“Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy.”– Pope St. Paul VI
It’s been about three months since deleting social media on my phone, and I am never going back. I used to make all sorts of excuses about why I couldn’t delete Facebook (i.e. I need to be marketing, talking to clients, commenting on every little post, etc.). But I was blessed to find out that the majority of my clients come from word of mouth and return customers–thank God–and my absence on my Facebook page made very little difference to my business. Of course, I kept my messaging apps to keep in touch and checked Facebook weekly. To my surprise, each time I logged on, I grew less interested in spending time there.
This is a subject I have written on before, but it’s one that has become important to me. I see a society content with being spoon fed entertainment by entities hiding behind a screen. I see the comment sections turning decent people into argumentative bullies. I see the devil winning the war against silence and prayer. Think about it: if we mindlessly scroll instead of pondering the great mysteries of our God and his creation, hasn’t Satan won?
It is so very easy to continually look into someone else’s world and wish it was our own. Young women are now carbon copies of each other, wearing the same clothes, fake eyelashes, fake nails, and hair extensions.
We have lost the ability to see the beauty of our own lives in front of us. Spouses are ignored and replaced with photos of flesh on a screen; children are raised by YouTube; God’s creation is endlessly filtered to be presented in another dimension. And make no mistake: when you open social media, it is a world out of your control.
I am the first to admit that I have been sucked into the trap of clicking on ads and buying on impulse, of resharing shocking news stories because I think it’s really making a difference. But I grew tired of taking the easy path that was laid out for me by digital designers and companies who are paid for every second I look at a post.
Setting time restrictions on my phone never worked: I would bypass it and continue scrolling whenever it warned that time was up. And if you are remotely human, the same goes for you. The sad truth is that our phones are smarter than we are: they know how to hold our attention for hours before we realize what is happening.
The narrow road is harder. The only way I could truly make a difference in my life, clear my head, focus on my own circle of influence (which, by the way, is a LOT smaller than my circle of concern) was to delete the apps altogether and log off on my browser.
On the eve of the season of Advent, the four weeks leading us to the birth of Jesus on Christmas, I have a challenge for all of my readers. If you are so inclined, try deleting the social media apps off of your phone for the month of Advent. To your best ability, prepare your heart for the coming of Jesus. Spend more time with people and prayer. See how much more joy you find within yourself.
If you are one of those people that believes your work depends on your presence on social media, I invite you to consider two things: First, does it really? Or are you making an excuse? Second, if it truly does, is there nothing you can do to lessen your time? For example, directing clients to your messages instead of the comment section and checking Facebook once in the evening on your desktop.
The wealth of the richest people in the world depends on your presence on social media (and yet they avoid it themselves). The health of your mind, body, and soul depends on your choosing to live life in the present. Let us not scroll without end, but pray unceasingly.
“Christ lived for thirty years in silence. Then, during his public life, he withdrew to the desert to listen to and speak with his Father. The world vitally needs those who go off into the desert. Because God speaks in silence.”
― Cardinal Robert Sarah, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise
If you have not seen The Social Dilemma, I invite you to do so to see what happens behind your screen.
If you would like to hear a fantastic definition of what’s going on in our culture in relation to Christians and their souls, this interview was jaw-dropping and life-changing: Technology, Politics, and Radical Christian Living w/ Marc Barnes.