July 22, 2021
This pandemic has made us experience more loneliness than ever. Whether it’s by circumstance or by choice, there are also times when our social batteries just run empty. Especially in this virtual set up, showing up feels much more difficult and holding a simple conversation can already take an immense toll.
So we detox.
“Social Media Detox.” This term has been floating around for quite some time now. Since the pandemic hit, more and more people have been advocating this practice. By definition, social media detoxification is “a conscious elimination of social media use and consumption for a set period of time.”
We all need a break from social media from time to time because too much of it can be bad for us. One of the warnings psychologists and experts give is the risk of experiencing social isolation.
While social media detoxification can be helpful for us, it doesn’t take away the fact that having deep connections is important. An expert would say that “we will likely benefit more from increasing face-to-face communication when trying to stymie social isolation. Instead of retreating into the perceived comfort of our phones, we need to put down our devices and engage with those in the world around us (and not the world wide web around us).”
Social media may have made it possible for us to build wide networks, but these connections aren’t necessarily deep. The more our networks expand, the more difficult it becomes to keep and grow these connections.
In this day and age of forced isolation and social media detoxification, it’s easier to lose sight of our important connections. Hence, we need to identify which connections we have to keep.
Jesus gave us an example to follow. While earthly fame was not His agenda, He was treated like a celebrity. Wherever He went, crowds followed. Hundreds, even thousands, wanted to be near Him to experience signs and wonders. He had a wide network of followers.
However, we could also see in His life that more than a wide network of followers, He also had deep connections. Who did Jesus prioritize building with and what can we learn from how He navigated His relationships?
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Although it started as a teacher-disciple relationship, Jesus would constantly huddle with His disciples to teach them the meanings of His parables, give lessons about the kingdom of God, or maybe do some errands while they’re on the way to the next town. As they did things together, their relationship grew and they became brothers for life.
Whether it’s face-to-face or online interaction, we must be intentional not only in meeting with our friends but also in keeping and nurturing our relationship with them. If you’re attempting to disconnect from social media, maximize this time to assess the kind of relationship you have with your friends and seek to build deeper connections with them.
Try to not just wait for them to check on you, but be intentional in checking on them, too. Replying to their stories, sending random memes, or recording voice messages can actually go a long way to start and keep conversations.
If the opportunity permits, have conversations about life, purpose, or faith. You’d be surprised how much you’ll discover about them and how much you’ll learn from each other’s perspectives.
As you share your life with them, the more you’ll know that they are for keeps.
And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Jesus only spent three years doing ministry on Earth. The rest of it was probably doing household chores and carpentry. Although not much has been said about Jesus being a son or brother at home, the significant amount of time He spent with His biological family before fulfilling His mission speaks a lot about how He valued family relationships.
Social media connects us to the outside world, but it also has the capacity to disconnect us from our own world.
Our family, no matter how it looks, plays a significant role in our lives. Keeping a healthy relationship in the home is part of our responsibility. Each of our family members have a role to play in our lives that they must fulfill, but we also have a part to play in our relationship with them.
Try to imagine Jesus, perfect as He was, dealing with issues in the home not as a parent that leads but as a son who serves and submits. He didn’t have a perfect family setup, yet He honored them nonetheless.
On the day of His execution, His family was there to grieve His demise. Jesus wasn’t just a charismatic figure trying to make an impact on the masses; He practiced all the things He preached with the very people who were with Him from the beginning.
And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
After a long day at work, Jesus will depart from everyone in order to pray. In moments where the crowds were going wild and were beginning to swell up, He would often find the backdoor and make a quiet exit into His private place to be alone. His disciples would often find Him praying every morning and evening, either before or after heading on to new places to continue their ministry journey.
For Jesus, praying is more than just talking to God and waiting for further ministry instructions. When He was asked how to pray, He regarded God as Father (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2), which is a relational term that speaks of intimacy. The more time He spent with His heavenly Father, the more His character matured, His steps became clearer, and their relationship grew deeper.
Spending time with God changes not just the way we view our lives, but also the way we value all our other relationships. The quality of our relationships with others grows as we get to talk and hear from God every day.
If Jesus had a social media account, He would’ve had a wide reach of followers. But we can see that He was disciplined enough to detach from the crowd because the example that He wants to set is not to chase after clout, but to build deep connections with people.
In our attempt to distance ourselves from whatever’s happening outside, let us not forget that there are relationships worth keeping. At times when we want to pull away, these are the very relationships that would seek to pull us back not for what we do for them, but because we matter to them.