Archive for August, 2015

Every morning, I have my social media routine. Instagram first – it’s my favorite. I open Twitter, check my email and finally Facebook where I mindlessly scroll and swipe, pausing on the stories that I’m most interested in seeing. Sound familiar?

Throughout my day, I would unconsciously open my browser on my phone, type in “f” and hit enter. My phone knows that “f” in the search bar means Facebook. I’ve trained it that well. Then, a month ago I quit Facebook.

To be honest, I was struggling to see the purpose of my scrolling. I would find myself just wasting time and getting lost in the deep abyss of updates, religious rants and cat videos. I would log off and fail to recall seeing anything of value. Yes, it was nice to be “connected.” But the more often I said it, the less I believed it was actually true.

The average American spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook.(1) And among adult users on the social media site, the average number of friends is 338.(2) So if we do the math, we spend roughly 7 seconds per friend (assuming we haven’t blocked half of them because of their political views, baby pictures, or Farmville invitations!)

I suppose this is why I quit. I didn’t need one more excuse to perpetuate false connections with friends. Being a traveling musician, I am learning to value the time spent face-to-face with people. I long for deeper relationships, broader conversations; to know and to be known. It is becoming more and more difficult to cultivate offline relationships in our online world.

Henri Nouwen says this, “What we see, and like to see, is cure and change. But what we do not see and do not want to see is care: the participation in the pain, the solidarity in suffering, the sharing in the experience of brokenness.”(3)

Care takes time. True connection takes time and presence – much longer than the 7 seconds we allot while we are online. Brené Brown defines connection “as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”(4)

In our ever-present need for social connection, the temptation is to believe that it happens online. That by sharing our opinions, favorite selfies and blogs, we are seen, heard and valued. But we were designed for more. We were designed for an exchange. Jesus’ ministry was not only focused on the masses, but also spent intentionally with his 12 best friends.

The night before he was betrayed and murdered, he gave them the greatest charge. “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35) Jesus revealed that connection was an exchange. A receiving of love and a giving of love. Connection is not something we observe, but rather something in which we participate.

Love is cultivated over time. Quitting Facebook didn’t free up a ton of time and I don’t believe it is the solution to our problem with connection. But it is one less distraction I fight against each day. My hope is to be more present in each moment. To love more fully. To care more deeply. To take serious the charge of Jesus, to love the way He has loved me.

(1) Mark Zuckerberg, Q2 earnings call. Reported by nbcnews.com

(2) Pew Research Center, 6 New Facts about Facebook. Aaron Smith. 2/3/14

(3) Henri JM Nouwen, Out of Solitude

(4) Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection.

https://www.weareworship.com/us/blog-2/quitting-facebook

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The goal of every interaction is INFLUENCE! This truth has so many been unaware of. Whether you realize it or not, whether you affirm it or not, the aim of every form of engagement, relationship, whatsoever form of contact—influence is the end-game. The higher authority always greets the lower one. The great over the small, in this case.  Anyone, especially the devote child of God who is able to unravel the mystery of influence in any form of interaction will be mindful of what he/she interacts with and even so, to what extent they relate.

You are basically a product of Nature and Nurture. In other words, a product of Heredity (nature) and Environment (Nurture). Heredity refers to the gene interaction of your parents, thus you look like them; while Environmental factors means the influence that accrue from the society one grows up in, upbringing, etc. While Heredity forms the “plate” and “Blueprint” of the “you” that you know; the environmental becomes the pen that writes upon that “plate” or the “operating system” the “blueprint” runs by. This is a basic Psychological fact. The environment becomes the basic force that models the individual’s beliefs, values, norms; therefore breeding attitudes, character, etc. These include the physical, social, intellectual, even the spiritual environment. Simply put, what you read, watch, listen to, interact with forms the broad influence of your life. It will not be farfetched to say you are presently a product of all these things over the years. Those who disagree with this fact do so in ignorance due to the fact that the influence-process happens subconsciously i.e. below conscious awareness.

In fact, the reason why we are encouraged to keep constant proper communion with Christ is that the more time we spend with Him, the more we are transformed to become like Him. (2 Corinthians 3.18). The more He influences us to produce effective change- to become like Him. Why? Influence remains the key function.

Social Media craze has had a serious grip upon this generation over the past two decades. The media and social networks have served as a link to a large populace not only in Nigeria, but of the whole world. Business, investments, industries, etc; all have found blossom through the internet/media/social media.

This exposition does not intend to make useless the value of the media and social networks or denounce them as totally worthless, no! Neither is it to say that believers must all abstain from it. No. But all Believers must come to a stern realization that “the system of this World is not designed to make us succeed”, in fact it is put in place to destroy our faith! This is not a tentative guess, it is a reliable truth. Check the trend of things in this world, make your findings and evaluate. Also, Believers must make a resolve to deal shrewdly with things of this World, especially the internet, media and social networks as is our focus in this dealing. Make it a habit not to lightly believe everything that comes out of the media! For it is highly orchestrated. Learn to sieve whatever you get from the media. Because when addiction to social media sets in, like other forms of addiction, you don’t care whatsoever…you just “wanna” get more of it. Thus we must instill discipline and order as we relate with the social media.

About Influence again, the greater influence the smaller. Even though this might not really matter when addiction sets in…it becomes only a matter of gratification to satisfy the desire to always connect. Influence cannot be seen, it can only be beheld. Its impact is just made manifested. As Myles Munroe would put it, when purpose [of a thing] is not known abuse is inevitable. So when abuse sets in, addiction is not far away, it follows. Thus influence cannot be regulated. If control is not exercised over our relationship with the social media. Believers become the slave to it. And Paul, cautions and advice that we must become slaves to nothing, especially of this world except to Jesus, of whom he is.

Influence as it is, becomes the point of making of actions, attitudes, character, and indeed behavior. We build our values, beliefs and life principles at the “gate” of influence.  We must first greet with the Word daily before we meet the World we live in daily so as to counter this effect as Believers. A question I ask myself as a social media user is: who is exerting the greater influence over the other…the social media or I? I suggest every Believer-social media user must honestly answer that question. I just hope the older generation does not perceive this question to be only for the younger ones who are using facebook, twitter, whatsapp, BBM and the likes of them. This also includes the general media; entertainment media and other forms of media engagement.

In addition, we need to constantly ask ourselves; how do I use the internet (social media) and even more importantly, how does the internet (including social media) use me? Also, how does my does my decisions and goals dictate my behavior on the internet even most importantly; at what point and how does the applications, networking, processes, people I meet online influence me? How is that changing my behavior and as a result, my life?

Is it also true that whenever you come online, your use of these social networks is PRODUCTIVE?

What forms the major INFLUENCE in your life? The Media/Social Media/Internet? Or the sheer and powerful Word of God?

This is my new-found philosophy: that if I must touch the highest Heaven, if I must access the deepest depth; if at all I must access deep secrets as pertaining to the Kingdom; if I must plunge into that ever-flowing spiritual river; if I must tap into spiritual visions in highest realms, deep truths of God,  then I must reshuffle my table of Influence, removing myself from this unreal world that has hijacked the destinies of many and hand over same to Yeshua for constant divine spirit-transformational experience. Jesus must be our daily influence. Greet with the Word of God daily before you meet your World. That’s how you keep in charge.

In all:

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18 King James Version (KJV)