Look at many people younger than 30 and you’ll see it. Head down, attention focused on their phone or device more than the real world. Heck, it’s happening to me and I’m well past 30! We rely so much on communicating with others via text or social media that in-person communication is becoming a lost art. Even calling someone generates fear in some teens! Enough.
In my quest to being more present, I’m losing some interest in social media. Yes, it’s still interesting to scroll and post but the thrill is wearing off for me. Yet I still find myself looking down at my phone instead of looking up at my life. Ugh. Following our Be PRESENT Lenten Series theme, last week we looked at being purposeful in being present. This week we’ll focus on being present In Real Life. R=Real.
There’s a saying on social media about friends in real life (FRL) as opposed to friends we have in our online or virtual life. I will be the first to say that some of my online ‘friends’ I’ve never met, yet they are some of my most supportive friends. Yet, I don’t want to sacrifice my FRL because I’m creating more virtual friends.
Relationships are about just that-having a relationship often in REAL life! Many relationships start or are embellished by a virtual connection and there’s nothing wrong with this within healthy boundaries, especially for our young people. However, nothing can compare to laughing, crying, being present and sharing a real connection with someone we care about.
Real life being present can be fun, exhilarating, and wonderful. It can also include uncomfortable or difficult moments. It’s easy to see someone’s pain expressed on social media and scroll past or offer up a sad face as a reaction. It’s quite another to talk, pray, cry or just be with someone’s pain in real life. That’s the difference. I want to be present in person–in real life more than I am elsewhere.
Life has many distractions. We and our kids get lured into thinking more of anything is better. Social media only fuels this. Harder courses at school, more extracurricular activities and elite levels of this or that. Parents get caught up in it too then struggle to manage it all along with our aging parents, jobs, home life, personal goals or relationships. Real, authentic life is being sacrificed for what we ‘should’ do or be according to someone else’s standards.
Our family has tried to walk a fine line between participating in what makes sense without sacrificing who we are or Whose we are. At times, we’ve caved to the pressure around us. Other times, we’ve held fast to our belief that the only opinion that matters is God’s. I’d like to keep trending in His direction rather than the world’s. I want my real life to matter and not get sucked into what someone else thinks is a good idea.
But it’s a never ending battle for keeping it real. The apostle Paul reminds us:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.~ Romans 12:2, NLT
Being present in real life and pushing back on the the world’s influence begins with how we think! I love this since HOW we think matters so much to me. What we put into our brain matters! Science is proving in so many ways what God has known all along and shared with Paul to tell us.
When we let God transform our thinking, He transforms our lives.
I don’t want some online hashtag to steer the conversation of my life. I want God to transform me in real life.
So let’s put down our phones, look away from our devices and encourage others to do the same. Let’s participate in our REAL lives, not just those in a virtual community. Let’s laugh, cry, discuss, pray and challenge each other to be the best versions of ourselves-the version God has envisioned for us.
I want to adjust my thinking to His way- transform it as Paul says. Let’s open up our Bibles, participate in worship, pray alone and with others and then apply what God is telling us along the way. Let’s engage in being present in real life more than anywhere else. Let’s not be too busy scrolling to miss our real lives.
How can you be present in real life more this week? What will that look like for you? Last weekend, I took some time away with my daughter. It was tempting to post all the pics and goofy moments on social media. But God steered me away from this with a comment from my daughter-“these are just for us, Mom.” Yes, yes they are. Let’s cherish our moments in real life.
If you do venture onto social media and want to share how you’re applying this-use #BePresent. If we’re going to be online-let’s use it to encourage others to be more present in their real lives! 🙂
Linking words with Brenda at #ChasingCommunity