“You know you’re just putting off the inevitable.”
The well-meaning but agitating words hit me like a splash of ice water in the face. They came from a lovely lady in my weekly Bible study when I casually joked that my teenagers aren’t on any social media platforms so they may have missed the somewhat gossipy story to which she was referring.
No Instagram, no Snapchat, no whatever it is that was probably invented recently that I don’t yet know about. It’s not that I’m totally backward or unaware of these things. They’ve just never asked for it or seemed to care, so I haven’t pressed the issue. The older they get, the more in the minority they become. So like most parents these days, I lie awake at night wondering if I’m doing the right thing or completely messing them up forever. The words of the Bible-study mom ring in my ears, “You can’t keep them in a bubble forever!”
It occurred to me in the wee hours of the morning that perhaps we have this whole thing backward. Maybe all these platforms and all the two-dimensional “experiences” they offer are the actual bubble. Maybe just living your life semi-oblivious to what everyone else is doing is where the good stuff is found.
I’ll be honest, I have social media and I use it. I love connecting with friends and fellow believers. I’ll also be the first to admit that it’s taken me years to wade through the negative side-effects of pride, showing off, and just plain needing people’s approval that it brings with it. As an adult, I still need to be reminded of where my worth comes from. I have to be comfortable swimming upstream when everyone else is going downstream. If I’m obsessed with this stuff, how can I expect my kids to be any different?
So I ponder about the bubble and if I’m making the right choices or not. I genuinely have to remind myself that the virtual world isn’t the real deal. Our best interactions still happen in real life, or “IRL” as the kids call it when they text each other. In math class, on the school bus, or in the dugout. When we exchange the real for the virtual, we are putting ourselves right back into a bubble.
I love the words of Paul in Galatians 6:12-14:
“As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh…only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
We all desire to make a good showing of ourselves, don’t we? It’s human nature, but that desire can really get away from us if we don’t have something bigger to boast in. Let’s boast in Jesus, let’s be proud of what HE has done for us. Paul was “determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
I’d love to be able to get out of the bubble and set my mind to the real-life happening all around me. I hope my kids can do the same. Maybe we are just putting off the inevitable, but I’d like to think that filling our hearts and minds with what is real will leave less and less room for the counterfeit if and when it makes its appearance.
Featured Image by Mar Sendra Mortell