More than any other time in the history of the world, we have an incredible capacity to live our lives for others to see.
- Facebook has over 1.4 billion users worldwide
- Twitter boasts 190 million tweets a day
- 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute*
As a runner, I use an iPhone app that tracks my routes, calculates my pace, and allows me to share this data with other runners (and vice versa). The fact that my run will be on display for a few others to see has been the source of inspiration to keep going at times when I’d rather dog it. I’m grateful for that.
But for all the benefits of living on display, there is a cost.
My running app has changed what running used to be for me. It used to be “me” time. It’s not anymore, even though no one else is physically present.
That’s what display does. By definition, it makes something visible. It’s an important part of relationship. Like when your mom put your art on the fridge, or when your boss drew attention to your good work, or when your friends gathered for your birthday to tell you what you mean to them.
Our problem comes when display displaces relationship, with God and with others.
Too much living on display wearies my soul. And it actually cripples my capacity for fuller relationships.
I need space. Solitude. My soul can’t breathe without it. I need room where I can pay attention to those things that matter only to God and me but to no one else. Otherwise, what’s most valuable to me might end up on display’s cutting room floor.
For me this means turning off my phone. It means writing things no one will ever read. It means enjoying nature without taking pictures. It means being able to worship or weep with no one looking.
When I allow this kind of not-for-display space in my life, I end up able to be more attentive to others face-to-face. And I like myself more.
This morning when I left for my run, my phone stayed home. I didn’t know how far I had gone or how fast I was going. And I felt a pang of disappointment about it.
But, funny thing, it kinda felt like coming home.
Leave a comment below: How do you use social media to stay connected? What tips help you keep a healthy balance between social media and real life relationships?
* Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/social-networking-statistics/