Social Media: An addict's tale of envy, pride, and distraction

I'm proud to say that I was one of the first 3 million people or so (of the now over 1 billion) on facebook. I joined an astounding 12 years ago back in April of 2005 when facebook was limited to just college students at certain colleges. I have essentially grown up with facebook. It's been a tool that I've used my entire adult life. And there have been (and still are) lots of good things to come from social media.

But I quit. Facebook and instagram. I'm done.

Last week my family was able to go up to a family cabin in Vermont for over a week just to seek some soul restoration. While there, I finally gave into my wife's pleading to delete our social media apps from our phones. It was the best decision we've ever made.

For the first time that I can remember, I was fully present with my family. I wasn't trying to impress anyone with lighting and object placement. I wasn't constantly checking in on how many likes my witty comments were receiving. I wasn't on my phone. I was just there. And it was awesome.

Confession time: I'm a social media addict. Before deleting the apps, I was probably checking facebook and instagram upwards of a dozen times a day. If my wife left the room, I'd check facebook. If my daughter turned her back for a few moments, I'd open instagram. I always have to have some screen in my life - something to fill the noise. And it leaves me just feeling less human (for more on this, check this article from NY Magazine). Now I'm spending more time talking to my family and reading books... things that I enjoy immensely more than memes and curated pointless videos.

That being said, the effects of social on my heart are of more concern. Two evils that I have become aware of in my heart are envy and pride. I'm a competitive person. I could turn sitting in traffic into a competition. I have to catch myself being overly competitive with my three-year old. And I'm a pastor. Which means that I can easily turn pastoring into a competition. Which means that when my pastor friends post pics or updates about great things God has done in their churches - I often don't respond with rejoicing, but rather with envy. It's an ugly reality, but it's the truth. But since leaving social media, I've found it easier to focus on God's work at CoaH and praise God for his work in other churches at the same time.

So, in the great words of the great Ms. Swift: We are never ever ever getting back together. (At least for now...) I'll keep my pages. I'll probably check in from time to time just to make sure no one is trying to get in touch with me or to ask for a recommendation for something. But I'm done being more present on social media than in real life.

- Pastor Fletcher

Fletcher Lang