I live in Los Angeles, a mega-city. A city with so many people so close together. A city that is made up of hundreds of little cities all self-identifying themselves as their own enclaves. It’s odd to say this, but…
I FEEL SO ALONE.
And frankly, I’m not alone in feeling alone. As we become even more connected online, we’ve become so disconnected offline. We’ve lost the art of true community.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
You see, online we post our best selves. Our perfect selves for some. Our selfies are Photoshopped and filtered, our parties feature thousands of photos, but only the best are posted. Our moments alone, even in struggle, are viewed in a happy thought simply because we don’t like negativity online. A recent survey—by Facebook, no less—studied negative versus positive posts on the social giant. They discovered the following:
“Facebook has found that seeing positive posts influences people to post positive updates, seeing negative posts influences people to post negative updates, and that an absence of emotion on their News Feed leads them to post less overall.” —Wired magazine
In essence, we get more likes, more engagement, when we post happy thoughts. But we’re not discouraging you from posting less-than-happy thoughts. We’re VERY positive here at PI, but the reality is we’re all struggling in some regard. And as we become even more disconnected offline, our struggles and problems are masked by that person we’ve identified online as ourselves.
So, what should we do? Well, can I say something outrageous for a second?
Yes, you read that right: Call someone. In fact, call someone to hang out. Don’t text, don’t Facebook-message them, call them. We’ve lost the art of true community. The world we live in now feels so fake, so forced. When we are struggling with something, we need to reach out to our friends and family. We need to pray, but praying won’t always do it. There is a reason why the Bible speaks so much about community—it’s because as Christians, we need it. Our thoughts are too dangerous sometimes.
Look at the following:
- For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:20)
- Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
- Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
These three verses I selected show us one thing that the Bible is very clear about: We need to commune with one another and be there for each other. Nobody should feel alone or struggle alone. Social media is a good tool, but it’s neglecting our feelings.
So, I encourage you to fight back at this moment in time. The moment in time that is urging us to post and share more online. Somewhere, someone is struggling.
Here are some things you can do:
- Reach out to them.
- Call them.
- Invite someone over to talk.
- Have a picnic outside with no phones present.
- Go out to lunch after church and stay out all day.
- Commune and pray with one another in person.
Let’s be there for each other offline, because it’s what we’re called to do.