Oh my goodness, we have entered another dimension.Not a dimension of a rekindling of our faith or a world-wide revival. It's not a new dimension of travel, space or medicine, either.
We've entered the age of vanity and narcissism--our final frontier. Blame it on our selfie culture and our social media culture.
The Personality and Individual Differences journal found that "narcissism culture with vanity but as a psychological flaw, relates to a feeling of being more intelligent, attractive and better than others," the Daily Mail reported.
If you think selfishness is a problem only geared toward celebrities, think again. As people of faith, we are knee deep into this movement. We are being sucked into a vortex that will only make us unuseful to the Kingdom of God.
Well, there something we can do in our "me" culture. Here are some thoughts to ponder as you use technology, but use discretion as this will sting.
We use technology to be affirmed.We are obsessed with getting our faces on Facebook and taking those cute selfies with our dogs on Instagram. There is nothing wrong with this when there is a balance, but we are addicted and in love with ourselves. If you already have a low self-esteem, this offers a little relief, but eventually, it collapses. If you don't get a response or a "like" you become exasperated because you feel rejected. Sure, you are a cute thing. But we need to go to God when we need validation. Hebrews 4:16 said, "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
We are becoming too self-involved.
Author Joel Osteen said that people are "motivated by only what they want and what they think they need. They rarely do anything for anybody else unless they have an ulterior goal in mind. They are self-involved and self-centered.” Ouch, if we were self-involved before, social media action will encourage this monster. Start checking your motives when posting things online. Are you posting anything out of pride and out of vain self-admiration? If you are, check your spirit if you are endlessly gloating about how great your life is. No one likes a bragger. What does the Word say? Proverbs 27 instructs us to "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth. A stranger, and not your own lips."
We are accumulating fake friends.Another part of our new frontier is collecting scores of so-called friends on social media without really knowing who they are. If you have a foundation for a friendship in addition to Facebook, this is different. When you add anybody to your list, you will be subjected to people and their beliefs flooding your feeds. Keeping healthy friendships is imperative as a believer. Just because they are online, doesn't mean that they can't contaminate your character. Social media users argue that they are social and interactive because they “tell” their “friends” on social media how they’re feeling and this drives their relationships. This makes you wonder who really is your friend?
We are making a god of ourselves.In the past, ministry and culture always would collide. But we are finding that social media is a great tool to help get information out on church events and a great way to minister to people. Author Rahiel Tesfaramariam shared with Yale University that "it was becoming increasingly clear to me that the church must find ways to stay competitive and bring the two worlds of media and faith together – and deliver an authentic message." These dichotomous worlds can work together. However, we are not putting others ahead of ourselves or using technology to spread the gospel. All you have to do is go on social media and visit what people are posting. It is all about us and our pride. We need to look to see if we made technology into an idol.
We are making ourselves depressed."Engaging in activities of little meaning on social media may give a feeling of time wasted that negatively influences mood," the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences reported. Social media use could cause an internet addiction and this is a psychiatric condition linked to depression. "Spending more time on social media may increase the risk of exposure to cyber-bullying or other similar negative interactions, which can cause feelings of depression," the report concluded. We are losing our human interaction, something that is declining in the new media world. Without this communication, people are becoming increasingly isolated and becoming depressed. Hebrews 10:25 instructed us to not "neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another." High reliance on social media and sharing our face with everyone has been linked to depression because it has become so interspersed with having real human connection.
We crave attention.The best way to keep yourself from getting sucked into our selfie culture is to be cognizant of our intentions. We can do this by putting Jesus first in our lives. From attention-seeking stars to the oversharing, we all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. People post the mundane of their lives online to prove that they are active. You know the posts of people explaining that they are going to the store or even posting a picture of themselves with their sick cat! What people will do for even negative attention is remarkable.
To find your true self, "you must lose yourself in something larger," author Beth Moore said. “Human nature dictates that most often we will be as insecure as we are self-absorbed." That something bigger is Christ. This has never changed through the ages, even as we face digital narcissism. It certainly is a new frontier as we explore strange new worlds. But in Malachi 3:6, there's something that we can still count on: "For I am the Lord, I cannot change."