Loneliness in the Social Media Age

This weekend, I attended not one, but two conferences. Social Media was a hot topic at both – the ability to reach out and touch thousands of people anywhere in the globe, to find people locally and internationally who share your same interests, to post comments and pictures online so friends and relatives feel they are participating in your life.  But are they really?

Why is it we have all these wonderful ways to communicate with each other, yet most of us don’t feel deeply connected? So busy with our electronic devices, we often fail to engage in deep personal conversation. When was the last time you shared your heart with another human being face-to-face with no electronics, not even a phone, between you. When have you taken the time to build into another human by simply walking beside them ?

I’m not writing this as post for a pity party.  Oh, poor Myra, she’s feeling lonely.  Let’s invite her out for dinner.

Mostly, I’m writing it as a call to action. Social Media has its place, its purpose, its benefits, no doubt. But as human beings, we were created to be with one another, to invest in one another, to encourage each other and pour into each other’s lives in a way that can’t happen via Twitter or Facebook. God made us to crave doing life together  by inviting people into our lives and actively constructing a deep relational framework.

While I appreciate the wonderful electronics that help me stay connected with folks all over the globe, there is something magical about the power of presence…the ability to look another person in the eye, to wipe the tears from their eyes, to embrace them with love before you leave.

I want to emulate how Jesus responded to friends and those in need. He had three short years to complete his mission. Not only did Jesus not have social media to help, he walked everywhere he went. Yet, countless times in the Bible, he took time out of his busy schedule to stop, to listen, to touch, to heal.

There is quite frankly, no substitute for face-to-face human interaction. We all need people to hold us and whisper into our ears, “I’m praying for you.  I’ll walk this road together with you.” We need to learn to give each other joy through our physical presence.

You need that.  Your friends need that.

So today, this week, I’m encouraging you to sit with a friend over coffee or better yet dinner.  Take the time to tell them in person that you care about them. Your presence will tell them you’re there for them, you think highly of them and that they matter.

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