Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

Salt Water and Social Media

Surviving the Wild 101 will most certainly have a class on how to survive being stranded on a life raft out in the middle of the ocean. And I’m guessing fairly early into that particular day of class you will learn how, even though water is crucial to human survival, it is so incredibly dangerous to drink ocean water. You’ll learn how, because of osmosis, drinking salt water will actually cause your body’s cells to release more water and dehydrate your body even further and you would likely die sooner than if you had chosen never to drink that salty seawater in the first place. And last time I checked, dying is the opposite of surviving.

I spent a lot of time staring at the ocean last week as my husband and I relaxed under our beach umbrella and enjoyed our little anniversary getaway. As I stared into its vast expanse I thought about how crazy it is that we can’t drink any of that water. I thought of Louis Zamperini and his forty-seven days stranded at sea in a tiny, open raft and how he wrote about his lips being so cracked and swollen from the salty sea air and sea water that his upper lip actually touched his nose. I wondered what it might feel like to be so thirsty and so surrounded by water knowing full well that ingesting any of it would lead to inevitable demise. That is irony at its very best.13932283_10102737751067268_13489745_o

Lately my soul has been feeling this pull toward small and quiet, toward seeing God and how He delights in me in the everyday moments in life rather than the huge life-altering ones. I’ve been convicted of using social media to escape these seemingly mundane moments rather than embrace them fully. I have been evaluating my life and trying to fill it with those things that pour into my soul rather than drain it.

I wonder if social media is salt water to our souls?

With just one visit to any of the social media avenues my significance and self-worth can automatically be puffed up. Two likes, oooh now seven, oooh now thirty …!! With as far as it can reach, social media might as well be the ocean. But is escaping into it in order to define my success for the day (how many likes, how many comments, how many reposts?) really doing my soul the good it seems to? Or in all actuality is it robbing me from pausing to take in the real-life, hydrating moments happening right before me?

I am in a place of building – building my family, building my dreams, building my life. In this season of building it can be so very discouraging because all I see is the wooden framework instead of the finished product and I want to get to that finished product. But I have to build. And building feels a lot less glamorous than finishing. In her book, Simply Tuesday, Emily Freeman says this:

It’s easy to fight for a cause when the stakes are high – freedom, rights, life or death. It’s way harder to fight for moments, fight to see meaning on a Tuesday afternoon around the homework table. Because at the end of it you don’t have anything to show for it beyond a kid who has a finished math worksheet and let’s be honest, who cares much about that?

Somehow checking in with social media notifications makes me feel like I have more of a cause, makes me feel like I’m somebody instead of nobody whose next big thing is that all the toilets need scrubbing. Woo stinkin’ hoo. But maybe that moment of scrubbing the pink ring off the inside of the toilet bowl can be significant for my soul. Maybe in that moment I can choose to pray for my children, choose to recite scripture, choose to magnify the Father for blessing me with this house and these lysol wipes. What if embracing those tiny moments as significant is what will actually quench the thirst for significance in my soul?

Let’s be clear here, I am not disappearing from social media. I feel like the Lord has given me a story and a cause that I am willing to go all out for. But not at the expense of the small moments where He meets me and where my children and husband need me and where I have the opportunity to fill their souls. I’m learning what that might look like.

This is not a call to burn all iphones and delete all twitter accounts. Almost every day I think about what a blessing these things are in my life and what amazing connections I’ve been able to make and how many doors the Lord has opened up for me because of them. Social media really is an amazing modern-day phenomenon. But I don’t think it is where we need to find our significance. In fact, I know it isn’t.

I want to drink deeply of the soul-significance I have in my Creator who often shows up in the moments when I feel small and humble and like no one is watching. I want to continue to pursue my cause, which requires social media, without allowing feed notifications to replace the real need I have to be fed with truth. I don’t want to be distracted from recognizing all the ways God is showing up in my life, both big and small, and realize that maybe God doesn’t define my life with those adjectives at all but instead with a love as vast as the ocean that provides my soul with a never-ending, always-present, worth-dying-for significance. And I think we can all agree that’s way better than any double tap.

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