People have never felt so alone. This fact appears to be incongruent with the juggernaut that is social media which claims to keep us more connected than ever. In creating our carefully curated social media profiles, we further isolate ourselves from those around us. Lunchtime becomes a competition to see who can get the best photo and use the best filter. Rather than going out and having our own experiences we live vicariously through the version of themselves that our friends present. We talk to strangers online but cannot bring ourselves to look them in the eyes when we pass them on the street. Social media is inarguably a force that despite its’ original design is driving us apart and, making us miserable.
Any image one presents of themselves on social media is fiction. Who knows how many tries it took to take that perfect photo with the perfect background lighting, angle and filter. We are terrified of presenting anything that steps out of line. As well as this, we want to show ourselves to be as happy as our friends. Vulnerability on social media is also incredibly difficult to achieve when I’m feeling defeated; I don’t want to tell my four hundred Facebook friends what’s on my mind. After all, if they knew what I was really thinking what will they think? Will they still like and comment on my photos?
This is not to say that all social media use is negative, when used wisely I believe that it can bring humanity together in unexpected ways. However, it is undebatable that the social internet can be an incredibly destructive force.
With the increasing loneliness, there are ever skyrocketing rates of anxiety and depression. We feel as though we cannot connect to those around us. This isolation takes a huge toll on us. So then, who can we talk to when we do not feel as though we can connect with anyone else?
Loneliness appears to be an inescapable part of the human condition, one that has been dealt with since ancient times. The story of Elijah a Prophet in the Bible supports this. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is hiding in Mount Sinai after the spectacular episode on Mount Carmel where hundreds of the Prophets of Baal were destroyed. Despite this massive event, Elijah did not just feel alone- he felt terrified. With King Ahab and his insidious wife Jezebel promising him death Elijah fled. He did not just walk a day- he walked for forty days to reach Mount Sinai. God made himself known to Elijah then- promising to pass by him.
“Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go. Stand in front of me on the mountain. I will pass by you.” Then a very strong wind blew. It caused the mountains to break apart. It broke apart large rocks in front of the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, there was a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle voice. 13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.”
Elijah found that God was in the still, in the quiet. God is not a God of unnecessary grandeur- He does not claim a false image of himself. He is willing to take himself down to our level. When troubles are coming your way take a moment to still yourself, breathe and feel the presence of God.
This sentiment is presented beautifully in the song ‘God Only Knows’ by the band ‘for KING & COUNTRY’ which speaks of the God who knows where to find us, knows the real us and knows what we have been through. He is our friend in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9 says “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” God places his arms of compassion around us and is the ultimate comforted. God has given us peace as well, John 14:27 records Jesus to have said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. As the song says, there is a kind of love that God only knows. When it feels as though we have nobody in this world He is the one who will never go.
I encourage you to listen to the song ‘God Only Knows’. If you are feeling alone or in despair lean into the presence of our Saviour, but please remember that it is important to seek help for how you are feeling by either calling a hotline such as Lifeline (13 11 14 in Australia), seeking out a medical professional or confiding in a trusted love one.
By Kira-leigh Josey
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