Pastor Craig Groeschel was the perfect mix. Blunt while being wittily funny; sweet and tender yet brutally honest. His on-stage selfie was endearing and his frequent glimpses into what life as a young adult looks like were comforting. He wasn’t just preaching to a crowd, he was living life with them.
And in the midst of a hilarious message, where “sexy” was used a record-breaking number of times and toes were discussed in detail, Groeschel managed to peel back the layers surrounding the hearts of college students in the 21st century: self–obsessed, a little unaware and often terribly lost and disconnected.
“We depend so much on ‘likes’ when what we’re looking for is love,” Groeschel said.
And he was right.
The digital age has impacted the way we think, interact and see ourselves. Our phones are often glued to our hands and our notifications ping throughout the day, alerting us of an outside world watching our lives. But social media, the iPhone’s new front-facing flash or an Instagram filter haven’t done this to us; we have.
What’s terrifying about Groeschel’s message was it didn’t just hit the nail on the head, it slammed it through a two-by-four. It was convicting and it was honest, but possibly not enough to sway us from our filtered and perfectly poised digital appearance.
I’m always wary when #twapel or social media blows up with inspiring quotes and people addicted to a quote or a word. “This was applicable,” some say. “Wow, I feel challenged,” others say, but does that matter? Does it not just continue the endless cycle of getting a feeling, posting on social media and continuing on our way.
Feel. Click. Forget. It’s a vicious cycle.
It almost feels like that staged #CoffeeAndTheWord photo that graces an Instagram feed from time-to-time.
I don’t know where this attitude was adopted, and I don’t know how to fix it except through sheer willpower. No one can make us less self-obsessed. No one can force us to take a moment to place our phone in our bag for the day. No one can force us to move back to a simpler world, free of social media and the habitual thirst for attention. Only we can. And I hope we do.
Students are right to tweet the moments they were inspired by and the thoughts that resonated deep within. Let’s hope they live by them as well.