Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
Pick up. Put down. Pick up again. Put down.
Many of us engage is this very bad habit of checking our social media notifications more than we need to.
And to be honest, many of us have no idea why we do this – yet we do it all day long to the detriment of ourselves and to those we love. Notifications become the driving force of our entire lives.
What makes us check our notifications so often?
The scientific answer for this is called dopamine which is released in our brains whenever we experience elements of pleasure – such as eating certain foods, physical intimacy with our husband, drinking coffee in the morning while studying God’s Word – and it can also be when we feel appreciated and well-liked by social media notifications. Anytime we experience some aspects of pleasure we want to repeat that experience – be it good or bad. We have to train ourselves to break the repeated behaviors which are bad for us – and checking social media notifications is one habit we all need to break.
The people behind smartphones and apps know all too well about the dopamine effects and they work hard at your expense to ensure you do not break this habit. Studies have been conducted which links the pleasure of social notifications with that of drug addiction.
That’s a pretty strong comparison.
No one wants to be linked with addiction let alone drug addiction, but that’s exactly the type of society we have become. We are people way too obsessed with our smartphones and notifications with very little to show for it in our lives. The fleeting pleasure we feel with notifications only lasts for a moment which is why we keep going back.
Notifications don’t really bring us pleasure – or I should say – the type of pleasure we’re really looking for.
Notifications, emails, and texts gives us a false sense of hope that people like us and that we’re needed or wanted. Notifications give us a false sense of assurance that we’re funny, pretty, or smart, when we get reaction from something we share.
The short-lived pleasure in notifications will never change in our lives unless we get to the bottom of our feelings.
Trust in the Wrong Places
About fifteen years ago I attempted my first website to help encourage and inspire people to live their best lives. I paid for advertising through search engines. After I created my website and paid for advertising I would check the statistics on my website all the time. I was very surprised by how much traction my brand new website was receiving. I wasn’t a believer at this time, so my trust came from somewhere other than God.
Obviously the advertising was working, but…I just had to give it time – right? Eventually people would begin to contact me, right? So in the meantime the best thing to do is continue paying for advertising.
Well, one day I had a random conversation with an acquaintance. She was telling me about her cousin’s new job and how he was paid by a search engine company to click on websites. The more clicks the more money he made.
The light goes off in my head!
My brand new website was not receiving any real tractions at all. The search engine company knew people would check their website stats and get excited and or find pleasure and reassurance – thus they hired people to simply click websites to ensure foolish people like me would continue to pay for their advertising.
By not having a relationship with God, I didn’t know how to weigh confidence in myself. In addition, not knowing God, I fell for this type of deceptive marketing scheme.
Proverbs 18: 2 “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.NIV
Pleasure in Him
You see lady, you’re searching deep for appreciation and approval and your social media notifications give you some elements of it – but it’s not real and you already know this.
But you don’t know what to do.
You’re not sure how to stop allowing social media notifications to be your indicator.
Psalm 103: 1-5 “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.NIV
Think back to the time you were a young girl. On your down time what did you often find yourself doing a lot?
For me, it was writing. I always had a pencil and paper writing stories from my head. I always wrote small productions for me and my sister to perform for our family. I wanted to be a screenwriter in my early twenties. I have always been a writer in some capacity. Yet, not knowing God I never knew if that passion and desire was real or a silly dream. When we don’t know God we look for assurance from wherever or whomever will give it.
Marketing schemes 15 years ago. Social media notifications – today!
People praising our efforts is not real – all the time. Knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him give us absolute assurance for our lives.
As a writer today, I don’t rely on notifications. I have TURNED THEM ALL OFF!
I don’t get notified when people comment or like my blog posts. I don’t get emails when I get new followers. I don’t check my website stats all day – ANYMORE. I don’t share my life on social media as much as I use to because it waste my time from writing. I do check email and my blog comments – but I check them on my scheduled time, not on an out-of control-basis with no end in sight.
When I think back on my life and realize God has gifted me to write – I trust Him – not notifications. I trust He will lead and guide my writing.
Now it’s your turn to be led by God!
He is The Only Way
I like to remind my readers that I am not preaching. I am a work in progress. Whatever you are going through, I have been there, but God has seen me through. He will see you through as well.
Your Bible is your only true source for the assurance you’re looking for. Through God’s Word He will remind and teach you to trust Him and not the world.
Isaiah 26:4 “Trust the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal.NIV
In this verse God had revealed the future to Isaiah for the land of Judah and Isaiah encouraged the people to trust and have faith in the LORD. They had a choice to either trust God or not. They did not have notifications on smartphones to give them a false sense of faith in God’s plan. They either believed or they didn’t.
The same is true for you today.
Even in the day of Isaiah the people still faced challenges amid God’s promise but it was up to them to remain faithful.
You need to do the same.
Will you allow notifications to give you assurance or God’s Word?
What do you need to believe about yourself that only God can help you with?
Do you think you’re a bad wife or mom? Do you think you’re not pretty? Do you think your life in general has no purpose?
These are all lies. Notifications from your smartphone is a lie.
God is the truth!
Start today by praying longer and studying your Bible longer. Get a journal and start writing what God says to you. If you don’t have a journal just get some paper. Let Him talk to you today – right now.
Today is the day for you to release the addiction of smartphone notifications. There is no truth in it. God is good and He has a direct plan for you. Allow His Holy Word to be truth where the lies have taken shape.
You can do it!
Trust Him and He will help you.
You’re not alone. We all need help from God in this area. Satan will lie to you but God is truth. You are an awesome woman of God and He will show you His truth.
God will give you a plan for each day and you will slowly begin to see how you no longer need notifications. But – YOU have to make the decision to be in His Word each day and pray for His guidance.
Your smartphone isn’t that smart! The true source of your happiness is NOT notifications – it comes from God.
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS