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  • Avery Garn

The Balance Does Not Exist


Steph walking Eliza

I once read that the solitary benefit of social media is its ability to connect people with rare diseases. As a member of an obscure health-related Facebook group (shoutout to my scleral lens-wearers), I can attest to that benefit.


But I am learning that I am seeking a balance that does not exist. Social media, by design, is not created for balance. And maybe it’s not me that’s broken; it’s the internet.


My favorite author, Erin Loechner, put it this way:


But the question kept coming – How can you walk away from the Internet when it’s your living and your life? – and the answer kept coming – How can you not? – and it occurred to me that there must be 70,000 words between those two things.

Her 70,000 words on the subject to be published June 11. In the meantime, check out the opt out movement here: https://www.optoutfamily.com/


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Andy Stanley started 2024 with a series titled A Better Question. And that question was What breaks your heart?


My answer? Loneliness. Every day at the hospital I speak to someone without any support, any community. There is no shortage of access to technology, to phones, yet people have no one to call. Or more accurately, no one calling them.


I was given the advice recently that if you want to get to know your neighbors, ask for and accept small favors: borrow an egg, water a plant, take a dog for a walk. And in these small favors we may find friendship. 


We are not lacking in connections; we lack community. We know where our high school teacher went for vacation, but we don’t know our neighbor next door.


So I suppose we are left with a choice, a choice to look up, to step away from the screen, to seek community in the people across the cul-de-sac instead of across the country.


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It felt fitting that the first photo of myself that I haven’t hated in a long time was one taken with [part] of our small group--a small group where we have found community that we were not sure we would find again.


If you need a church home, have I mentioned that I'm obsessed with Southside?

After meeting for a while, one girl in our group said that she was using social media to connect with women across the country. And yet there were six women sitting on her couch every week.


Why am I trying to inspire moms from miles away when there are moms in my living room? She asked.


We are meant to live this life alongside others, others who call us out when needed, who lift us up when they can, who love us always. And that kind of community is not found in a screen, but in the seat next to us.


And this is my prayer for you, that you may find true community, that you may be seen and known and have people you can call when you’re alone and both of your babies are crying and you can’t do it by yourself, because you were not meant to.


Having long-distance relationships is not inherently bad. But how many of these can we realistically maintain? I once read a reminder that Jesus had 12 close relationships, and three in his inner circle. How could we expect to have more than that? Maybe we start by cultivating community with the people who are near, who are next door, who need Jesus too.



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