Beep, beep, beep. I roll over, in shock that it is 6:30 ALREADY; in disbelief it is time to begin another day. As my feet hit the floor, I unplug my phone. I stumble to the kitchen, bed head and old-lady robe in tow, to start my day the best way I know how; with coffee and Jesus. While the coffee is brewing and I have yet to crack open God’s Word, I reach for my phone. I am instantly awake when I see that I received 25 likes on last night’s Instagram picture, have 5 new Facebook followers and my most recent blog post has been retweeted twice. It’s going to be a great day and I am starting out on cloud 9!
I stop for a moment, stunned by my actions. I have checked all my social media sites before I did ANYTHING else. I hadn’t even thanked God for this day before I checked in and posted a photo of my coffee cup and Bible.
Why did I feel the need to share my private and sacred morning ritual?
Am I bragging or feeling holier than half my friend base because I try to start my day with a little quality time with my Savior?
Does it matter how many likes that picture will get or how many times people will comment on my photo?
I take a moment, rub my sleep filled eyes, wondering how we as a society got to this place, this desperate need for attention and validation through social media. How did I get here, living my life online and taking a picture of every little thing we do just to share with the world?
Social media in itself is not bad. In fact, I use most forms of social media several times a day and welcome being able to stay connected to friends and family, share pictures of my littles, and overall, proclaim the Gospel to those I would never connect with in real life. I love that my blog readers have a ways of finding encouragement and the message of Jesus throughout the day on my social media sites.
But when does something innocent, like social media, equal insanity for millions around the world? Take a look at the ways it can snowball, and feed life’s frenzied pace and need for acceptance.
1. It can cause discontentment.
“Here’s a picture of my new house! So blessed!”
“Relaxing on the beach in the Dominican Republic!”
“My child just said the alphabet- in Japanese! #genius!!”
As I read these posts and Tweets, I look around at my life, the piles of laundry, the dirty dishes in the sink, the stack of bills to be paid, and I sigh. Suddenly what I have pales in comparison to the masses on social media. For a fleeting minute I think that I have been given the short end of the stick in life compared to everyone else.
Suddenly I am not thankful for the house we are rapidly outgrowing or the new outfit I bought at the thrift store.
Suddenly, I am jealous, and the green-eyed monster is roaring inside of me.
Suddenly, I reminded of the milestones that my child with Autism may never reach.
I am discontent.
I see what others have and take my eyes off of the one who blessed me with a roof over my head and clothes on my back, but I can’t blame social media.
These feelings of discontentment are entirely my fault.
I know I am not alone in this. Others I know have admitted to these same feelings of longing for things of this world, often time possessions, and those cravings were triggered by social media.
When I step away from the technology and look at my reality, I am beyond humbled and grateful for every aspect of my life. God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and has provided my every need, not my every want. I’m thankful for each new day I’ve been given, the pitter- patter of little feet running down the hall, and I am thankful for salvation, which was given to me freely at the cross. I truly lack for nothing and every time those feelings of jealousy and discontentment creep in, I know it is time for me to cut back on social media usage.
2. It can cause insecurity.
It’s confession time. I am one of the most insecure people you will ever meet. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true, although God is chipping away at the years of insecurity and revealing His purpose for me day by day. On days when I am struggling with myself, I avoid social media like the plague. Satan reminds me of labels I’ve given myself and uses them against me to keep God from using my life. Browsing through social media, I may compare myself to the bikini clad pictures of my friends or to the craft someone cranked out during nap time. Self doubt starts clouding my judgment and the shackles of insecurity have once again put me in bondage. When I lay these labels and feelings of insecurity at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to determine my worth, He can use me, imperfections and all. Hopefully you have it together WAY more than I do, but I know there are those who battle the same demons and those insecurities can be fed by the social media monsters.
3. It is not reality.
My friends, I try to be real with you 100% of the time. I share my struggles openly and honestly with you, in hopes that it may bring someone somewhere comfort and point back to the love of Christ. Not everyone has that same opinion. All too often social media is smoke and mirrors for the harsh reality experienced in day to day life.
I’ve had friends post mushy gushy love notes to their spouse while their marriage is falling apart.
I’ve watched as some post pictures of their latest possessions while they were one step away from filing bankruptcy.
I’ve seen moms brag about their kids in one breath and in reality hate motherhood.
Why do we feel the need to put on an act and portray a perfect life, when in reality, there is no perfect life? Personally, I would love social media even more if I saw a picture of reality; the child in time-out, the toys cluttering the living room instead of constant pictures of perfection. While I love celebrating life’s happy moments with my friends, I enjoy being reminded that life is not perfect at their house either.
4. It can become a priority over our family, time with the Lord or other responsibilities.
How many times have I checked the social media apps on my phone instead of playing with my kids?
How many times have I neglected a responsibility because I was pinning crafts and recipes?
How many times have I been in a real face to face conversation and stopped to check social media?
How many times have I not had time to read my Bible but have found the time to tweet or write a post?
Oh, the sting of conviction! I don’t want to be that person who is attached to my phone while my kids are desperate for my attention. I don’t want to be consumed with living my life online that I forget or neglect to live my REAL life, filled with child laughter and husband hugs.
I want to experience life to the fullest each day, without the nagging wondering of who has posted lately or what was happening on social media.
But social media doesn’t have to equal insanity. You can still use social media and not feel the range of emotions I mentioned above. I am personally taking action to guard my time spent on social media sites and to be sure my kids never feel that mommy is all consumed by her phone. Recently, I have asked a dear friend to hold me accountable with personal struggles, and social media limitation is on my list of top 5 areas I need improvement and truth spoken into my life.
Take a minute and honestly examine your life. Do you need to limit your social media in order to spend time with those that matter most? Can you add a purpose to your social media time, such as encouraging others or pointing to the cross? Do you need someone to keep you accountable for social media usage?
God gives us the power to demonstrate self-control through Him. We just need to take that step and place boundaries if we feel that social media is raging out of control. Then, we can use it without guilt that it is taking up too time or without feeling that our life is inadequate.
Social media can be a place where we are encouraged and blessed by those we love the most. Beware of letting it overpower your life and equaling insanity!
Have you ever experienced one of these feelings about using social media? How do you protect your heart and valuable time when using your favorite social media platforms?
Calling all bloggers!!! Check out the new blog party on the link-up scene, Saturday Soiree Blog Party! starting July 12, 2014! The link-up opens for bloggers on Friday night at 8:00 pm and I would love to have YOU share your stories of faith, encouragement, family and more every Saturday!!! Spread the word through social media and your blog. This party is open to everyone!!!