When Social Media = #Insanity

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

 

This post was linked to Thankful Thursday , Cornerstone Confessions and Missional Woman.
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About Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a perfectly imperfect wife and mother, and is thankful for the saving grace of the Lord. When she’s not busy folding yet another load of laundry or comforting a crying child, she enjoys studying God’s Word, writing, and spending time with authentic friends. She's passionate about equipping women to honor God in family, health, and home at Proverbs31Mentor.com. Join her for biblical encouragement and practical lifestyle tips to help you live on mission for the glory of God.

18 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Sarah Donegan July 1, 2014 (1:23 pm)

    Oh yes, I am convicted of this daily. I too check my phone first thing in the morning. Giving up Facebook for 3 days once was torture! I seek validation for my posts and am disappointed when I don’t get it. 🙁
    We need to conquer this!

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      Sarah Ann July 1, 2014 (2:08 pm)

      Thanks, Sarah! It is definitely something I need to take active steps towards conquering. It can be used for good if I prioritize!!! 🙂

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    AmieJo July 1, 2014 (11:52 pm)

    Just stopping by fromt he capture your joy link up. I don’t have a smartphone and I am greatful for that. I can’t get distracted by the phone but I do spend too much time on the computer. I struggle sometimes to find the right balance. My kids are young, I am with them 24/7 and never get time to myself except when they are sleeping. Did I mention my youngest doesn’t sleep well. Anyways thanks for reminding me what is important. I need this every once in a while.

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      Sarah Ann July 2, 2014 (12:56 pm)

      Thanks for stopping by! Many days I WISH I didn’t have a smartphone! It makes social media all too accessible, which isn’t a bad thing as long as I control it. Do I really need to check my favorite sites while I am stopped at a red light? Probably not! I look forward to checking out your site!

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    Gentle Joy July 3, 2014 (4:11 pm)

    This is so good…. satan loves to manipulate us…. and lead us to covet or be insecure… or hypocritical… all in the name of keeping in touch/being a good friend/etc. It is so sad to hear of people who “keep up” with all of their friends, but never actually TALK or spend time with them. Sad. I guess it comes down to needing to find our security in Christ.. instead of friends or admiration. I do not have a smart phone at all… we still use the Razor- and I love it… I just *gasp* “TALK” to people on it. 🙂 I am getting better at texting, though…. short texts. My phone, like my computer, is just a tool – not a toy and I am committed to being careful to control them… and not allow them to control me. Thank you for posting this post. 🙂

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      Sarah Ann July 3, 2014 (5:38 pm)

      Thanks for sharing! I didn’t have a smart phone for a long time and I some times wish I still didn’t! It makes technology too readily available and I need more self control from checking it too much. Kudos to you for keeping it in check. 🙂

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    Mothering From Scratch July 5, 2014 (8:02 am)

    {Melinda} Oh, this resonates with me! It is really hard to draw lines and stick to them! I do so much ministry online … I have to always fight the urge to do more, connect more, etc. It can easily take priority over family and God. I’ve been making a practice of having time with God before anything else (most days) and I’ve been taking Sundays off from the computer. It really does change your mindset and perspective.

    Stopping by from Sharefest! Love your blog!

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      Sarah Ann July 5, 2014 (1:55 pm)

      Thanks for stopping by! I love your site and related to so many articles on there. I’m so glad to connect! I love the idea of taking Sunday off as a TRUE Sabbath. Thanks for yet another great idea!

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    Jen July 5, 2014 (9:23 am)

    I feel you. I started writing a series on my blog called Road to an Imperfect Life based on the cleaned up, polished life of Facebook and Pinterest. And like you, when I wake up and check my comments, likes, shares, etc. it can start my day in a positive/negative way. I loved your approach in writing about it. Thanks for sharing. (came to you via SITS)

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      Sarah Ann July 5, 2014 (1:53 pm)

      Thanks, Jen! I will have to check out your site and see what you wrote. I love to get insights about this topic! Thanks for stopping by and for finding me at SITS! 🙂

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    Tiffany July 5, 2014 (12:01 pm)

    Sarah what a wonderful post and honest look at how we can allow Social Media to sneak it’s way into our lives without even realizing it’s pushing other things out of the way. I am so guilty of grabbing my phone first thing in the AM to see how everything did during the night…most times before I’ve done anything else. I am learning to scale back and remember what’s REAL… my love for God, my life and laughter!

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      Sarah Ann July 5, 2014 (1:51 pm)

      Tiffany, I am right there with you! It is humbling to realize what we focus on instead of God and our family. I am striving to do better and am trying to limit myself to three times a day. Even when I say it, three still sounds like a lot! I am a work in progress! Thanks for stopping by!

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    Julia July 5, 2014 (12:26 pm)

    This is the reason I don’t have any of the social media accounts, I find it WAY to easy to 1. become discontent 2.waste time 3. I really don’t need all of that anyway! Thanks for a great post! <3

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      Sarah Ann July 5, 2014 (1:49 pm)

      Good for you, Julia! It can be ALL of those things and I think we have to do what works best for us. I am back to FB after a year and half hiatus and am on much less than before. Thanks for stopping by!

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    Amanda July 5, 2014 (3:27 pm)

    Thank you for writing this. I shared on my Facebook because you put in words my exact feeelings. I just found your blog and I will follow it. May God bless you and give you His Shalom

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      Sarah Ann July 5, 2014 (10:33 pm)

      Amanda,

      You are so sweet! I love it when I stumble upon something that exactly matches the cry of my heart! I truly appreciate you sharing this and following my journey. I look forward to connecting with you in the future. May God bless you!

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    Stacy July 12, 2014 (9:24 am)

    I struggle constantly with my social media convictions, and finally have decided I’m better off without it. Its been a struggle though! I’m so glad I found this blog, it was very encouraging!

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      Sarah Ann July 12, 2014 (9:30 am)

      Good for you! I try to set boundaries with it but it can be a struggle. Please stop by again for more encouragement. Blessings to you!