Like many others, come January I decided to take a break from a few things. Like wearing workout clothes, but not working out, eating chocolate when I think no one is looking and yes, social media.
Deleting the Social Apps is something I’ve become familiar with over the years. Realizing how much time I waste and not knowing a better solution, I hijack them off my phone because out of sight, out of mind works, right? But like that chocolate that I refuse to buy, it somehow comes creeping back into my pantry bowl in a moment of weakness or when I need that bowl to look pretty and full.
Social Media can have the same grasp on me. It’s tricky when I can always argue it back into my life for the simple sake of calling it “ministry.” Like chocolate it feels good going in, but the end results leave us disconnected and unsatisfied for where our minds just ventured off too.
So what do you do? Just like chocolate… social media isn’t bad. But like with too much of anything, we must learn some self control.
Before the New Year came, I made some observations about my habits. After a “normal” day of phone use I sat down each night and looked at my “screen time” to see how bad it really was. I was dumbfounded.
I am a homeschool mom!!! But according to my time spent on the phone, you would have thought me to be some sort of big time hot shot with a reason to be on my phone so much. I was sickened by it. So the next few days I set limits on the amount of time I spent on social media and what I observed is, I do it when I am bored. I do it when I am stressed. I do it when I need answers but have no idea how to get them. I do it when I am needy.
Sounds a lot like chocolate, huh? We have become a people who closet eat, purge and binge on social media and we are left feeling the heavy weight it produces.
Then there is the need to express ourselves. Social Media gives us a platform to say what we wanna say with encouragement from others as they comment and like. I am guilty of this. I have a good thought. I hear God speak to me. And immediately I want to share it with the world. Why?
What if God wants to just share that with just me? But instead, I am spending more and more minutes writing out a Facebook post instead of waiting to see if He has more…
I had a friend in college. Her name was Meg and I always envied her sense of contentment. I would watch her journal about everything while sitting on her down comforter drinking tea. This was before social media so she wasn’t setting up her environment so that she could post a cute pic. She naturally set herself up in beauty and in silence. In my eyes, she had a relationship with Jesus that I never knew I could have.
Once, my junior year, I set my room up to mirror hers. I even had the down comforter, the soft music playing (probably was Van Morrison) and the cute, blank journal, plus a gel pen (my favorite as a Ruby Tuesday waitress).
I heard nothing. Stark Silence. I remember sitting there, my mind completely blank. Unable to even form a sentence, much less hear from this God that was so clearly speaking to my friend. I even remember grabbing my Bible and doing the whole, “eyes closed, open it up and whatever verse your finger lands on” kind of trick.
Pretty sure, my finger landed on a generational verse of a bunch of names I couldn’t pronounce and that was that. God doesn’t speak to me the way He does her. I closed my journal, blew out my happy candle and went outside to smoke a cigarette (shocker I know).
My point is this.
What if I had sat longer? What if I had read more than just one verse? What if I had sat down with my friend Meg and asked her how to have a relationship with Jesus? What if I had sat still just a little longer and prayed? Would He have spoken to me?
The truth is we do this every day. We sit down at the feet of social media and we fill our minds to the brim wondering why everyone else around us has a better relationship with Jesus. Their husbands. Their kids. Their work employees. We compare and compare and all we really need is a moment of silence to gather our thoughts, sit at His feet and wait a little longer for Him to speak. Instead we rush. We envy. We chase. We do.
Before the disciples were told to GO, they were told to be STILL and KNOW.
My goal is no longer to binge and purge social media like its my favorite chocolate bar. My goal is to keep it at a healthy distance. Becoming aware of how much time it is consuming in my life was the first step. My scrolling days are over. Forgive me if I don’t return comments always or like your posts. It’s nothing personal. I am just learning that the people right in front of me deserve my time and my likes much more.
I am also learning to sit in silence again. For a long season this was hard for me for other reasons for another blog. But I am learning the more I sit in silence, the more I crave it. The silence itself is filtering out the unneeded, leaving me with a beautiful inscription of His voice in my heart.
Be still and know.
All of the stillness, may not be helping my new Fitbit goals, but I am guessing He will take care of that too.
For now, I am embracing my moments of silence, guilt free. Knowing good and well this is what He is calling me to do.
Healthy Social Media Habits :: let’s get practical.
Set Limits. Go under settings and limit your screen time according to where you need the most help. For example, my Pinterest has no limits because all I use it for is recipes.
Stop Notifications. Those bright red notifications are like the Red Button in the movie Dennis the Menace. You just can’t help but click the app when the red buzzard calls. (If you’re too young and have no idea what I am talking about, google it.)
Delete It. If you’re having one of those days that you can’t seem to stop “numbing out” and you know you lack self control, delete the app and reload it when you feel more sound. All of your information will still be there to comfort you when you get back, but until then, I encourage you to go to the source of all Comfort.
Find Accountability. Find a friend, a spouse, a kid, someone to tell you the honest truth of when you’ve been on your phone too much.
Have Conversations. With REAL people. Nothing will kick your social media habit better than real life, real conversations and real relationships that don’t reside behind the computer screen.
And life still goes on even when no one knows. Cameras are still my favorite luxury. I have mastered the Magnolia pancakes. We celebrated daddy’s birthday with oodles of handmade paper gifts. “Winter” in Florida with a fire. Homeschool with the littles always brings much laughter. And dance parties/ 3rd born attacking her sissies is just some of the daily chaos I cherish.