Social Media has become something of a phenomenon in today’s culture. It has provided jobs for people as “influencers,” it’s kept people in touch from all over the world, it’s provided a way to build community with those we’ve never met before and it’s also allowed us to gain boldness about specific movements and passions that we might never have had the confidence to stand up for before and not to mention, a good way to bargain shop (Facebook marketplace. Am I right?! 🙋🏻♀️). All these reasons have drawn me in to social media and in many ways have kept me addicted for years. I first got a MySpace account in eighth or ninth grade (more than 15 years ago)! I’ve never thought twice about having active social media accounts but over the last year, I’ve had some thoughts on my heart that has caused me to form more of a love-hate relationship with social media. As with anything, all good things can be used improperly when your heart isn’t focused on God.
Over the last 15 years, social media has been a huge blessing to me. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I may have never gone out on a date with my husband, Zach! However, as grateful as I am for the help that Facebook provided me with finding a husband, I’ve also felt like its done a disservice to me, also. I believe God has been slowly chiseling away at my heart and allowing me to identify the downfalls that have led me to say enough is enough and part with the very addictive platforms that social media has become. Lately, I’ve had several people ask me exactly why I deleted my social media and that really isn’t an easily answered question in just one sentence. In fact, many different factors have played a role in my final decision to delete permanently and so I figured I’d share my reasons.
- Pride, Popularity & Identity// Who doesn’t want to be liked? Every picture or post I put on social media is a way that I can get satisfaction and attention from other people. As much as I love displaying my life as “perfect,” it is far from that. Social media is reels of our everyday life but very seldom do we put “real” things on our social media that may expose our sin. Instead, we express ourselves like we have it all together and live the perfect life in hopes that we will get more likes or more follows. For me, it’s been easy to become prideful and worse, it’s been so easy to find my self-worth and identity in social media when it should be rooted in God. Social media is a place where we can easily glorify ourselves, it’s even widely accepted. How can we glorify a God is who is so good when we are so focused on our own vanity?
- Comparison// If any of you know me personally or have read my blog for awhile, then you will know that I’ve had two babies 19 months apart and I just had my second baby 12 weeks ago! You will also know that I have really struggled with my weight and appreciation of my post-baby bod. To be honest, most of that is because of social media. After having my son, the first couple months post-partum I was so incredibly proud of my body and what it did to produce a human that I wasn’t ashamed of my “new body” until I started scrolling through social media and seeing these women who looked as if they had gone right back to their pre-baby bod a mere few weeks after having a baby. That’s when I began to compare my self-worth to others. If my body wasn’t bouncing right back after birth, then I wasn’t worthy or beautiful. It’s also been easy to compare my lifestyle, my job, my fashion sense, my beauty, etc. to others. If I didn’t measure up in that way, I’d feel unworthy. God made us in His own image. He made us beautiful and He loves us no matter what people think of us. Our worth is not in this world, it’s in Him.
- A Movement Platform// Social media has become a place where controversial topics are brought to life and somehow gain momentum in propelling specific “passions” and “beliefs” forward. I think with this opportunity, we’ve become bolder on social media then we could ever be in person. That comes as both a huge advantage and disadvantage. With that being said, it’s unfortunately become a place that can easily cause division amongst individuals. I’ve been guilty of this very thing. Thankfully, we live in a country where we have freedom of speech and are entitled to our own opinions. What a blessing that is! Something we must remind ourselves of, however, is to not allow these “passions” to become a distraction to glorifying God. I’ve noticed how much some of these things can really consume people’s lives and seemingly, drive them away from God. 2020 has been a crazy year, to say the least. I truly believe that social media has played a huge, gigantic role in causing even more division amongst individuals than anything else in our culture. I mean, just scroll through Facebook and watch Instagram stories and you’ll see the arguments of Trump vs Biden, vaccinations vs anti-vaccinations, masks vs no masks, COVID is real vs COVID is a political hoax, unmedicated childbirth at home vs medicated childbirth at a hospital, sleep training babies vs not sleep training babies, essential oils vs pharmaceutical drugs, riots vs peaceful protests and the list never ever ends…… Just typing that out causes me anxiety. I can’t tell you how many times I got angry from someone’s posts about things like this. Then it dawned on me, Where is my focus? How does any of that bring God glory? How can I love people through those movements I don’t agree with?
- Addiction// I have a highly addictive personality. It’s one reason I don’t drink. But because of this, it’s easy to get addicted to things. In this case, I’ve been very addicted to social media over the years. I constantly check social media throughout the day, especially since I’ve been in a season of nursing my daughter. It’s so easy to just pull my phone out and scroll while I’m feeding her and it’s become a mindless task I do over and over, even with a 22 month old toddler running around me. I’ve been so addicted that it has become one of my husband’s pet peeves. He has constantly commented on how often I’m on my phone and how this addiction can effect the time I spend with him or my children. It’s becoming more convicting the more and more my son sees my phone and desires to play with it. I don’t want my son to be addicted to technology the way I am.
Several weeks ago, we watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix. If you have Netflix and haven’t watched it, I recommend you do! It was eye opening. I knew that social media had a lot of information about us but I had no idea the extent of information they have on each person. Each advertisement we see on social media is because they pay attention to the things we type in search engines, the things we purchase online and the things we talk about on our profiles so that they can get paid by those advertisements we click on! They know us even better than we do so they know exactly the type of things to put on our newsfeed that we end up spending what was supposed to be a quick five minutes online to easily thirty minutes or more. We’ve become slaves to social media and to our electronic devices! I was a slave to social media. It consumed me. One of my biggest motivators of taking photos was so that I could post it on social media. I even catch myself now when I take a photo because my first thought is “I should post this photo” but then I remember I no longer have any social media accounts.
- Loving Other People// God has called us to love one another and because of that, our greatest desire should be discipling and pushing each other more towards Christ everyday. I’ve been guilty of holding grudges towards people who haven’t shared the same viewpoints as me. I’ve been guilty of getting mad at people when I’d see a picture of their get-together I wasn’t invited to. I’ve been guilty of judging the way people present themselves online versus in person. I’ve been guilty of not loving people well because I’ve been personally hurt by them. Bottom Line: My focus hasn’t been on God and instead I’ve been so focused on myself and my emotions and what I see on social media that I’ve forgotten to love people. My husband and I lead a connection group at our church and I’ve been guilty of not loving the people within my group because of assumptions, opinions and hurts all acquired through social media. I’ve allowed the things I’ve seen about people online affect the way I feel about them and treat them. I wasn’t and haven’t been truly loving people. I believe this reason was definitely the final straw that broke the camel’s back for me when it came to deleting my social media permanently. My lack of love for people was consuming my thoughts instead of allowing God’s love for me to pour over into others.
I have now been without social media for almost a month. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I miss about it. I had it for more than half of my life! I miss Facebook Marketplace (such an easy way to find such good local deals), I miss all of the photos I’ve accumulated over the last 15 years, I miss my mom groups and I miss seeing photos of friends’ big milestones (getting married, traveling, having babies, etc). However, the overarching feeling I’ve had since deleting it has been…. freedom. Freedom from an addiction to my phone. Freedom from finding worth and value in what others think of me. Freedom from only loving others who share the same opinions and beliefs as me. Freedom to enjoy precious moments with my two young kiddos. Freedom to have intentional and meaningful conversations with my hubby. Freedom and time to meet with and disciple young girls. Freedom from so many sins that resulted from social media for me. It has been weirdly enjoyable to be away from it! If you have struggled with any of these things like I have, I would challenge you to pray about what God would have for you and seek Him first! Social media can be used for His glory too but we must be intentionally focused on our Creator and remember what we should be spending our time worshipping.