If Life Happens and You Don’t Post About It, Did It Really Happen? : Waking Up from Social Media
by Heather Brenton
About three months ago my husband got into a discussion about social media. After the discussion I decided that I was going to “cut back” and create some healthier boundaries by spending less time on my phone.
Here’s the deal though. That first morning of trying to cut back, each time I would walk past my phone, I would pick it up and immediately click on Facebook or Instagram. I had every intention of cutting back. But out of habit, without even thinking, I felt the need to check in on social media.
WHY could I not just step back? WHY wasn’t I strong enough? Research says we are fighting a physiological battle (LINK). Recent studies revealed that when we get a text, comment, “like,” email, or any kind of notification from our devices, it releases dopamine into our bodies. This is the same thing that is released when gambling, smoking, and drinking.
I was, without a doubt, addicted to my phone.
As I began to sort through the effect that social media had on me, I realized the “slow leak” of comparison and discontentment. Scrolling through the feeds, I would get lost in other people lives and in turn, be totally checked out of my own.
I would pose my boys for the best pictures; I would make sure to type something funny they’d say right away so I wouldn't forget the way they said it. Then I would check an absurd amount of times to see how many likes or comments each post received.
Somehow I thought that people needed to know what I ate for breakfast, if I had worked out that day, or if my three year old pooped. When did it become so normal to share every small detail of our lives with the rest of the world?
It happened without us realizing it. And here we are. Addicted to technology. Addicted to the likes and comments. Addicted to the feeling that people think we have the best marriage, kids, Pinterest homes…the best life. I had gotten to the point where a big indicator of the quality of my day depended on whether I had a “postable” moment.
By His grace, God’s Word spoke to me in the new space and time that I discovered in my social media “fast.” And He reminded me of what matters most:
· Proverbs 14:30 – “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.”
· Proverbs 23:17 – “Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.”
· Philippians 4:8 – “What is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
· Matthew 6:33 – “Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness….”
· Psalms 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.”
Since I have been detoxed and been scroll free for some time, here is what I have realized:
· I am content in my day to day life. With no one else's life to compare it to, I can be present and grateful for my simple chaotic toddler-filled days.
· I am content in my relationship with my husband. I am no longer comparing the way he shows me love to the way other husbands show love.
· I have much more time for the things that matter. I have time to pray. I have time to complete my Bible study in more detail. I have time to read for pleasure. I have time to clean up the house or get in a workout because I am not lost in the scrolling for 30 minutes or more several times a day.
I don't know what might be stealing your time or causing you to sin with envy, jealousy, pride, or finding your identity in others instead of Christ. Take the challenge to zoom in on your own life and see if some priorities are out of whack.
· Where are you spending your time? (where your time goes is where your priorities truly lie…)
· Is there is something that is normal and acceptable in our culture that might be detrimental to your relationship with the Lord, with those you love, or to your witness?
· When was the last time you made time to “be still and know that He is God”?