During the month of January I took a pseudo-break from my social media accounts of choice . . . Instagram which I love for the most part . . . Facebook which I love to hate. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a fast (which I think is a massively overused word and concept) because I wasn’t off either completely. I hopped on Facebook to check on things from time to time . . . adoption pages needed members approved and others removed . . . the kids’ school pages because information y’all . . . and Insta only to post a few things and check on a few people. But I avoided the black hole and time suck that is scrolling mindlessly.
For Facebook, I think it needs to be a permanent way of living. There’s just so much unhealthy coming from all sides . . . there is this keyboard warrior mentality where people say/type and share things on there that would never say or share in person. It’s as if they forget that there’s an actual living, breathing, person on the other side of the screen that has value, and even if you disagree with someone, you should still treat them with respect and love. It seems that every other post, share, and comment is fueled by anger and cynicism and flat-out hatred. As a Christian, I’m a firm believer in truth and sharing the truth in love, but so much of what is being shared by professing followers of Christ, is just flat out ugly. It is not the truth if it is full of profanity, meanness, and lacks love. And before you tell me love can be hard, you need to take a gander at 1 Corinthians 13 . . . hard love does not equal ugliness. Quite honestly, it makes me angry. So if I don’t read it, I don’t have a reaction. If I don’t react, I’m a much more joyful and peaceful person.
Instagram, for the most, is harmless to me. At least when you’re talking about what people share on there. I avoid/skip the stories that are fueled by anger and controversy, and it’s easy to do that. But oh my gosh, y’all, it is the ultimate time waster, and I have to moderate myself because who wants to spend their life living behind a screen?
At its core the purpose of this little experiment wasn’t anything mind blowing or super spiritual that meant I would spend hours each day in prayer and supplication rather than on social media. I mean, I 100% believe in prayer and studying God’s word and spending time in communion with Him so don’t get me wrong. The purpose in cutting back was simply to get my mind right and my priorities shifted.
Those hours, yes hours, spent mindlessly scrolling, posting, responding could be better spent in so many ways . . . time with my husband and kids and being truly present in that time . . . it’s perfectly fine to post about dates, trips, and outings, but it’s also fine if no one else ever knows . . . reading more . . . I read four books and started a fifth in January . . . years ago, I used to average a book every couple days , but social media . . . I mean life and kids play into some of this too but still social media, more than anything else, has stolen that from me . . . and yes, spending time in the word and in prayer should and will always be the top priority.
Lesson learned? It’s both obvious and simple, yet we all seem to struggle with it. There is a quote from Francis Bacon, “Money is a great servant but a bad master”. Only in today’s economy many have replaced “money” with “technology”, and I think it is so true. Technology, in particular the technology we have at our fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, those nifty little devices called smartphones (but don’t discount the power of the internet on any device . . . maybe social media isn’t your poison of choice), is a wonderful thing, but if it controls us, it can do catastrophic damage from the inside out . . . on our own emotional, spiritual, and mental wellbeing . . . on our families . . . on our relationships in every area. It’s time to put down the phones and close the laptops and even turn off the television and video games from time to time and live a life that is fully present with our loved ones.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m not ignorant to the irony of the fact that I’m typing this on a laptop, connected to the internet, and sharing on social media. I don’t think we’ll ever, nor do I think we need to, eliminate it altogether, but we definitely need to take a step back and reprioritize.
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