This post is some of my thoughts on social media. It is definitely written from the perspective of being a believer in Christ. Part of this is on habits, and part of this on the deeper side of the dangers out there.
Whether we realize it or not, social media does influence our moods, thoughts, and opinions. It can be for both the better, and it can be for the deep detriment. I have been greatly lessening my time on there. Most particularly for me, the time-sucking culprit was Facebook. Since I have recently backed off and spent far less time, I have found I feel less anxiety. I am not an anxious person by nature really, but I am profoundly empathetic and second-hand emotion is a very real thing for me. That can be an asset, and it can be a burdonsome mental weight.
On the surface level, I also find I am more in control of my time. My habit change feels more intentional instead of running off into the black hole where time is mysteriously eaten up by my own zombie-like scrolling. I have a challenge for you, if you have a phone capable of this, check how much time you spend on the various apps in a day/week. The screen time apps can shock you to your core if you only look at it to see where your tally lies. Some of us are putting full-time hours into utterly fruitless things.
I am still trying to learn better, stronger habit-forming. I am about to turn 43 as of the writing of this post, and I have felt for years like the world's worst person at discipline and habits. However, I refuse to quit learning and trying. My recent social media changes have been big for me and I feel driven to share for what it is worth.
The Good of Social Media
Now, I will be the first to say that social media can be a fantastic place to post prayer requests. How many times that has been a major blessing I just can't count. It can be lovely to see uplifting jokes and life updates from our friends and family members. I worked very hard to make sure my main Facebook feed was only the people who posted clean and Godly things. I tend to unfollow (not unfriend) those who are extremely contentious or vulgar.
Social media can also be nice for those of us who are strongly introverted. It is a piece of socialization many of us find far easier to handle. For the people who are homebound or ill, it may even be a lifeline.
The Bad of Social Media
We also must remember, it can also be a stronghold for the enemy to whisper ungodliness in your ear. The more you let that in, the more it eats at you. It might even make you hate some people. I have seen so many friendships break up in the last year over political views. This hurts my heart.
It reminds me that we need to be exceedingly careful of what we let before our eyes and what we allow into our hearts. Even if we try to be careful of what stays in that daily feed of information, there is so much opportunity for the prowling lion to attack. It isn't always an obvious attack either, before you know it, you might become the lion attacking someone else!
Questions to Ask Ourselves
We need to back away fast and hard if we find the daily input causing us to lose control of ourselves, our time, and even our thoughts. We need to stop, pray, and assess where we are. Asking ourselves some hard questions is helpful.
Who have we been listening to? Some of us are practically being programmed to think a certain way. It is quite easy to get caught up in things that aren't healthy or Godly when online.
I think a good "spiritual check" on that might be to ask yourself, "Have you lost the burden for sharing Christ?". Where is the source of your hunger and drive? Has it been replaced with things that are not of God?
Always remember that the kingdom of Christ is not of this world. Where is our focus?
Do you have any drive at all or has that been replaced by a sort of oblivious passage of time wherein you scroll onward with little thought or reason behind it?
Have we allowed various outside influences to overwhelm and change us?
Have we allowed these things to dominate our time and energy?
It is merely a time management issue for us, or it is also a mental and spiritual one?
I think social media can potentially make us angry, disgruntled, and full of lies from the enemy if we are not careful. It can be used to become a source of light to people you might not otherwise be able to communicate with. I still think it is possible to use it in a positive way or I wouldn't be here. I also think it needs to be viewed for the dangers that are out there lest they devour us.
How we use it matters. I chose to kill it off of my phone, so the access isn't 24/7 and in the palm of my hand. I am limiting it to an intentional few minutes daily to check on my family and handle some group responsibilities. I am ok with that as long as it doesn't breach half an hour or so. I only allow myself that much time because of admin duties.
I could step away entirely, but I have good reasons for not doing so. I do very much think that it needs to be tightly controlled on time for myself. This major time reduction has been a blessing to me already. I am still working on the habit change. I often find myself picking up my phone out of the ingrained habit. I am battling this. I refuse to allow myself to check it on my phone anymore. I also removed most of the news apps too. If I truly need to check the news, I can use a browser to do it.
Why Am I Talking About This?
The little I am online, I have been sharing about it because I KNOW I am not the only person who struggles with this. Especially those of us who are stay-at-home Mamas. We have a TON on our plate, especially if you are like me and you also full-time homeschool. I suspect many of us could be better managers of our time if we put limits on our social media.
I also talk about this because I simply want people to understand I may be less responsive to messages. The irony that I have shared about limiting social media on social media, isn't lost on me. However, I am not advocating a full breakaway, so it is a consistent thing in my opinion.
I am advocating simple discipline and control. I am also warning that what most of us believers already know, the internet is very full of spiritual dangers. We need to make sure every time we go out there, that we pray first and do so with discernment. For time restrictions, a person just has to set their mind to what is appropriate and stick to it. I realize this easier said than done, but it really matters. For whatever time you do spend, do it knowing that a Holy God is watching and guiding.
Some of us struggle and refuse to admit it to ourselves that we even have a problem. I doubt any of you are still reading this. However, maybe you do feel that you might have an issue like I did. Perhaps your problem is the wasted time? Perhaps it is the mental strain of a constant negative flow? Perhaps you are a Christian and you are able to see that that seeds from Satan are infiltrating your very heart.
For those of us who can see the loss of control in our lives, and we want to change it...I share this.
Step away. Run away. Place limits. Use timers. Whatever you have to do. Don't let all of this outside, worldly stuff inundate your life. There is life going on outside of the phone in your hand. God is also there to listen to our pleas for help. He will hear you. He will help you, but I do believe we need to acknowledge the problem and ask for His assistance.
You will find it stressful initially as with any habit change. However, very quickly you see what a waste the constant scrolling can be. You might also find that a cloud of negativity is lessened from your life. This is refreshing and can help you focus on the things in your life that matters.
Watch a sunrise instead of your phone. :-) Not a glorious photo as it was taken through a screen with a cell phone camera. It was a beautiful morning though.
Because of my desire to change, I had read a book by author Cal Newport called Digital Minimalism. I honestly found the tips in the book quite useful. This was where I got the idea to change how I manage my social media. The book does not address any faith aspect of course. I gleaned from it and I don't regret reading it.